MacArthur Fellows Program

Ben Katchor

Graphic Novelist | Class of 2000

Title
Graphic Novelist
Location
New York, New York
Age
49 at time of award
Website

Ben Katchor creates comic strip art that is rich in history, sociology, fiction, and poetry.

Through his fictional meditations on urban life, Katchor reimagines the urban history of New York City, recalling the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-centuries.  Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories (1996) is set in the side streets, small shops, and lunch counters of a remembered New York where things long gone (such as the carbon copies of salesmen’s orders) and things that may never have been (Mortal Coil Mattresses) are given real or fictional places.  In The Jew of New York (1999), set in the 1830s, spiritual, ecological, artistic, and commercial quests play out in compelling stories about convincingly imagined characters. 

Katchor is also the author of Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay (1991) and Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: The Beauty Supply District (2000) and has collaborated on the musical theater productions, The Carbon Copy Building (1999), The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island (2004), and The Rosenbach Company (2004). He writes and draws a monthly strip for Metropolis and a weekly strip for Forward. His work has appeared in Raw, the avant garde comics magazine, in addition to many other publications.

Katchor received a B.A. (1975) from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College and attended the School of Visual Arts.

Recent News

Ben Katchor is an associate professor at the Parsons School of Design at The New School.

Updated July 2015

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