Fine Cartoon Art

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Archive for the ‘art shows’ Category

Posted by jtebeau on July 27, 2012

(The following is a little write-up by Brooklyn arts reporter Stephanie Thompson on the recent show I have in Park Slope which ends Friday. Thanks, Steph!)

Who Will Save Us?

The Art of John Tebeau

It could be the bacon or the inviting open doors that draws one first into the new Dizzy’s Diner on the corner of President St. and Park Slope’s bustling 5th Ave. But once inside, the bold poster-style art that screams from the walls is the big star.

The arresting images by John Tebeau, up until July 27, immediately bring a warm smile of recognition followed by a giggle at the artist’s sly clever twists on the

“!978” acrylic on canvas

familiar. In the powerful illustrated montage, 1978, there is the full white-toothed smile and solid stand-up breasts of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, power bracelets braced and ready. There is Steve Martin, mouth and eyes open wide, an arrow through his head. There is Cap’n Crunch and the Play-Do primary-colored O-faced grin of Mr. Bill. There too are the gun-toting feather-haired girls of Charlie’s Angels, the Grease logo and John Belushi’s mug atop a “College” sweatshirt. There they all are and there we are, those of us who remember, brought back to a comfortable time and place, secure.

As a longtime illustrator and packaging designer, Mr. Tebeau clearly understands the power of icons and symbols to motivate emotions and drive people to action.

“I try to inspire or excite people with iconography, I want my art to be useful,” Mr. Tebeau said in the same earnest winking tone of his fabulously entertaining images. “If it makes somebody feel better or focuses them in a way, great, then it’s worked.”

"Stroh's (that 70s Brew)"

And it has. The blue-skinned James Bond depiction, the purple-hued Duke Ellington, the orangey-red rendering of Star Trek’s Uhura, not to mention the Stroh’s beer can, all goose the diner-goer to stop mid-bite of bacon and reflect on the great motivational power of heroes, superheroes and icons from a certain place and time in history. Time past always seems better, more hopeful somehow. We can see the changes that artists make more easily with hindsight.

Mr. Tebeau’s work is inspired by artists Peter Max, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso whose bold posters reflected what he calls thejoyous optimism” of San Francisco in the fast-changing ‘60s and ‘70s.

By hearkening back to that time, Mr. Tebeau well captures that optimism and the necessity of bringing it back again.

“It’s easy to get distracted in life, especially the way it is now, with a lot of stimulus and not all of it good,” he said. For Mr. Tebeau personally and, he believes, universally, images and icons offer up necessary inspiration and focus to drive one’s intended life work.

“I see work as a form of salvation, although maybe that sounds too religious,” Mr. Tebeau said. “But ‘work’ is what you’re supposed to do in life. John D. Rockefeller said, ‘If you want the key to happiness, find something you do fairly well and do it with all your heart and soul.’”

As the regulated work world morphs more and more into unstructured freelance, necessitating greater self-motivation, Mr. Tebeau’s suggestion is actually faith-based: we need to trust and believe in a fair bit of divine intervention.

In Universe, Mr. Tebeau reflects the hand of God offering Adam an Ace of Hearts.

Divine Intervention

“It’s about good luck and love and the divine, about the unlikely opportunities and interventions that can come into your life that you need to seize and claim, that can help motivate you,” he said.

It is reflective of Mr. Tebeau’s own great joyous optimism that he believes this can happen to people, to anyone.

“If you focus on a vision of what you want, you can bring it to yourself, draw it to you…” he said.

As proof, he offers up the story of an investigative journalist who asked him for a rendering of his hero, Edward R. Murrow. After hanging the image over his

Murrow-Five-Ways

work space, the man went on to win three Edward R. Murrow awards.

Mr. Tebeau is commissioned for such work but also wants to inspire more widely with his images.

“Art doesn’t work if no one sees it,” Mr. Tebeau says, grateful extending thanks to Dizzy’s owner Matheo Pisciotta and his wife, Mary Fraioli.

The couple works with Park Slope-based art curating service Radar Curatorial to set up shows featuring local artists like Mr. Tebeau every three months at the new location on 5th Ave. as well as on the original location at 9th St. and 8th Ave.

“We have such amazing talent in Brooklyn, it’s great to support them,” Ms. Fraioli said.

Her husband agrees. “I say, ‘Buy art, save lives.’” Is the saving just of the starving artists, or is it ourselves, that is the question.

