The List reviews the “lavish pages” of New York Drawings

A beautiful and thought-nudging collection from the New York comic artist

The List (Issue 705)    |     Brian Donaldson    |    October 15, 2012

As a subway train passes another, a girl’s eyes meets a boy’s gaze across the electrified tracks. A clichéd moment is thankfully avoided as they just so happen to be reading the exact same book. Could an image get any more ‘Adrian Tomine’ than that? Actually, yes, and there are plenty more where that came from in New York Drawings.

These lavish pages feature Tomine’s collected illustrations, drawings and sketches which have adorned the covers and inside pages of The New Yorker since his published debut there in 1999 as well as CD cover work for the likes of Yo La Tengo and Luna. Resplendent with cool, literature-loving women and geeky, awkward men, his collection platforms a fondness for capturing life on the NYC underground in all its oddness and irritations: what do you do when you can’t escape a nauseating macho conversation and should a guy help a woman struggling with a pushchair when his train is about to leave? Out on the hectic street, which businesswoman, if any, will back down with good grace as they hurtle towards a vacant cab and what can you say to the owner of a small bookshop next door when he catches you signing for an Amazon package?

Tomine’s love of film culture is rampant here, featuring subtle images of Sean Penn, Orson Welles and James Gandolfini while there’s a tricky encounter between Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly. But ultimately the artist’s own doubts and neuroses have the greatest impact as he worries about whether he should even be at a party thrown by (postmodern alert) The New Yorker and his loathing of eBooks is undermined by both the younger and older generations. A beautiful and thought-nudging collection.

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