Past Exhibits

  • Remembering Ding Remembering Ding May 15, 2012 - August 24, 2012

    The Reading Room Gallery
    May 15, 2012 – August 24, 2012
    Jay N. “Ding” Darling (1876-1962) was regarded by many as America’s greatest political cartoonist during the first half of the twentieth century. A two-time Pulitzer winner, Ding repeatedly topped popularity polls throughout the Twenties and Thirties. He was also an influential conservationist and visionary founder of the National Wildlife Federation, and both conceived of and illustrated the first Federal Duck Stamp. The Jay N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida, is named in his honor. For more than four decades, he drew for the Des Moines Register and his cartoons were syndicated around the country for millions to see. Ding was a fiercely independent spirit and a progressive Republican who followed his conscience, not party dogma. This led him to take many surprising stands, such as impassioned support for the League of Nations.

    Please join us Thursday, May 17th at 7 pm, in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum to celebrate the opening of Remembering Ding, an exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of Jay N. “Ding” Darling. This event will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ding Darling’s death, and celebrate the release of Richard Samuel West’s new book Iconoclast in Ink:  The Political Cartoons of Jay N. “Ding” Darling (which will be available for the first time at this event.) Join West at 7:30 pm that evening as he shares some of his favorite Ding cartoons and discusses the qualities in Ding’s work that made it so extraordinary. Iconoclast in Ink is a profusely illustrated volume celebrating Ding, published by The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Come spend an hour learning about Ding’s wonderful work, in all its antic and powerful glory.

    Contact:  Jenny Robb
    The Ohio State University
    Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
    27 W. 17th Avenue Mall
    Columbus OH 43210-1343

    About the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Our primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection of materials documenting American printed cartoon art (editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons) and to provide access to these collections. The library is open Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. It is free and open to the public. See for further information. the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is located at 27 W. 17th Avenue , north of the Wexner Center’s main entrance. Parking is available at the Ohio Union garage.

  • Columbus Cartoonists: A Bicentennial Celebration Columbus Cartoonists: A Bicentennial Celebration January 23, 2012 - April 27, 2012

    The Reading Room Gallery
    January 23, 2012 – April 27, 2012

    An extraordinary number of notable cartoonists have lived, worked or been educated in Columbus, Ohio. In honor of the two hundredth anniversary of the city’s founding, this exhibition features original cartoon art and other artifacts created by many of them, including Billy Ireland, Milton Caniff, Harry J. Westerman, Eugene Craig, Doc Goodwin, Bill Crawford, Edwina Dumm, Dudley T. Fisher, and James Thurber.

  • Roy Doty: Inspired Lines Roy Doty: Inspired Lines September 19, 2011 - January 6, 2012

    The Reading Room Gallery
    September 19, 2011 – January 6, 2012

    The only artwork Roy Doty really cares about is the work that is currently on his drawing board. This is not to say that he does not enjoy looking at finished work. He takes great pride in what he has done. The fact is, however, that the act of creating now, in the present, brings him such pleasure and satisfaction that he cannot imagine doing anything else.

    Doty’s work cannot be pigeonholed. The cartoonist’s society did not think he was a cartoonist and the illustrators did not think he was an illustrator. In fact, he is both—and much more. Since 1945 he has been a successful free lance artist who never had an agent. He had his own television show, drew a comic strip for three years and won awards for his greeting card art. His advertising clients have included Ford, Macy’s, Perrier and Texas Instruments. At age 89 he is completing a book contract that requires more than 130 full-page, four-color illustrations. He draws a regular monthly magazine home improvement feature and a bi-monthly cartoon for a British publication. What has kept his art fresh is his clean line and flawless sense of design. Although much of Doty’s work was published in black and white, when he has the opportunity to use color, he excels.

    Columbus resident Roy Doty is a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design. Most of the works included in Roy Doty:  Inspired Lines are from his personal collection. All art is Copyright © Roy Doty and used by permission.

    Curated by Lucy Shelton Caswell, Professor Emerita
    The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

  • Dick Tracy: Chester Gould's Blueprint Expressionism Dick Tracy: Chester Gould's Blueprint Expressionism March 2, 2011 - September 2, 2011

    The Reading Room Gallery
    March 2, 2011 – September 2, 2011

    This year marks the 80th anniversary of Chester Gould’s celebrated comic strip, Dick Tracy. From 1931 to 1977, Gould (1900-1985) wrote and drew the popular continuity strip about a tough, intelligent, and incorruptible police detective who battles a parade of increasingly strange and grotesque villains.

    The items in the exhibition were chosen by artist and author Art Spiegelman, a Wexner Center Residency Award recipient, with Jenny Robb, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. According to Spiegelman, Dick Tracy “brought the front-page violence of the prohibition-era tabloids to the back of the newspaper. In today’s blood-soaked entertainment culture it’s hard to realize just how extravagantly brutal the original Dick Tracy must have seemed to its tens of millions of daily readers in the 1930s and 40s. It was The Sopranos of its day, but without the moral ambiguity.”

    Spiegelman’s selections highlight Gould’s unique graphic style. He explains that “Gould coupled the precision of blueprints to the emotional intensity of the German Expressionist art taking place on the other side of the Atlantic… and he created a kind of Blueprint Expressionism.” Spiegelman will discuss Gould and his iconic creation within the greater context of comics’ history on Thursday, May 19 at 4:00 pm in the Wexner Film/Video Theater. See for more information.

    Dick Tracy: Chester Gould’s Blueprint Expressionism is on display from May 2 – August 19, 2011 and includes original comic strip art from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection and vintage newspaper pages and clippings from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection. Examples of knock-offs, spoofs, and homages to Dick Tracy will also be featured including Al Capp’s character Fearless Fosdick, who appeared in L’il Abner.

    About Art Spiegelman: Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his graphic novelMaus.  He also co-founded the avant-garde comics magazine RAW in 1980 and worked as staff artist and writer for the New Yorker from 1993-2003. Recently, McSweeney’s published a collection of his notebooks called Be A Nose and he co-edited A Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics, both released in 2009.  In the fall of 2011, Pantheon will publish Meta Maus, a companion to The Complete Maus. See for more information.

  • A Gallery of Rogues: Cartoonists' Self-caricatures A Gallery of Rogues: Cartoonists' Self-caricatures January 15, 2011 - April 15, 2011

    The Reading Room Gallery
    January 15, 2011 – April 15, 2011

    Mark J. Cohen, 1942-1999, started collecting cartoons when he was fourteen. His interest in self-caricatures by cartoonists grew from the chance discovery of an exhibition catalogue of artists’ self-portraits in a used book store. The collection of cartoonists’ self-caricatures that resulted, thought to be the largest collection of its kind, was bequeathed to The Ohio State University by Cohen.

    For many years, portions of Cohen’s self-caricature collection toured in three different national exhibitions, including one organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. In the introduction to the exhibition catalogue for The Face Behind the Laugh, Cohen wrote, “Some of the cartoonists’ self -caricatures offer an interesting glimpse into how they see themselves relating to their work.” Visitors to this exhibit are encouraged to look carefully to find these connections in the self-caricatures that are displayed. Among the cartoonists whose self-caricatures are included are Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Jim Borgman (Zits), and underground cartoonist R. Crumb.

    The title for this exhibit was provided by Milton Caniff in a letter to Cohen after he had seen an exhibit of the self-caricatures in 1976: “I greatly enjoyed my look at the self-portraits. All of us rogues in one gallery!”

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