Opening reception: April 6, 6–8 pm.
In collaboration with Emma Allen, Cartoon Editor and Daily Shouts Editor at The New Yorker, Picture Room presents an exhibition of work by four of our favourite New Yorker Cartoonists: Hallie Bateman, Roz Chast, Glynnis Fawkes, and Emily Flake. Taking the theme of parenthood as a starting place, the show reveals the humour, complexity, sweetness and strangeness of the parent-child dynamic. A selection of original work from each artist, including sketchbook pages, New Yorker drafts, and pages from various esteemed publications, will be exhibited.
Emma Allen writes:
“When I was in high school, The New Yorker published a formative (for me) cartoon by Roz Chast with the phrase ‘WHEN MOMS DANCE’ across the top. Below, a teen girl sits on a couch, homework in her lap, and stares, aghast, at her shimmying, boogieing mother. "Stop," she begs. "You're hurting me." This was promptly clipped from the magazine and tacked to my kitchen cork-board—a kind of publicly posted peace treaty between my mother and me. A reminder that, if we managed not to kill each other before I headed off to college, we'd laugh at all this, eventually. Puberty plus time famously equals comedy, after all.
Later, as Cartoon Editor of The New Yorker, I learned that this scene had actually gone down between Roz and her kid. Not a huge surprise—the roles of mother and daughter, in my experience, are rife with comedic potential. And for whom more so than cartoonists and comic artists, whose job it is to mine the minutiae of everyday life, to find fodder in their relationships, in snippets of dialogue? Art about being a mother or a daughter has so often been relegated to the margins of any highbrow canon—it's incidental, it's women's work. But the incidental is the bread and butter of cartoonists, who are gimlet-eyed anthropologists, hoarders of poignant detail.
The works in this show are not all knee-slappers because, of course, there's a whole messy miasma of feelings that comes with spawning someone or being someone's spawn. There's the door-slamming frustration, the crippling fear, the cringing disgust, and even, sometimes, the searing love. One thing's for certain, though—if you're not throwing laughter into that mix, someone's going to get hurt.”
Roz Chast’s When Moms Dance cartoon serves as a benchmark for the show, capturing the nuanced interactions between parent and child that can lead to laughter, or tears. Roz Chast is a New Yorker cartoonist who first drew for the magazine in 1978. Known for her wide illustrative range, which spans from gag strips to children’s literature, Chast has received equally diverse honors, including the Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities (2015), the National Book Critics’ Circle award for Autobiography (2014), and the New York City Literary Honor for Humor (2012). We will be showing three original cartoons by Chast, as well as a special textile work.
Also in the exhibition will be original gouache works from Hallie Bateman’s upcoming publication, What to Do When I'm Gone: A Mother's Wisdom to Her Daughter, which is launching the same week as Oh, Mother. The book serves as a premeditated how-to for Hallie when her mother, Suzy Hopkins passes away. Written by Hopkins and illustrated by Bateman, the publication masterfully combines heart-wrenchingly poignant moments, with matter of fact logistics and humour. Hallie Bateman’s drawings and writings have appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 2015, and are also published in such venues as The New York Times Magazine, The Awl, and Hyperallergic. On April 10th, Hallie and Suzy will join Emma Allen for a conversation here at Picture Room, to coincide with the book’s launch.
The show will also include original sketchbook pages and cartoons from Glynnis Fawkes' books Reign Of Crumbs and Greek Diary. Glynnis Fawkes is a cartoonist and archaeological illustrator living in Burlington, Vermont. Her Ignatz Award-nominated comics about her children’s daily exploits have appeared in The New Yorker since 2017. They also appear regularly on MuthaMagazine.com and are collected in Reign of Crumbs, published by Kilgore Books in 2017.
To complete the collection, we will present a series of cartoons by Emily Flake, published by The New Yorker. Emily Flake is a cartoonist, illustrator, and the creator of Lulu Eightball, a weekly strip that has run in alt-weeklies since 2002. She began drawing for The New Yorker in 2008 and has since published over a hundred cartoons in the magazine. Flake’s illustrations and cartoons have also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MAD Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Newsweek, and The Nation, among other publications.