Saturday, May 12, through Sunday, August 12
Opening Reception & Curator Talk: Thursday, May 17, 5:30 p.m.
Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA
Things are about to get capitalized and italicized Wild at the Figge Art Museum, as the Davenport venue, from May 12 through August 12, will house the traveling Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak: The Memorial Exhibition – 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons, a showcase for one of America's premiere illustrators and characters from one of the world's best-loved children's books.
Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is the tale of young Max’s journey to a strange and wonderful world – a childhood classic that has been lovingly recited by countless parents since its 1963 publication. Known for a variety of characters and picture books, Sendak initially illustrated other authors’ books before starting to write his own in the 1950s, and the Figge's exhibition celebrates his career through original illustrations as well as drawings made for friends and fans featuring characters from Where the Wild Things Are, Little Bear, and In the Night Kitchen. Theatrical production designs created by Sendak, animation cels, and sketches in a variety of mediums will also be included.
Sendak created a visual language that has captivated generations of children, with his distinctive pen and ink illustrations communicating the offbeat humor present in his writings. Although he sometimes indulged in lighthearted plots, his picture books often have menacing elements: fanged monsters, baby-stealing goblins, and young protagonists placed in dangerous situations. Sendak gave children the opportunity to engage with ethical dilemmas, to feel afraid as well as joyful, and to take part in imaginative play. As he stated, “Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do.”
During his long career Sendak illustrated over 100 children’s books that continue to thrill and fascinate children all over the world, and the 50 artworks in the exhibition will be accompanied by quotes from fellow illustrators, friends, and others, sharing their thoughts on Sendak and the ways in which he inspired them. In the words of Stephen Colbert, “His art gave us a fantastical but un-romanticized reminder of what childhood truly felt like.”
An opening reception for Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak: The Memorial Exhibition – 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons, will be held at 5:30 p.m. on May 17, with the exhibition's Curator Talk beginning at 6:30 p.m., and regular museum hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays) and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information on this and other Figge exhibits, programs, and events, call (563)326-7804 or visit FiggeArtMuseum.org.