Past Exhibits

  • Columbus Cartoonists: A Bicentennial Celebration Columbus Cartoonists: A Bicentennial Celebration 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 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.

  • Dick Tracy: Chester Gould's Blueprint Expressionism Dick Tracy: Chester Gould's Blueprint Expressionism 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.”

  • A Gallery of Rogues: Cartoonists' Self-caricatures A Gallery of Rogues: Cartoonists' Self-caricatures 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!”

  • Let the Games Begin: A Century of Sports Cartoons Let the Games Begin: A Century of Sports Cartoons January 15, 2011 - April 9, 2011

    More than 50 sports cartoons will be on display as part of the exhibition Let the Games Begin:  A Century of Sports Cartoons.  The exhibition features original drawings by some of the most prolific and influential cartoon artists of the past century and includes likenesses of a wide variety of sports figures including Jack Dempsey, Dizzy Dean, Ted Williams, Willie Shoemaker, as well Ohio State athletics.

    Editorial cartoons have a long history but the sports cartoon, as we know it now, evolved as a fixture on the sports page as athletic endeavors became more and more of a ubiquitous form of popular entertainment.  Before television and higher-speed photography, sports cartoons were an important way for a commentator to communicate to the public the personalities on the field or to sum up an achievement or brewing controversy.

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