Wendy, Master of Art (Paperback)
Staff Pick from Heidi and Michael— From Staff Picks
"[In Wendy, Master of Art,] Scott manages a rare thing: the sharpness of his satire doesn’t preclude a realistic rendering of personhood, and the seeming flatness opens up, at every turn, to a depth of feeling…. His mastery of his characters’ faces and gestures is also wonderful, his line quick and sure and expressive." —The New Yorker
The existential dread of making (or not making) art takes center stage in this trenchant satire of MFA culture
Wendy is an aspiring contemporary artist whose adventures have taken her to galleries, art openings, and parties in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Toronto. In Wendy, Master of Art, Walter Scott’s sly wit and social commentary zero in on MFA culture as our hero hunkers down to complete a master of fine arts at the University of Hell in small-town Ontario.
Finally Wendy has space to refine her artistic practice, but in this calm, all of her unresolved insecurities and fears explode at full volume—usually while hungover. What is the post-Jungian object as symbol? Will she ever understand her course reading—or herself? What if she’s just not smart enough? As she develops as an artist and a person, Wendy also finds herself in a teaching position, mentoring a perpetually sobbing grade-grubbing undergrad.
Scott’s incisively funny take on art school pretensions isn’t the only focus. Wendy, Master of Art explores the politics of open relationships and polyamory, performative activism, the precariousness of a life in the arts, as well as the complexities of gender identity, sex work, drug use, and more. At its heart, this is a book about the give and take of community—about learning to navigate empathy and boundaries, and to respect herself. It is deeply funny and endlessly relatable as it shows Wendy growing from millennial art party girl to successful artist, friend, teacher—and Master of Art.
About the Author
Walter Scott is an interdisciplinary artist working in comics, drawing, video, performance, and sculpture. His comic series Wendy chronicles the continuing misadventures of a young artist in a satirical imagining of the contemporary art world. Wendy has been published in two volumes by Koyama Press and featured in Canadian Art, Art in America, and on the New Yorker website, and was selected for the 2016 edition of Best American Comics. Scott completed an MFA at the University of Guelph in 2018. Wendy, Master of Art is, as far as you know, very loosely based on this experience.
"I am blown away by Walter Scott’s Wendy." —Zadie Smith
"As well as being very funny and acute, Wendy, Master of Art is also weirdly touching. For all her faults, [Walter Scott's] heroine is intensely likable." —Rachel Cooke, The Guardian
"[In Wendy, Master of Art,] Scott manages a rare thing: the sharpness of his satire doesn’t preclude a realistic rendering of personhood, and the seeming flatness opens up, at every turn, to a depth of feeling…. His mastery of his characters’ faces and gestures is also wonderful, his line quick and sure and expressive."
—The New Yorker
"Funny, poignant, and scary. Scott makes you laugh and then rips your heart out." —Lit Hub
"With Wendy, Walter Scott gives readers the life of an artist suffused with too many hangovers, too much screen-time, and too much self-consciousness—sordid, hilarious, and compassionate." —Globe & Mail
"[Scott] achieves what all my favorite artworks-about-art do, which is to show that art, identity, and politics are fluid parts of being alive, informing one another in mysterious and fascinating ways."
"Scott takes advantage of the many hidden possibilities of the comic medium for a story that could be told no other way... Wendy, Master of Art is a great pick for students, ex-students or anyone who likes to laugh."
—Emma Levy, Shelf Awareness
"[Walter Scott is] a skillfully economic storyteller with a sharp wit, especially sending up academic art-speak."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Wendy’s personal life remains chaotic, hilarious, and relatable…" —Quill & Quire