Cartoon Art MuseumMedia Release -- The popular Japanese art forms of manga and anime cut into the past and assume their rightful place in the canon of fine art in a new exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum. Drawing the Sword: Samurai in Manga and Anime (January 16 through May 2, 2010) explores the complex evolution of Japanese artistic traditions by demonstrating the ever-changing image of the iconic samurai.

Curated by Julian Bermudez, the exhibit juxtaposes 19th century woodblock prints with 21st animation production cels and drawings. Additionally, the exhibit includes animation production models, motion picture stills, original comic book drawings, American and Japanese comic books, and toys from private collections. Popular titles on display throughout the exhibit include fan favorites such as Afro Samurai, Bleach, Evangelion, Gundam, Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Jack, Lone Wolf and Cub, Usagi Yojimbo, and Wolverine.

Drawing the Sword: Samurai in Manga and Anime is a visual exploration across time. Each section illustrates the unique styles and designs of one of Japan’s fastest growing exports, as well as their influences on American culture. However, the exhibit also examines significant social issues relevant to our times: mass globalization, war, peace, identity, and nationalism. It is through this visual history that the exhibit affirms manga and anime as true works of art, and demonstrates the links between fine art and popular culture.

About the Cartoon Art Museum:

The Cartoon Art Museum’s key function is to preserve, document, and exhibit this unique and accessible art form. Through traveling exhibitions and other exhibit-related activities — such as artists-in-residence, lectures, and outreach — the museum has taken cartoon art and used it to communicate cultural diversity in the community, as well as the importance of self-expression. In the museum’s 25-plus years of existence it has produced over 100 exhibitions and 20 publications celebrating and examining the diversity of cartoon art in animation, comics, graphic novels, zines, book illustration, and more.

About the Curator:

Julian Bermudez is a Los Angeles-based independent curator and producer. His multi-media art exhibits and installations have engaged multiple viewers through a variety of experiences, including sound and video. Recent projects include The Persistence of Vision and Pacifika: Young Perspectives on Pacific Island Art.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Julian Bermudez at or Andrew Farago at Images available upon request.