The couple has featured the art and music of staff as well as that of friends and neighbors since they first opened their doors in 1997, among those they gave their start the now well-renown photographer Lori Berkowitz.  More recently, they formalized the effort by hiring Michele Jaslow and Spring Hofeldt of Radar and offering wait-staff a 5% commission for any art they sell.

Visit Dizzy’s for the bacon, for sure, but think of buying some salve for the soul as well.

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Drew Friedman, Caricaturist With “Chops, Passion and Sweat*”

Posted by jtebeau on April 22, 2012

A quick note here: legendary illustrator and caricaturist Drew Friedman is featured in an art show at the Scott Eder Gallery in Brooklyn, with an opening next week. DREW FRIEDMAN, you guys! Opening reception is April 27. Be there! I won’t be, for the love of Pete. I’ll be in New Orleans. Dang it.

 

* says Steve Brodner, one of the best political caricaturists in the biz

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Come For the Hash, Stay for the Paintings

Posted by jtebeau on April 13, 2012

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Make No Mistake. You WILL.

I think I got that right. Or maybe it’s come for the PAINTINGS and stay for the hash. The hash (corned beef, not you know, Turkish) is damn good. Really damn good. (Yes, I have to swear.) House-made, the meat all shreddy and complex, the taters and onions a little crispy n caramelized from the grill. Best I’ve had in NYC, ever.

Okay, I digress. The point is, with the help of Spring and Michele of Radar Curatorial, I’ve got a show hanging for at least the next four months at the new Dizzy’s (the FINER diner) in Park Slope, corner of Fifth Ave. and President St.

The place looks great, too. The walls are a warm yellow (couldn’t be better for these particular paintings), and Matheo and Mary have installed a long diner-counter-style formica bar that would make George Bailey himself swell with pride, while Archie and Betty and Veronica watched Jughead go into a food coma after his thirteenth bacon (it’s BROOKLYN!) double cheeseburger as Norman Rockwell painted the whole damn scene. Oh, and Don Draper is in the corner booth, smoking a Lucky and grimly slurping Grandad on the rocks. Wait. That was Freddy’s drink. Never mind. You know. If you don’t, don’t ask. Freddy had problems.

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Dizzy's Excellent Bar.

But anyway, the restaurant opens this weekend, and on an upcoming Thursday (yeah, you’ll be notified) Matheo and Mary will cook up a dynamite prix-fix menu for a night to stop by and check out the art. I’ll be there… in the corner booth with Don. NO! Kidding. I’m KIDDING. Come ON. Not there. Not with him. Not never.

I’ll be at Dizzy’s on 5th, though, probably wearing my Rydell High varsity jacket and saying stuff like “swell” and “so’s your old man.” Will I rebuckle my knickerbockers BELOW THE KNEE? Will I be telling JOKES from “CAP’N BILLY’S WHIZ BAG?” That remains to be seen. Be there or be square, all reet? 23-skiddoo, daddios.

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Spring and Michele, hangin' tuff

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Note the outdoor seating area. Yeah? Like that? Yeah!

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Crumb, the Next Generation: Sophie’s Show Opens in NYC

Posted by jtebeau on November 15, 2010

Sophie Crumb’s first solo art show opened this month at DCKT Contemporary here in Manhattan. I went with Mike “Art in Brooklyn” Sorgatz and we took it in. I was curious to see what this young woman was doing artistically, the daughter of two well-known neurotic artists, and I was particularly motivated because I felt I knew her since she was a little girl. By gad, her dad Robert has been documenting the [actually fascinating] minutiae of her life (as well as everything in HIS life) through his cartoons for decades now. On the verge of 30, little Sophie (love that name; the goddessness of it and all) is all growed up. I wanted to see what she was producing.

 

Sophie at nine, by Robert & Aline

 

 

"Sophie Manson" by Sophie herself

Her work is good. She’s got skills, especially in the ink-and-watercolor department, something I really admire. She comments on life’s gruesome and absurd truthiness, not unlike her folks. The stuff of hers that I saw was less autobiographical, though – more akin to the paintings her uncle Maxon did. An outsider looking in, like Tocqueville or Magaret Mead.

 

The scene at the opening was good. A lively mix of odd comic geeks and LES/Bushwick hipster-artist types. Bottles of Miller on ice. Many pieces sold. Go get ’em Soph’.

 

Uncle Max and an original oil of his

"La Vraie Vie Des People" by Sophie (2010)

"Snooki Gets Booky" by Sophie (2010)

Dad Robert (in cap) at Sophie's opening (courtesy Slum Goddess)

The show runs till December 30, 2010 at DCKT Contemporary in Manhattan.

