Little Nemo is roused by a new generation of artists in two new books.
Two new books examine the role of the Disney studio as a patriotic propaganda factory during World War II.
Historian R.C. Harvey sets out to rescue great cartoonists of old from obscurity.
These cartoonists stood up against intimidation and fought for their right to freedom of expression. Let us celebrate their victories.
Suppose you wanted to make an animated film or TV series, but you didn’t have any new ideas and (gasp) you don’t want to remake the same old properties. Take heart: there’s a lot of great material out there just begging to be adapted into animation.
There’s too much post-apocalyptic fiction around, in books and movies, TV and games. I’d toss the lot into a dumpster now, except for “Adventure Time.”
Although I haven’t seen the exhibit “Gustave Doré (1832-1883): Master of Imagination,” currently at the National Gallery of Canada, I can say that the catalog is beautiful, informative, and opened up Doré’s career in ways I had not anticipated.
Any reason to celebrate the National Film Board of Canada is a good one; the NFB is a model for government-funded arts organizations, both in the freedom granted its filmmakers and its long string of successes.
As one of the few animators to successfully cross over into the lucrative world of fine art, Takeshi Murata (b. 1974) has produced a wide range of video works that range from hand-drawn, computer-assisted animation to randomly distorted clips from films and TV shows a la glitch art, such as “Untitled (Pink Dot)” (2007), drawn from “Rambo,” or “Timewarp Experiment” (2007) from “Three’s Company.”
“DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition” opened last month at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Clearly inspired by “Pixar: 20 Years of Animation,” which was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York back in 2005, the DreamWorks show includes over 400 items, and covers the studio’s twenty-year history right up to the present—there are displays about “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” which will be released next month. It is the largest exhibition in the twelve-year history of the ACMI.
Joyce Pensato (b. 1941, Brooklyn NY) has been painting cartoon characters for years. She takes icons of cartoon art—Felix the Cat, Donald Duck, Batman—and renders them in smudgy charcoal and pastel or runny enamel paint. She works mostly in black and white, occasionally introducing silver and gold for contrast. Though her work seems grounded more in graffiti art, she actually draws from fine art history, from the likes of the Abstract Expressionists, and Philip Guston, who was also influenced by comics.
Any exhibition that “…aims to demonstrate the centrality of animation to contemporary global culture…” is worth our attention, and the UK’s Barbican Centre-produced “Watch Me Move: The Animation Show” has been doing that at museum venues since 2011. This June, it comes to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville.
“Animated cinema is the demiurgic art par excellence: matter comes to life and is transformed in the hands and imaginations of the creators. They, more than anybody, know about the secret life of objects.” This description, comes from the exhibition “Metamorphosis: Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers,” now playing at the Centre de Cultura Contemporanea (CCCB) in Barcelona, Spain, and it’s a good summary of the work of these four visionary animators.
Animation is overtaking the streets of downtown Montreal’s entertainment district, the Quartier des Spectacles, and various cities in Scotland in honor of Norman McLaren’s centennial.
The Whitney Biennial is one of the most anticipated events in the world of art museums. Begun as an annual survey of American art in 1932, it became a biennial in 1973. Its overall purpose is to show a snapshot of the contemporary art world, often focusing on very recent works. For the art intelligentsia, it is often an excuse to complain about a) the state of contemporary art, and b) the curatorial choices made, or both—with occasional exceptions, such as the 2012 Biennial, which was met with overwhelming praise.
Patrick Oliphant (b. 1935) is one of the Old Masters of editorial cartooning. He began his career in his native Australia, then came to the US in 1964, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1967, the first of many awards and accolades. The Gerald Peters Gallery in New York is presenting “Patrick Oliphant: A Survey,” which includes 34 mostly new works ranging from charcoal and ink drawings, paintings in watercolor and oil, and bronze sculpture.
Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) was an artist’s artist, renowned among critics and curators, but hard for the general public to warm up to. His most famous fine art works are his Black Paintings, from the 1960s, which at first glance appear to be solid black, but on closer inspection turn out to be blocks of black and almost-black shades. Important, but challenging.
“The Believer” is one of the magazines in “McSweeney’s” indie publishing empire. Published nine times a year, it focuses primarily on books, but occasionally devotes an issue to another topic. This year, the March/April film issue includes a DVD of shorts by John and Faith Hubley, in tribute to John Hubley’s centennial, which happens on May 21st.
Politically-conscious graphic art has a long history, from Daumier up to Lynd Ward and Eric Drooker. The 1930s and ’40s were a rich period in this respect, as the rise of Communism and Fascism coupled with the Great Depression brought issues of social justice to the fore.
Poor Tex Avery just can’t seem to win. He’s getting his own day in Texas next month, while his protégé Chuck Jones will be the subject of a six-year nationwide museum exhibit that begins this summer.
A recent blog post on the Guardian brings up a common misconception: that sexualizing Disney characters is somehow daring or cutting edge.
Mickey Mouse and Damien Hirst are strange bedfellows. Hirst (b. 1965) is a multidisciplinary artist foremost in the group dubbed Young British Artists (YBAs). He burst onto the scene in the 1980s, a very promising maker of paintings, sculptures, and more. He has become extraordinarily successful, which does not necessarily mean that his promise has been fulfilled.
When animators in Burbank get hungry, there’s Moore’s Deli, which has a back room decorated by animation artists, many from the nearby studios of Cartoon Network, Nick, DreamWorks and Disney. Now say you went to New York City, and you wish for an opportunity to emulate, or at least echo, the doodles which caught hold at Moore’s Deli.