Showing posts with label Winsor McCay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winsor McCay. Show all posts

Friday, November 16, 2018

Review: Sense of Humor exhibit at National Gallery of Art

by Mike Rhode

Sense of Humor: Caricature, Satire, and the Comical from Leonardo to the Present. Jonathan Bober, Andrew W. Mellon senior curator of prints and drawings; Judith Brodie, curator and head of the department of American and modern prints and drawings; and Stacey Sell, associate curator, department of old master drawings. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art. July 15, 2018 – January 6, 2019. https://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2018/sense-of-humor.html

Humor may be fundamental to human experience, but its expression in painting and sculpture has been limited. Instead, prints, as the most widely distributed medium, and drawings, as the most private, have been the natural vehicles for comic content. Drawn from the National Gallery of Art's collection, Sense of Humor celebrates this incredibly rich though easily overlooked tradition through works including Renaissance caricatures, biting English satires, and20th-century comics. The exhibition includes major works by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Jacques Callot, William Hogarth, James Gillray, Francisco de Goya, and Honoré Daumier, as well as later examples by Alexander Calder, Red Grooms, Saul Steinberg, Art Spiegelman, and the Guerrilla Girls.
James Gillray, Wierd-Sisters; Ministers of Darkness; Minions of the Moon, 1791
Any exhibit on humor that covers 500 years (from 1470 through 1997), two continents and at least five countries is going to have to deal with the vagaries of what humor actually is. Even within my lifetime, what is considered permissible humor in America has changed, sometimes drastically. The exhibit was divided into three galleries – according to their press release (available at the website) the first "focuses on the emergence of humorous images in prints and drawings from the 15th to 17th centuries. Satires and caricatures gained popularity during this era, poking fun at the human condition using archetypal figures from mythology and folklore. While not yet intended as caricatures of individuals, Italian works reflected the Renaissance interest in the human figure and emotion." To modern eyes, drawings of dwarves or grotesques do not really appear to be either humorous or a cartoon, but the curators make the arguments that the foundations of caricature and satirical cartooning are laid in this period. 
William Hogarth, Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn, 1738
The second gallery begins featuring artists that most of us would consider cartoonists as it "continues with works from the 18th and 19th centuries, when certain artists dedicated themselves exclusively to comical subjects." In this room one found a good selection of the British masters Hogarth, Rowlandson, Gillray and Cruikshank, as well as Goya and Daumier (and oddly enough the painter Fragonard who drew an errant lover hiding from parents in an etching, The Armoire). This is the most interesting part of the exhibit for historians of comics, and the strong selection of etchings and drawings is worth studying since one rarely gets to see the contemporary prints, or even the original drawings such as Cruickshank's pencil and ink drawing Taking the Air in Hyde Park (1865). The release also notes, "Included in the exhibition is Daumier's Le Ventre Législatif (The Legislative Belly) (1834), a famous image that mocks the conservative members of France's Chamber of Deputies," but the exhibit does not note that the sculptures Daumier also made of the Deputies is on permanent display in another gallery of the museum -- a lost opportunity.
The final gallery "focuses on the 20th century and encompasses both the gentle fun of works by George Bellows, Alexander Calder, and Mabel Dwight and the biting satire of Hans Haacke and Rupert García. Works by professional cartoonists such as R. Crumb, George Herriman, Winsor McCay, and Art Spiegelman are presented alongside mainstream artists like Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Nutt, and Andy Warhol." Of most interest were the McCay (Little Nemo in Slumberland: Climbing the Great North Pole) and Herriman (Ah-h, She Sails Like an Angel, 1921) originals, both of which are worth examining in detail. This section also showed the paucity of the NGA's collections in modern comic art. These are joined by a print by Art Spiegelman, and several Zap Comic books, recently collected and described in standard art historical terms:
Robert Crumb (artist, author), Apex Novelties (publisher)
Zap #1, 1968
28-page paperback bound volume with half-tone and offset lithograph illustrations in black and
cover in full color
sheet: 24.13 x 17.15 cm (9 1/2 x 6 3/4 in.)
open: 24.13 x 34.29 cm (9 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of William and Abigail Gerdts

The fact that the Gallery still can not bring itself to use the word 'comic book,' the standard term as opposed to paperback bound volume, unfortunately shows that it has far to go in dealing with the twentieth century's popular culture rather than fine art. Still, the exhibit is interesting, and well-worth repeated viewings which are almost necessary to understand the material from the first four centuries of the show.