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In New York, It Heats Up in the Fall

Posted by jtebeau on October 5, 2010

... and a tip o' the hat to Bruegel the Elder

Something about the energy of fall…. Why is it that when nature starts shutting down, we humans start revving up? Maybe it’s a leftover, Pavlovian reaction to the bounty of the harvest or some inherent understanding that we only have a handful of perfect days left before The Big Sleep of winter nails us indoors for a few months. We make the most of it, like the peasants in those Bruegel paintings going bananas at their rowdy little peasant parties. Bruegel – now there’s a fine cartoon artist, but not now, not now….

That autumn buzz goes back to childhood. School would start up, Halloween was just around the corner, and of course (perhaps most importantly), THE NEW TV SEASON STARTED. I believe it was Albert Brooks who said television was like heroin when you were a kid. Seemed that way to me, I guess, though I wouldn’t know for sure. I think I literally did convulse if the cable went out, having conniption fits if I missed an episode of “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” or “Dusty’s Trail.” You can understand. I was a visual kid. Who didn’t play football.

And in New York, fall is When Everything Starts Happening Again, after, it’s implied, three months of Nothing Important Going On. Actually, except for the vomit-sauna effect of certain special streets and a forced reliance on wicked, wicked air conditioning, I sort of dig summer in NYC, provided I know that I have the option to split. It’s not so crowded and there’s actually plenty to do. It’s just really, really farging hot und shticky while you’re doing it. But there’s stuff to do. In the fall though…. Ahh, that’s when the real action goes down. Like art openings.

Which brings me to the point: this week at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, three-count-em-three shows open, with a great big reception tonight from 7:30 to 9:00 tonight: Tuesday the 5th. MoCCA is celebrating the work of three excellent artists, who have all contributed admirably to the great American art form that is cartooning: Al Jaffee, father of the Mad Fold-In and “snappy answers to stupid questions,” Liza Donnelly of New Yorker fame and underground comix kahuna Denis Kitchen, a pioneer of the scene (daddy-o) and founder of the venerable Kitchen Sink Press.

Jaffee!

Donnelly!

Kitchen!

All three exhibits run through January 30 of 2011, so there’s plenty of time to check them out. I recommend stopping by the opening tonight, though. It’s autumn. It’s on. And nothing happens after the holidays. You know that.

And for your nostalgic, boob-tube enjoyment:

Darren McGavin: The Man.

And if you remember this one, you get a Coke….

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Invader from North in New York: Seth at Adam Baumgold

Posted by jtebeau on March 12, 2010

Here’s one of your best chances to see a contemporary cartoon master’s work up close and personal. But hurry.

courtesy of Seth and Adam Baumgold Gallery

Seth’s “George Sprott 1894 – 1975” wraps up it’s run at the Adam Goldberg Gallery on March 13.

The exhibition includes drawings and architectural models from Seth’s graphic novel (the saga of a Canadian TV personality by Ontario’s own Seth, born Gregory Gallant), which originally ran as a serial in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His style is clean, precise and rendered with heart and sensitivity. The work goes down smooth, and packs a punch, like cold a rye Manhattan served up with a twist of orange peel.

See it, savor it, feel it.

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When an Artist Curates a Show, Good Things Happen.

Posted by jtebeau on March 10, 2010

“Artists make great exhibition curators. They have expert eyes, a personal stake in the game and contacts with all kinds of other artists, including those who ride under the establishment radar. Museum surveys of contemporary art rarely produce surprises. Artist-organized gallery shows almost always do.”

So wrote the art critic Holland Cotter a couple years ago in the New York Times, upon reviewing the excellent “NeoIntegrity” show at Derek Eller Gallery, curated by artist Keith Mayerson. Mayerson’s at it again, and this time it’s comics.

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) kicks off “NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition” in their SoHo digs on Friday March 12. Curated by Mr. Mayerson, the exhibit features the work of over 200 cartoonists, including R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, Lynda Barry, Charles Addams, Julie Doucet (yummy website, Julie!), Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, Roz Chast, Al Jaffee, Harvey Kurtzman, Isabella Bannerman, Jules Feiffer, Art Spiegelman…. [catching breath!] It’s a veritable cornucopia, my friends. A CAVALCADE of TALENT. (though I’m bummed Nina Paley’s not on the list) Still, the mind is, how you say, boggled by the breadth and depth of the line-up: a Murderers Row of the ink set. Do yourself a favor and go see it.

“NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition” runs from March 12 to May 30 at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, 594 Broadway (between Houston and Prince), fourth floor.


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