Wendy, Master of Art

Drawn & Quarterly. Jun. 2020. 276p. ISBN 9781770463998. $24.95. Rated Teen+. ;. satire/memoir
An aspiring artist named Wendy experiences the best and worst that the contemporary art world has to offer while working toward a master’s of fine arts degree at a prestigious Canadian university. Her professor is a has-been, obsessed with his past success and more concerned about beating traffic on the drive home than mentoring his students. Her classmates range from a glamorous, globe-hopping pseudocelebrity to an intense, awkward try-hard planning a thesis project on “the geometry of bee dances and post-human art practices as a combined proposal towards anti-accelerationism.” Author/illustrator Scott skewers the art world, narcissistic performative activists and academia, but goes beyond satire as Wendy’s solipsistic bubble bursts, exposing her as a young woman grappling with existential despair and profound questions about her own place in the world. Scott also examines the complexities of interpersonal relationships as Wendy’s classmates alternately bicker, hook-up, and grow codependent upon one another, and through Wendy’s fraught romance with an artist named Xavier, who’s in a polyamorous relationship with another woman.
VERDICT A savage lampooning of the art world’s self-seriousness that makes some serious points about the artistic establishment and the difficulty that accompanies dedicating oneself to creative expression.
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