(This review was written for the International Journal of Comic Art 20:2, but this version appears on both the IJOCA and ComicsDC websites on November 16, 2018, while the exhibit is still open for viewing. For those not in DC, Bruce Guthrie has photographs of the entire exhibit at http://www.bguthriephotos.com/graphlib.nsf/keys/2018_07_29B2_NGA_Humor)

Friday, December 01, 2017

Winsor McCay on communications neutrality... in 1929


In this 1929 cartoon, McCay shows that issues stay the same - now, instead of radio, Internet neutrality is being discarded in favor of corporate media interests.

Photographed from the collection of Warren Bernard. See our earlier post of cartoons here.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Back to the Future with Winsor McCay

by Mike Rhode

Warren Bernard is known to many as the Executive Director of the Small Press Expo, but he's also an indefatigable collector of specialties in the comic art field. He and I refer to these as the "Secret History of Comics." Lately, he's been providing a lot of ads drawn by New Yorker cartoonists to Michael Maslin's Ink Spill. When I visited him recently, he pulled out a whole box of Winsor McCay's editorial cartoons clipped from the Chicago Herald and Examiner. I looked through barely any of the box (there's always something more to see at his house), but what struck me was how sadly relevant are these cartoons dating from 1929-1930 by McCay (who was also creator of Little Nemo, and Gertie the Dinosaur, and a founding father of animation). Almost 90 years later, we're still dealing with many of the same issues and Warren provided scans for me to share with you.

There's a narcotics problem hollowing out the social and civil life of our country....
  

and an international drug problem...

...although it's apparent to everyone that the  War on Drugs dating back to Ronald Reagan and the 1980s has been a stunningly expensive failure.

Distrust and ill will lead to tariffs that block trade and business...

...while a President's speech disrupts international organizations.

  
Schools are failing their students, leading to high levels of ignorance... 

  

... which is infecting the mood of the country...

... leading to an endemic lack of trust in government among certain Americans ...

 ...while also filling prisons, which now are being run for profit, and thus prime for overcrowding. 


Public works projects, including highways, are desired by 'common citizens and tax payers' ...


... but the large companies in the country are using their power to manipulate Congress and the media on their own behalf...


...while farmers suffer from high seed prices, low commodity prices and high debt while big agribusinesses like Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland Company get even bigger. 


Meanwhile, there's ongoing probes of the Executive Branch and Congress for sexual, ethical, lobbying and foreign interference issues...


that's going to take a lot of effort to resolve and preserve democracy.


 Meanwhile, 16 years of ongoing wars have led to tens of thousands of veterans, many with medical issues, having problems integrating back into society.



Sadly, I'm afraid that Warren and I could have added many more cartoons if I had time to look through more than a tenth of the box.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Did you miss the pre-SPX Little Nemo and Dylan Horrocks events?

Did you miss the pre-SPX Little Nemo and Dylan Horrocks events?

If so, not to worry. ComicsDC had people there covering them for you. We got audio recordings of both events. The Library of Congress filmed the Little Nemo presentation, and it'll eventually be on their website, but for now, you can listen to it here. Click on the title to be taken to an audio file.

  

DRAWING ON HISTORY - Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream

Bruce Guthrie has photographs of their presentation on his website and you can follow along by syncing his pictures and the audio.






Dylan Horrocks was last at SPX in 1999, talking about his book Hicksville and bring a traveling exhibition with him.

He's back and better than ever. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 29: How Early American Comic Strips Shed Light on the Nature of the Child

Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington DC 20540

March 6, 2012

Public contact: Martha Kennedy (202) 707-9115, mkenn@loc.gov

Swann Foundation Fellow Lara Saguisag to Discuss
How Early American Comic Strips Shed Light on the Nature of the Child

Swann Foundation Fellow Lara Saguisag, in a lecture at the Library of Congress, will examine how early 20th-century comic strips that featured child protagonists revealed the nature of the child during that era.

Saguisag will present "Sketching the 'Secret Tracts' of the Child's Mind: Theorizing Childhood in Early American Fantasy Strips, 1905-1914," at noon on Thursday, March 29, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture is free and open to the public. No tickets are needed.

Saguisag will focus specifically on fantasy strips such as Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and Lyonel Feininger's "Wee Willie Winkie's World." These strips featured child characters who inhabited dream worlds and transformed their environments through their imaginations. According to Saguisag, central to these works is the idea that a child's perception and experience of the world was shaped by his/her proclivity for fantasy. This natural connection with fantasy, moreover, made the child a complex, sometimes inscrutable figure, one who was essentially different from an adult.

