Past Exhibits

  • STILL...Racism In America - A Retrospective in Cartoons STILL...Racism In America - A Retrospective in Cartoons May 21, 2022 - October 23, 2022

    Pioneering father/daughter cartoonists Brumsic Brandon, Jr. (1927– 2014) and Barbara Brandon-Croft (1958– ) chronicled the nation’s cultural landscape in their comic strips through the lens of racism. The elder Brandon, who created Luther in the late sixties, and was later syndicated by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate until 1986, was also known for his blistering editorial cartoons. Where I’m Coming From is the work of his youngest daughter, the nation’s first Black woman cartoonist in the mainstream press; it debuted in 1989 in the Detroit Free Press. Universal Press Syndicate later distributed her provocative feature until 2005. For six decades, their respective pens lay bare the truth: Nothing has changed. This retrospective reveals how vividly the specter of racism remains in America… STILL.  

    This exhibition originated at Medialia Gallery in New York City. The Ohio State University’s installation will include original Luther cartoons from the Brumsic Brandon, Jr. Collection at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. STILL is curated by Tara Nakashima Donahue. 

    Save the Date: Opening reception and program with Barbara Brandon-Croft and Tara Nakashima Donahue at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum onSaturday, May 21, 2022.

  • Celebrating Sparky: Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts Celebrating Sparky: Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts May 21, 2022 - October 23, 2022

    Charles M. Schulz, known as Sparky to his family and friends, single-handedly created 17,897 Peanuts comic strips during a span of almost fifty years. At the time of Schulz’s retirement in 1999, his creation ran in more than 2,600 newspapers, was translated into twenty-one languages in seventy-five countries, and had a daily readership estimated to be 355 million. Peanuts became a worldwide cultural phenomenon in the second half of the twentieth century. Its impact can be seen on everything from space travel and classical music to the Broadway stage, merchandising, and even the English language. 

    This exhibition celebrates the centennial of Schulz’s birth and highlights the lasting legacy of his life and work. Schulz’s own words guide visitors to explore the themes of friendship, connectedness, unrequited love, and insecurity that made the strip resonate with so many fans. 

    Celebrating Sparky is curated by Lucy Shelton Caswell and mounted in partnership with the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, which is spearheading the international Schulz centennial celebration.

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  • Dark Laughter Revisited: The Life and Times of Ollie Harrington Dark Laughter Revisited: The Life and Times of Ollie Harrington November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022

    Throughout his career, Oliver “Ollie” Harrington (1912-1995) used his voice and artistic talents as a cartoonist to attack racial, economic and social injustice with razor-sharp wit and insight. Speaking from the perspective of a cartoonist of color, his commentary chronicles many of the events and issues that defined the 20th century, from segregation and apartheid, to war and poverty. Harrington’s life and career intersected with the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights movement, the Black émigré community in Paris after WWII, and communist East Germany. Many of Harrington’s cartoons remain relevant and speak to problems that sadly are still unresolved in contemporary times. 

  • Power Lines: Comics and the Environment Power Lines: Comics and the Environment November 13, 2021 - May 8, 2022

    At the start of the 21st century, the term Anthropocene was coined to describe a new geological epoch defined by humanity’s transformation of the natural world.  Scientists have long known that human beings have a complex relationship to the world we inhabit. We survive and thrive thanks to the earth’s many resources, but we also cause irreparable harm to the planet. This exhibit surveys over 100 years of comics that depict the pleasures and dangers of human interaction with the environment. Comics have captured it all—including fears about pollution, the celebration of nature preserves, anger at the failures of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the recognition of the ways environmental destruction and global warming disproportionately affect people of color. 

    Curated by Jared Gardner and Elizabeth Hewitt. 

    No special opening event has been scheduled for this exhibit. Stay tuned for announcements about exhibit programs happening in spring 2022.

    Art by Peter Kuper from his graphic novel Ruins published by SelfMadeHero, 2015. Used with permission.

  • Into the Swamp: The Social and Political Satire of Walt Kelly’s Pogo Into the Swamp: The Social and Political Satire of Walt Kelly’s Pogo June 19, 2021 - October 31, 2021

    Walt Kelly’s newspaper comic strip Pogo was a platform for political satire and commentary using a motley group of swamp critters. Kelly tackled many of the political issues of the world in which he lived, from the Red Scare to civil rights, the environment, scientific exploration, and consumerism. We celebrate Walt Kelly and his social commentary through the joyous, poignant, and occasionally profound insights and beauty of the alternative universe that is Pogo. Working in the mid-twentieth century, Kelly drew on the legacy of earlier generations of newspaper cartoonists and then became a major influence on his successors.

    This exhibition primarily features art and archival materials from the Walt Kelly Collection, which was donated to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum by Selby Kelly. It also showcases artwork from the collection of Doonesbury cartoonist Garry B. Trudeau, which he generously donated to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in 2020.

    Co-curated by Lucy Shelton Caswell, Professor Emerita and Founding Curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and Jenny E. Robb, Curator & Associate Professor.

    Image credit: Walt Kelly. Pogo, April 21, 1971. Publishers-Hall Syndicate. Reprinted by permission.

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