RAW exposition (October 1986)

18 October 1986

In October 1986 Lambiek premiered the comic art gallery, when Dutch artist Joost Swarte opened Galerie Lambiek's first exposition with the ground-breaking art collective, RAW.

Art Spiegelman started Raw magazine in 1980 with his wife Françoise Mouly. In the pages of Raw, Spiegelman helped reveal important American talents like Mark Beyer, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, Kim Deitch, Pascal Doury, Gary Panter, Kaz and Jerry Moriarty, as well as artists from foreign shores such as Ever Meulen, Pascal Doury, Jacques Tardi and Joost Swarte, among others.

The participating artists, from totally different disciplines, found a way to experiment and develop their own and often innovative artforms in Raw. But what was Raw?

In Spiegelman's own words, "Raw seems to confuse a lot of people. Is it a comic book? Is it an art magazine? Its too upscale to be easily dismissed as garbage, the way many otherwise reasonable people have become accustomed to thinking about comics, but it has an urgency that makes it seem out of place on a coffee table. Of course it has a following... but its a difficult magazine to define. Our stationary announces it as 'The Graphix Magazine That Changes Its Subtitle Every Issue.' And that much, at least, is true."

It was a unique event; although all participating artists already exhibited their work in the USA, Europe and Japan, they hadn't shown their work as a collective before.

The press and public alike were astounded by this example of non-conformist creativity and Europe began to discover the experimental comic strip. Subsequent RAW exhibitions continued this experimental theme.

The irony was that Galerie Lambiek had built up a greater reputation outside of Holland than it had with the conservative bigwigs of the Dutch art world.