Past Exhibits

  • Hogarth and Beyond: Global Cartoons from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection Hogarth and Beyond: Global Cartoons from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection June 10, 2009 - August 31, 2009

    The Reading Room Gallery
    June 10, 2009 – August 31, 2009

    As the old saw goes, timing is everything.

    Mort Walker had a dream of a bona fide museum that exhibited original cartoon art.  Hard work and ingenuity turned a mansion into a museum in 1974. More hard work and ingenuity turned a concrete castle into a second home for their museum. Its third incarnation as the International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA) in Boca Raton, Florida, seemed to be the dream come true, but economic realities intervened. Despite the challenges during these years, the museum’s collection, thousands of priceless original cartoons from around the world as well as books and artifacts related to all of the genres of cartoon art, grew and flourished.

    Concurrent with the museum’s development, a cartoon library was growing at The Ohio State University. It began in two classrooms off the back hallway of the Journalism Building in 1977. Soon it expanded to three classrooms and officialy became part of the University Libraries. When the three classrooms were filled a dozen years later, the library moved into much larger space. In subsequent years, additions to its holdings expanded the collection so much that the use of off-site storage was required.

    By 2006 it was clear that provisions had to be made for additional space for the cartoon library and a possible lead donor stepped forward. After two feasibility studies, university officials decided that the cartoon library should have a new home, complete with museum-quality galleries, in Sullivant Hall, a historic building at the gateway to campus. The opportunity to merge the International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA) Collection with the library presented itself because of the additional storage space and galleries that will be available in Sullivant Hall. We are grateful that Mort Walker and the IMCA board accepted our invitation and agreed to transfer its treasures to The Ohio State University. In recognition of its expanded responsibility to exhibit original cartoon art, the name of the library was changed to Cartoon Library and Museum in December 2008. It is fitting that one of the galleries in Sullivant Hall will be named in honor of Mort Walker.

    The works in this exhibit are a fraction of the many thousands of works in the IMCA Collection, which includes a wide range of cartoon art from around the world. During the museum’s years in Boca Raton, Florida, board member Jerry Robinson was especially active in building its holdings of cartoons by contemporary international cartoonists. We salute the perseverance and dedication of everyone who worked to make the International Museum of Cartoon Art a reality. The International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, which is their legacy, will be the source of great pleasure and inspiration for decades to come.

    The opening of this exhibit will be celebrated with a reception from 3:30-5:00 pm at the Hopkins Hall Gallery + Corridor in conjunction with the opening of Yellow Kid to Conan: American Cartoons from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection. Refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public.

  • Light: A Forgotten 19th Century Humor Magazine Light: A Forgotten 19th Century Humor Magazine April 9, 2009 - May 31, 2009

    Light was by far the most important of lithographic comic weekly to be published outside of New York or San Francisco during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  It provided the first or early employment to a host of talented cartoonists, illustrators, and at least one writer who would later go on to successful careers.  Those who contributed to Light included Will H. Bradley, W. W. Denslow, Frank Ladendorf, Ferand Lungren, Hy Mayer, Peter Newell, T. E. Powers, C. S. Rigby, and Horace Taylor.  It also published the works of prominent New York cartoonists, such as Eugene Zimmerman and F. M. Howarth.

    During its bumpy two-and-a-half year existence, the magazine’s one constant was change: it changed its name, its place of publication, its size and appearance, and its owners, editors, and chief cartoonists.  It began in Columbus in March 1889 as The Owl.  It changed its name to Light in June and suspended publication in September. It was revived in Chicago in February of 1890, went full-color in May, increased its page size in September, and published its final issue in June 1891.

  • Ronald Searle: Satirist Ronald Searle: Satirist January 15, 2009 - March 31, 2009

    Ronald Searle: Satirist showcases examples of this great British cartoonist’s work at the height of his career as a graphic reporter during the 1950s and 1960s. Born March 3, 1920, to a working class family in Cambridge, Searle quit art school to join the Territorial Army as an Architectural Draughtsman in 1939. He was shipped to Singapore in October 1941, was captured by the Japanese a month after his arrival, He spent the remainder of World War II in a prisoner of war camp. Searle began cartooning for Punch in 1946 and was so successful there that he became a member of Mr. Punch’s Table, a very high honor, only a decade later. During this time, Searle also worked frequently for American magazines such as Holiday and Life. In 1960 he was the first non-American artist to receive the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award, its highest honor.

  • Sam Milai of the Pittsburgh Courier Sam Milai of the Pittsburgh Courier September 22, 2008 - December 31, 2008

    Sam Milai (March 23, 1908-April 30, 1970) was an artist and cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Courier, an influential African American newspaper, for thirty-three years. He was a centrist who disdained all forms of extremism. The cartoons in this exhibition were found by his granddaughter in a suitcase in her mother’s attic and donated to the Cartoon Research Library. The Sam Milai collection also includes correspondence, clippings and photographs related to Milai.

    Sam Milai of the Pittsburgh Courier documents Milai’s mature work during the last seven years of his life. Reading these cartoons from the perspective of almost four decades later, we sense both the hopes and the frustrations that the African American community experienced during the 1960s.

  • Jeff Smith: Before Bone Jeff Smith: Before Bone May 1, 2008 - September 5, 2008

    Jeff Smith brought a much more polished feature to the campus newspaper than most student cartoonists. From its inception, Thorn, the title of Smith’s OSU Lantern strip which was named after its female protagonist, exhibited an unusual level of sophistication. The strip demonstrated very capable manipulation of layout and design coupled with time-honored comic strip narrative techniques. It is interesting to note that by his early twenties, Smith clearly grasped the power of epic narrative, even though the storyline of Thorn, while sophisticated and entertaining, was not linear. The vantage point of a quarter century and the phenomenal international success of Bone make us see Jeff Smith’s college cartoons in a different perspective than we did when they first ran in The Lantern.  At Ohio State University, the student newspaper describes itself as a “laboratory newspaper,” and it served that purpose very successfully for Smith. He used Thorn both to hone his artistic skills and to experiment with several types of storytelling. From a sketchbook page to finished comic strips, this exhibition celebrates the education of a young man.

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