Gallows with Lightning Rod: A Talk by Ryan Standfest

  • March 3, 2016 • 5 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Olin Library, Ginkgo Reading Room

On Thursday, March 3, artist and publisher Ryan Standfest will lecture at Olin Library’s Gingko Room at 5:00. Standfest is editor of ROTLAND PRESS, a small publishing house located in Detroit (founded 2010). The Press issues printed projects that promote subversive humor— be it black, dark, gallows, satirical or absurd. ROTLAND PRESS aims to occupy a place between the mainstream and the avant-garde, the philistine and the genteel, industriously manufacturing the finest in despairing entertainment. 

The press also promotes serious thinking about humor and the stakes surrounding it. ROTLAND INQUIRY No. 1 (June 2015) was devoted to the “aftermath of the aftermath” of the Charlie Hebdo killings, and presented substantial essays and cartoons by major figures in the field. 

Mr. Standfest will lecture on the development of Rotland Press, the challenges and opportunities of issuing print projects today, and black humor as a cultural stance in an unfunny time.  

Praise for ROTLAND PRESS: 

“Rotland Press seems to have its roots in The Realist and Grove Press c. 1960s more than in the Hippy UG press that followed or in the gentrified graphic novel presses that have come along since. Nihilists and other marginally socialized types will be as glad to discover their satirical publications as I’ve been.” —Art Spiegelman, co-editor of Arcade and RAW, author of MAUS

“Rotland Press is a mother lode of neo-underground comics in a print environment almost overwhelmed by constantly recycled industrial product. Browse their beautifully designed publications and take a tour of some of the best work produced by the best of today’s independent cartoonists.” —Bill Griffith, author of Zippy, co-founder of Arcade and Young Lust Comics, and contributor to Raw and Weirdo.

More about Ryan: he founded the performance group Cabaret BLACK EYE, a hybrid of vaudeville and Absurdist theatrical tendencies. He is also a curator, assembling exhibitions that focus on different forms of humor in the visual arts. Standfest holds an MFA in Printmaking from The University of Iowa.

In addition to his lecture in the Gingko Room, Ryan will visit classes in communication design and printmaking, and visit the Modern Graphic History Library collections at West Campus. 

Standfest Flyer