Comic strips that linked childhood and fantasy drew from and built on themes of late-19th and early-20th-century children's books such as Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses" and Frank L. Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Such literature portrayed and celebrated the child as a highly imaginative being who enters and sometimes creates fantasy worlds that an adult could not readily access.

According to Saguisag, during the same period, psychologists and practitioners associated with the Child Study Movement were also intrigued by what G. Stanley Hall termed the "secret tracts" of the child's mind. Many psychologists concluded that imaginative play and reverie were healthful childhood activities and advised parents to take an active role in cultivating the child's imagination. The intersection of children's literature and psychology encountered in early American "kid strips" helped perpetuate and naturalize the image of the imaginative child.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Saguisag completed an M.A. in Children's literature at Hollins University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at The New School. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden, where she held a University Presidential Fellowship from 2007-2009.

This presentation is sponsored by the Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon of the Library of Congress and the Library's Prints & Photographs Division. The lecture is part of the foundation's continuing activities to support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world. The foundation strives to award one fellowship annually to assist scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon. Applications for the 2013-2014 academic year are due Feb. 15, 2013. More information about the fellowship is available through the Swann Foundation's website: www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/ or by e-mailing swann@loc.gov.

# # #

PR12-48
3/6/12
ISSN: 0731-3527

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 29: Early Comics and the Nature of the Child Lecture

Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington DC   20540

March 6, 2012

Public contact:  Martha Kennedy (202) 707-9115, mkenn@loc.gov

 Swann Foundation Fellow Lara Saguisag to Discuss
How Early American Comic Strips Shed Light on the Nature of the Child

Swann Foundation Fellow Lara Saguisag, in a lecture at the Library of Congress, will examine how early 20th-century comic strips that featured child protagonists revealed the nature of the child during that era.

Saguisag will present "Sketching the 'Secret Tracts' of the Child's Mind: Theorizing Childhood in Early American Fantasy Strips, 1905-1914," at noon on Thursday, March 29, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C.  The lecture is free and open to the public.  No tickets are needed.

Saguisag will focus specifically on fantasy strips such as Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and Lyonel Feininger's "Wee Willie Winkie's World."  These strips featured child characters who inhabited dream worlds and transformed their environments through their imaginations.  According to Saguisag, central to these works is the idea that a child's perception and experience of the world was shaped by his/her proclivity for fantasy.  This natural connection with fantasy, moreover, made the child a complex, sometimes inscrutable figure, one who was essentially different from an adult.

Comic strips that linked childhood and fantasy drew from and built on themes of late-19th and early-20th-century children's books such as Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses" and Frank L. Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."  Such literature portrayed and celebrated the child as a highly imaginative being who enters and sometimes creates fantasy worlds that an adult could not readily access.

According to Saguisag, during the same period, psychologists and practitioners associated with the Child Study Movement were also intrigued by what G. Stanley Hall termed the "secret tracts" of the child's mind.  Many psychologists concluded that imaginative play and reverie were healthful childhood activities and advised parents to take an active role in cultivating the child's imagination.  The intersection of children's literature and psychology encountered in early American "kid strips" helped perpetuate and naturalize the image of the imaginative child.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Saguisag completed an M.A. in Children's literature at Hollins University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at The New School. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden, where she held a University Presidential Fellowship from 2007-2009. 

This presentation is sponsored by the Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon of the Library of Congress and the Library's Prints & Photographs Division.  The lecture is part of the foundation's continuing activities to support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world.  The foundation strives to award one fellowship annually to assist scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon.  Applications for the 2013-2014 academic year are due Feb. 15, 2013.  More information about the fellowship is available through the Swann Foundation's website: www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/ or by e-mailing swann@loc.gov.

# # #

PR12-48
3/6/12
ISSN: 0731-3527

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Be a Ripsnorter with Winsor McCay

From an April 1913 newspaper. I figured I wasn't going to find an original button, but could enjoy a reasonable facsimile. Buy it now, and use it in comics con crowds.



Winsor McCay's Legion of Ripsnorters' Rhinocerous

Round the Ripsnorters' Campfire - Pipe the button especially designed for members of the Legion of Ripsnorters. Isn't it a corker? The rhinocerous is probably the greatest ripsnorter of all big game. When he charges something's got to go. And so with our own fellow Ripsnorters. When one of them yells "Gangway!' ordinary people had better jump. Henceforth the rhinocerous is the Legion's mascot and emblem. The button has been especially designed by Winsor McCay, the famous Ripsnorter of Sheepshead Baya. He has been elected official artist by the executive committee. All members of the Legion of Ripsnorters should wear one of the buttons. (April 13, 1913)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Little Nemo animation entered into Library of Congress Registry

Winsor McCay's Little Nemo animation entered into Library of Congress Registry, reports the Associated Press on the Washington Post website.

