'Cultural Jet Lag' alternative comic exhibit coming to Paul Henry's

The "Cultural Jet Lag" exhibit comes to Paul Henry's Art Gallery this month.

Underground comics from Jim Siergey and John Anthony Giemzik III will take center stage in May at Paul Henry's Art Gallery at 416 Sibley St. in downtown Hammond later this month.

The "Cultural Jet Lag" exhibit will feature the eponymous alternative comic strip Jim Siergey and the late Tom Roberts created that ran in as many as 150 alt weeklies across the country after debuting in New City in Chicago in 1990. They later created separate versions of it for the USA Weekend Sunday magazine supplement and Time Magazine, where it ran for more than four years.

"Siergey’s art has been described as an illogical combination of high and low culture with no regard for time and space while Giemzik’s self-taught, urban-organic style creates complex, whimsical and thought-provoking work," Paul Henry's said in a press release. "Jim Siergey was already active in the underground and alternative comics world when he met Tom Roberts in the 1980s where they found they had a penchant for meshing what was considered high culture with low culture and Cultural Jet Lag was born."

Roberts, who suffered from muscular dystrophy, died at the age of 39 in 1999. Siergey continued the strip for another decade before retiring it. 

Seattle-based alternative comics publisher Fantagraphics Books said the comic was "for the discriminating pop culture junkie.” New City’s Aaron Cohen wrote that it "goes beyond strictly comic art, stretching into the realms of philosophy and politics to force highbrows and lowbrows to swim in the same pool.”

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The exhibit also will showcase the work of Giemzik, another longtime veteran of the underground comics scene.

"Growing up, John Anthony Giemzik III was fueled by his fascination with 1970s underground comic books and would doodle on everything: textbook margins, the backside of envelopes and bathroom stalls were all fair game," Paul Henry's said in a press release. "Twenty-five years later, his once meaningless doodles have maintained a timeless appeal with a delightfully bizarre approach. Pure imagination is always relevant…as Giemzik assigns a crammed, clamoring grab of faces to the human condition within the crowd surrounding us."

A weekend-long opening reception is planned from 1  to 8 p.m. Saturday May 18 and from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 19. 

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, runs through June 30.

For more information, find Paul Henry's Art Gallery on Facebook or call 219.678.5015.


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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.