Stephen Kroninger
Ben Katchor Book Tour

"From one of the most original and imaginative American cartoonists at work today comes a collection of graphic narratives on the subjects of urban planning, product design, and architecture—a surrealist handbook for the rebuilding of society in the twenty-first century."

"Ben Katchor, a master at twisting mundane commodities into surreal objects of social significance, now takes on the many ways our property influences and reflects cultural values. Here are window-ledge pillows designed expressly for people-watching and a forest of artificial trees for sufferers of hay fever. The Brotherhood of Immaculate Consumption deals with the matter of products that outlive their owners; a school of dance is based upon the choreographic motion of paying with cash; high-visibility construction vests are marketed to lonely people as a method of getting noticed. With cutting wit Katchor reveals a world similar to our own—lives are defined by possessions, consumerism is a kind of spirituality—but also slightly, fabulously askew. Frequently and brilliantly bizarre, and always mesmerizing, Hand-Drying in America ensures that you will never look at a building, a bar of soap, or an ATM the same way."
Monday April 1 - NYC
The thirty-eighth meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street in The Bark Room (off lobby).
Scheduled presentation: Artist/writer Ben Katchor in conversation with Gil Roth on the occasion of the publication of Hand-Drying in America (Pantheon Books) — a collection of strips from Metropolis Magazine on the subjects of architecture and design. Join us for this live audience recording of The Virtual Memories Show podcast.
Saturday, April 6 - NYC
MoCCA Arts Fest signing at the Pantheon Books booth. 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Ave. NYC,
Monday, April 8 - Portland, OR
7:30 pm. Powell’s City of Books, 2720 NW 29th Ave., Portland, OR 
Tuesday, April 9 - Seattle, WA
7:00 pm.  University Book Store event with UW architecture department. 4326 University Way NE. 
Wednesday, April 10 - Los Angeles, CA
8:00 pm. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., LA, CA
Thursday, April 11 - San Francisco, CA
6:30 pm. Mechanics’ Institute, 57 Post Street, Room 406, San Francisco, CA 
Monday, April 15 - Brooklyn, NY
7:30 pm. Greenlight BookstoreIn conversation with writer Nicky Dawidoff. 686 Fulton Street., Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, April 16 - Washington, DC
7:00 pm. Sixth & I event with Politics & Prose. 600 I Street NW., Washington, DC


Saturday, April 20 - Little Rock, AR
Thursday, April 25 - Fort Lauderdale, FL
6:00 pm. Books & Books at Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale 
with University of Miami School of Architecture. 1 East Las Olas Boulevard., Fort Lauderdale, FL
Friday, April 26 - Coral Gables, FL
8:00 pm.  Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, FL
“Ben Katchor’s new book (his first in full color and I think also his best yet), Hand-Drying in America, furthers his reputation as one of the few geniuses of the form, to say nothing of being one of the first exemplars of what literary fiction told in comics form could be.”—Chris Ware

“Sublimely caustic…brilliant, darkly magical new collection.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Gorgeous…Katchor’s judiciously sketchy drawings—half art brut, half blueprint—literate scripts, and comedic imagination make them the stuff of genius-level cartooning.” –Booklist, starred review

“Reminds me of all the reasons I fell in love with his work 20-odd years ago… at the heart of all his work is the same intention: to find, however odd or enigmatic, a moment of real connection in an increasingly surreal world.” –Los Angeles Times

“The zany world of an inventive and original mind who is endlessly fascinated by the great city where he lives.” –Metropolis Magazine 

“The four-year collection of a visionary polymath’s cartoons about urban living… Katchor’s wry humor and unique view on the subject are well worth exploring.” —Kirkus

“Katchor is an urban visionary, building his stories brick by brick from the detritus of the metropolis…He's a poet of the gone world, which lingers, like the vacant offices of the Daily Hubris, whether we notice it or not. His is an aesthetic of ephemera but an ephemera that transcends itself, in which loss leads to wonder and then, inevitably, back to loss.” –Los Angeles Times   
“Katchor’s humor relies on cities for its strength: their grime, their dishonest denizens, and their beautiful decay seem to feed his imagination. This book hits its target in just about every panel…Sadness, whimsy, nostalgia, reflection, concern: These feelings all float through the frames which, despite the wizened appearance of their characters, could also be said to be bristling with energy, nearly in motion…The idea that the universal can be conveyed through close attention to particulars is a cliché, perhaps, but seeing it executed well is a rare pleasure. This book is that execution.” –Boston Globe

“Half urban legend and half magic, these stories that seem on the one hand far-fetched but on the other are one small step away from being true…Katchor's stories don't feature characters so much as ideas. This way of writing could get boring awfully quickly—except that the ideas he presents are so clever and haunted, it's hard to imagine that ever happening.” –Jewish Book Council

“Ben Katchor, recipient of a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant, lampoons our shallowest preoccupations so skillfully that half the laughs in his terrific collection, Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, come from realizing you've done more or less the same absurd thing the cartoonist has taken to its logical extreme…It's the sum of four years' worth of piecework, but it's sharper still than the sum of its barbed parts.” –Newsday  

“A dark, funny, and compelling experience, as engrossing to view as it is to read…Comparisons to Chris Ware, the other great comics artist who deals with urban structures and the enervating enclosure of modern living, seem obvious. Both specialize in architectural rendering and characters that are ill at ease within their cities. But against Ware’s exploration of the sterile and alienating quality of modern technologies Katchor’s work has a pungency and strange sexual energy applied to the appliances of the late 20th century. Then there is the quality of Katchor’s humor, a smoked fish surrealism that gives a vaudevillian undercurrent to even his bleakest stories…Katchor trains his eye on everything we fail to notice, the details that are traditionally only props in the background, not fitting subjects for art. But Katchor’s art is to take the human endeavor seriously by examining our interactions with something as mundane as a hand-drying machine. The pathos is in the appliances and the props become the subjects that reveal us to ourselves.” –The Daily Beast 
“Katchor’s vignettes brilliantly satirize human behavior, changing social values and cities in flux. Perhaps most of all, they highlight the timeless need for human connection.” –Time Out Chicago

“Katchor’s forte is nudging a real-life absurdity one or two notches too far…It’s unsurprising that Katchor’s artwork has a peculiar, well-entrenched architecture of its own.” –Jewish Daily Forward 
“Brilliant…Katchor's trademark storytelling bends just a little bit away from our own reality to make us see it more clearly.” –Publishers Weekly 
“Katchor gently interrogates the everyday — the click of a light switch, say, or the nozzle on a can of shaving cream — and finds unimagined and uncanny depths within…Elliptical and mysterious but never abstruse, the picture-poems of Hand-Drying in Americacelebrate the mundane world around us by revealing it to be anything but…Hand-Drying in America is a large book, roughly the size of a tabloid newspaper. Not only does this make it easier to appreciate Katchor's backgrounds, stuffed as they are with peculiar signage ("Putti Dental," "Surd," "Cowlick," "ANKLE SOCK"), but it also encourages us to linger over these pages and the rich, wry and quietly remarkable worlds they contain.” –

“Wonderful…I like Ben Katchor. And I’m fairly certain you will too.” –

“Smart and perceptive.” –Time Out New York

Recent Articles

Washington Square Park (22)

CITY SYMPHONY: Video and Production Art (51)

Children's Book Sketchbook (Psssst...It's Me the Bogeyman) (27)

Faces (14)

My Studio (49)








LINKS--Advertising (11)



Links to Articles
Stephen Kroninger