The Library's press release says:

Little Nemo (1911)

This classic work, a mix of live action and animation, was adapted from Winsor McCay’s famed 1905 comic strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland." Its fluidity, graphics and story-telling was light years beyond other films made during that time. A seminal figure in both animation and comic art, McCay profoundly influenced many generations of future animators, including Walt Disney.


This is not the 1990s Japanese animation of course. Speaking of McCay, I had an original of one of his political drawings in my hands this weekend. Hoo-hah!

Another cartoon I'm not familiar with was added as well:

Quasi at the Quackadero (1975)

"Quasi at the Quackadero" has earned the term "unique." Once described as a "mixture of 1930s Van Beuren cartoons and 1960s R. Crumb comics with a dash of Sam Flax," and a descendent of the "Depression-era funny animal cartoon," Sally Cruikshank’s wildly imaginative tale of odd creatures visiting a psychedelic amusement park careens creatively from strange to truly wacky scenes. It became a favorite of the Midnight Movie circuit in the 1970s. Cruikshank later created animation sequences for "Sesame Street," the 1986 film "Ruthless People" and the "Cartoon Land" sequence in the 1983 film "Twilight Zone: The Movie."

Monday, March 24, 2008

92 years yesterday ... the SHOC of McCay!

Another Secret History of Comics entry by Warren Bernard:

92 years ago this past Sunday, March 23, 1916, the members of The Albany Legislative Correspondents Association got together for their annual dinner. Not unlike the Gridiron Club, it was a boys night out to rib and celebrate the then occupants of the New York State Legislature and the sitting Governor, Charles Whitman.

The program for this event features a Winsor McCay drawing that to my knowledge, has not been reprinted before. This dinner and its associated program was done for over 60 years, and each year political cartoonists did both the covers and in some years, up to a half dozen specialty pieces for the inside text.

How many more did Mccay do? For what other obscure organization did he do such material? The former I do not know the answer to, the latter, one day soon this question will be at least partially answered.

So stay tuned to the SHOC...

Warren

I had to reduce the image dpi from 300 to 150 to get a reasonable size to post - if anyone wants the supersize original, click here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Geppi's Entertainment Museum photos from 'Scrooged' exhibit and more

I, along with some friends, got a tour of the new exhibit at Geppi's Entertainment Museum which opens at the end of January. Curator Arnold and Registrar Andy kindly took us through the whole museum. I'll post more thoughts later, but here's the pictures. As I've said before, it's a cool museum, and there's a lot of Barks originals here that none of us would see any place else. And for fun, a Happy Hooligan toy where the cops beat on him as it rolls and an ad by Winsor McCay in a section not open to the public. The Museum's closed on Monday's during the winter, so watch out for that, but it's well worth seeing. Steve Geppi's got a collection to envy.

Larger versions of the pictures can be seen and downloaded on my flickr site.

A couple of duck oil paintings.

Part of the complete North to the Yukon story that's on display.

The atypical section with non-Disney Duck watercolors, and some other oddities including a landscape.

A Faberge egg offered by Another Rainbow.

Pirate's Gold oil painting.

Duck family statue from Another Rainbow. That's an oil of Donald lying next to it.

Ah, McCay... This was opposite an original Krazy Kat, but this is all I had eyes for.

Happy Hooligan gets bopped by the cops when you roll this toy.

Look at that lovely Winsor McCay ad.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cartoons Magazine from 1918 online

This is not the REAL SHoC (Secret History of Comics) promised yesterday, but it's a pretty good one. It's a scan on Google Books of Cartoons Magazine from 1918 - actually it's over 500 pages long so it must be most of the year's issues! Hoo-hah!

These are pretty well-known to hardcore collectors, but out of the price range of ordinary guys like me. Let's give a moment to appreciate the bequest of John Amory Lowell.

Now... to print or not to print...

Here's a 1920 Keeping Up with the Joneses from Pop Momand...

...Winsor McCay's Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend...

...Thomas Masson's 1922 Our American Humorists has a chapter on comics artists - with few kind words...

...and a microfiche version of The Good Things of Life, Sixth Series, which is early gag cartooning.