Friday, March 24, 2017

Oh the thinks you can think!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

Currently on exhibit at the Upcountry History Museum (UHM) - The Art of Dr. Seuss: A Retrospective and National Touring Exhibition. The exhibit opened in January and will be at the UHM until May 21st. With illustrations, cartoons, advertisements, propaganda, children’s books, poems, sculptures and other art on display, visitors can truly appreciate the versatility and ingenuity of Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Tray advertisement for Narragansett Beer Company by Dr. Seuss

The exhibit spans a century of Dr. Seuss, beginning with examples of his early work, continuing with his foray into advertising and wartime propaganda, and featuring books that are childhood favorites to this day: The Cat in the Hat and Yertle the Turtle, and later works such as The Lorax and Oh, the Places You’ll Go.

Dr. Seuss artwork: Green Eggs and Ham, Yertle the Turtle

The collection includes estate authorized artworks adapted and reproduced from Dr. Seuss’s original paintings, drawings, and sculpture, as well as materials and imagery from public & private collections: the University of California San Diego archives, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and the Dr. Seuss Estate.

Mrs. Norilee Schneelock Poured, Miss Nesselroda Sugared, or Raising Money for the Arts in La Jolla - Dr. Seuss

While the boys found the familiar drawings of their favorite characters most appealing, I was drawn to the “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss”, images covering the 1920s all the way to the 1990s that utilized the entire spectrum of color, showing a more-sophisticated side of Dr. Seuss that I had never seen.

Thunderbird - Dr. Seuss

Special mention also goes to the “Unorthodox Taxidermy” collection. With the help of his father, superintendent of the Springfield Zoo, animals that had met their demise lived on as their bills, horns, and antlers were shipped to the artist’s NYC apartment to become beaks and headdresses on 17 bizarre sculptures such as the Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian Wolghast and Sea-Going Dilemma Fish.

Sea-Going Dilemma Fish, reproduction of Dr. Seuss original

If you have young children/toddlers accompanying you that aren’t as interested in the hands-off portion of the exhibit, they will surely enjoy taking a seat at the children’s tables. Featuring some of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved books, memory games & puzzles with his artwork, and a stuffed animal or two to cuddle, the young and young-at-heart will also enjoy their time in Seuss-land. Make sure to stop at the gift shop on your way out for some play-time in the treehouse near the window; the playful angles and colors seem to belong on Mulberry Street…

Children's table with "Secret Art" in the background

The Upcountry History Museum is the final stop on the Dr. Seuss exhibition tour. Coming soon; the Curious George: Let's Get Curious! exhibit opens June 3rd. For more on current and upcoming exhibits, as well as Museum hours and admission, please visit the Upcountry History Museum website.

“From here on earth, from my small place, I ask of You way out in space: Please tell all men in every land | what You and I both understand. Please tell all men that peace is good. That's all that need be understood | in every world in Your great sky. We understand. Both You and I.” A Prayer for a Child, Dr. Seuss

While at UHM, make sure to also visit the Ansel Adams traveling exhibit on the second floor, “Distance and Detail.” The 29 photographs include themes we see often in Adams’s work : dunes, lakes, leaves, sunlight. The black-and-white images are predominantly from the states where Adams shot his most famous pieces - California, Arizona, New Mexico and Alaska – and include shots from Yosemite National Park that are from the early part of his career. Ansel Adams: Distance and Detail will be on display through June 4th.

While some might find Dr. Seuss and Ansel Adams on the opposite ends of the artist’s spectrum, I saw a correlation between the two that struck me as appropriate as Earth Day approaches. While Ansel Adams was a leader in the fight for preservation of some of our most beloved natural places using photographs as a powerful tool, Dr. Seuss has inspired a generation of environmentalists with his pen through the cautionary tale of The Lorax.  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

1 comment:

  1. Every time we ride by the museum, Cal points out the Cat in the Hat and wants to go. Glad you went and reported on it because I was fearful of taking him and it be all 'adult' material and nothing for kids!!


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