Completed in 1975, lost for decades, and never before published in the United States, Soft City is legendary Norwegian pop artist Hariton Pushwagner’s only graphic novel. It is a scathing masterpiece in the tradition of Brazil and A Brave New World, but with an off-kilter beauty all its own. Soft City will be published in the United States for the first time in September 2016 by New York Review Books with an introduction by American cartoonist Chris Ware.

In the novel, Pushwagner gives us an epic, exuberantly intricate vision of a single day in a world gone wrong: a brightly smiling, disturbingly familiar dystopia of towering skyscrapers, omnipresent surveillance, and endless, distant war where every face looks like the next—“Welcome to Soft City. Now don’t be late for work.”


At this special event celebrating the publication of Soft City, clips from the 2011 documentary Pushwagner, written and directed by Even Benestad and August B. Hanssen, will be shown followed by a discussion of Pushwagner and his work by Columbia University’s Karen Green and Pushwagner’s biographer, Petter Mejlænder.

Pushwagner, the documentary, will be screening in full at Scandinavia House on SAT—9-17-2016. More info…

About Hariton Pushwagner

Hariton Pushwagner (Terje Brofos) was born in Oslo in 1940.  He studied at the School of Arts and Crafts and the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts. After graduating in 1966, he became a set painter for Norwegian state television. In 1968, he began collaborating with the Norwegian author Axel Jensen on a series of graphic novels and illustrations.

In 1969, he started work on his own graphic novel Soft City, which was completed in 1975 but was then lost until it was rediscovered in Oslo in 2002.  The original art for Soft City was exhibited at both the 2008 Berlin Biennial and the Sydney Biennial.  Pushwagner’s work has been displayed in galleries and museums all over the world.

About Karen Green

Karen Green is Columbia University’s Ancient & Medieval Studies Librarian, Graphic Novels Librarian, and Adjunct Curator for Comics and Cartoons. Her monthly column “Comic Adventures in Academia” appeared on Comixology.com for several years.  She plans events and panels about comics, including a two-day Comic New York Symposium.

Green has also served as a judge for the Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Cartooning and is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Society of Illustrators.



Images by Jimmy Linus and New York Review Books

THU—9-15-2016—7 PM