(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – The work of New Yorker cartoonist and award-winning graphic memoirist Roz Chast is featured in “Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs,” a new exhibition on view at Norman Rockwell Museum from Saturday, June 6, 2015, through October 26, 2015. From her timelessly funny cartoons for the New Yorker and lively children’s picture books, to her intricately painted pysanka eggs and hand-made textiles, “Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs” will feature artworks representing the breadth of Chast’s entire artistic career. A special summer gala and exhibition opening will be held on Saturday, June 6, from 6 to 11pm, with the artist in attendance.
A highlight of the exhibition will be nearly 120 original drawings from her award-winning memoir, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” which tackles the sensitive subject of caring for the elderly, with thoughtful insight and humor. During the run of the exhibition, the museum will offer a forum to explore this difficult topic through Chast’s remarkable visual material, in addition to related programming.
Over the past 37 years, readers of the New Yorker have been enjoying cartoonist Roz Chast’s signature style and wit. In her humorously poignant 2014 graphic memoir, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?,” Chast delved into her personal life, chronicling her experiences dealing with the needs of her aging parents, and examining the nature of her relationship with them. The book, her first memoir, won “best autobiography” from the National Book Critics Circle, as well as recognition as a National Book Award finalist for non-fiction and “outstanding cartoonist of the year” from the National Cartoonists Society. Most recently, she received the prestigious Heinz Award for her “uncompromising” vision and creativity.
“We are thrilled to be able to share Roz Chast’s work with our visitors,” notes Norman Rockwell Museum deputy director/chief curator Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, who curated the exhibition. “’Cartoon Memoirs’ will reveal the full range of Chast’s talents as a cartoonist, visual storyteller, and observer of the world around her.”
“The art of Norman Rockwell and other illustration masters helps reflect and define who we are as a people,” adds Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO, Laurie Norton Moffatt. “Roz Chast’s artwork reminds us, with humor, of our frailties and vulnerabilities, as Rockwell often did.”
“I don’t know what it’s like for other people, but I love seeing original artworks that have been reproduced in books and magazines,” notes Chast. “It’s a total thrill because you can see the scale that the person is working, you can see the paper that they worked on, and you can see their mistakes and patches. I remember seeing the drawings of Charles Addams, and it’s just like seeing a movie star. I just love the cartooning medium. It’s about storytelling and making other people laugh, which is really important to me.”
Artist Roz Chast has loved to draw cartoons since she was a child growing up in Brooklyn. She attended Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Painting, but returned to cartooning after graduating. Since 1978,. Chast has worked as a regular cartoonist for the New Yorker, which has published over 800 of her cartoons. She previously worked for the Village Voice and National Lampoon, and her work can also be seen in such publications as Scientific American, Harvard Business Review, Redbook, and Mother Jones.
Chast has written or illustrated more than a dozen books, including “What I Hate;” “A Friend for Marco;” “Too Busy Marco;” “Theories of Everything;” “The Party, After You Left;” “ hildproof;” “Mondo Boxo;” “Proof of Life on Earth;” “The Four Elements;” “Parallel Universes;” “Unscientific Americans;” “Poems and Songs;” and “Last Resorts.” In 2006, “Theories of Everything: Selected Collected and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978–2006” was published, collecting most of her cartoons from “The New Yorker” and other periodicals. She also illustrated “The Alphabet from A to Y, with Bonus Letter, Z,” the best-selling children’s book by Steve Martin.
Released in 2014, Chast’s award-winning bestseller, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” is a graphic memoir, combining cartoons, text, and photographs to tell the story of an only child helping her elderly parents navigate the end of their lives.
Chast lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut, with her husband Bill, and two pet parakeets.
Selected Exhibition-Related Events
Summer Gala & Exhibition Premiere
Saturday, June 6, 6 to 11 p.m.
Celebrate the art of award-winning New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, whose humorously poignant graphic memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” was a 2014 National Book Award Finalist for Non-Fiction. In addition to this critically acclaimed work, the exhibition features original drawing and paintings reflecting the full range of Chast’s abilities as visual storyteller, from her “New Yorker” cartoons and book illustrations to hand-painted eggs, hooked rugs, and personal mementos spanning her life and career.
The evening will include remarks by Roz Chast, as well as cocktails, dinner, dessert, a live auction, and dancing to the sounds of Sister City Jazz Ambassadors. Norman Rockwell Museum will also honor Museum Trustees Anne Morgan, Thomas L. Pulling, and Mark Selkowitz for their years of vision and dedication.
For more information, call the Museum at 413.931.2264.
Tickle Your Funny Bone! Exploring Comics and Cartoons
Saturday, June 27, 1 to 5 p.m.
Explore the uproarious comic art of illustrator Roz Chast and create comics of your own inspired by everyday people and events. Hands-on art making, tours, and performances will bring the art of humor to life. Free with Museum admission; members free.
Thursday Evening Lecture and Performance Series
Comic Relief: Art, Life, and Laughter
Thursdays July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; August 6, 13, 20, 27
Enjoy this engaging series or talks, performances, and wellness experiences inspired by the art of Norman Rockwell and Roz Chast, whose humorous perspectives on the world around us offer refreshing takes on life’s little challenges. Free with Museum admission; reservations recommended.
Program highlights include:
Norman Rockwell’s Humor from the Heart:
An Evening with Curator of Exhibitions Jesse Kowalski
Thursday, July 2, 5:30 p.m.
Cartoon Memoirs: An Evening with Cartoonist Roz Chast
Thursday, July 9, 5:30 p.m.
Funny Business: An Evening with Cartoonist Liza Donnelly
Thursday, July 16, 5:30 p.m.
You Must Be Kidding:
Cartoonists Making Children’s Books with Author Leonard Marcus
Thursday, July 23, 5:30 p.m.
Reinventing Rockwell and Other Projects:
An Evening with Maurice “Pops” Peterson
Thursday, July 30, 5:30 p.m.
StorySlam with Ben Cunningham, Norah Dooley, and Tony Toledo
Thursday, August 6, 5:30 p.m.
The Restorative Powers of Art and Yoga:
An Intergenerational Workshop with India Clark
Thursday, August 13, 5:30 p.m.
What’s In Your Closet?
Appraising Art and Antiques with Charles Flint, Charles L. Flint Antiques
Thursday, August 20, 5:30 p.m.
Wit and Wisdom: An A Cappella Evening with Quintessential
Thursday, August 27, 5:30 p.m.
Weeklong Comics Workshop
Creative Cartooning with Illustrator Scott Lincoln
Monday through Friday, July 13 through 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Develop your own story lines by learning the techniques of character design, storyboarding, and sequential image making by using words and pictures to create a visual narrative. Dynamic cartoonist and animator Scott Lincoln is the creator of “Ralf the Destroyer,” a long-running cartoon strip, and has taught aspiring artists at the Guy Gilchrist Cartoon Academy.
For children/teens ages 10 and up. $175, $150 members. Extended day from 3 to 5 p.m., $50 per week. Materials provided. Please bring lunch, we’ll provide beverages and snacks.
Family Festival Day
Saturday, July 18, 1 to 4 p.m.
Explore the art of storytelling in pictures during this activity-filled day. Talks and workshops with noted cartoonists, family gallery tours, and more will tickle your funny bone. Members free, free with Museum admission.
FOUR FREEDOMS FORUM
Aging in America: Attitudes and Access
Thursday, September 24, 5:30 p.m.
The dramatic increase in life expectancy in the United States and all other developed nations is one of the greatest cultural and scientific advances in our history. Are we prepared to address the challenges resulting from generational change and the need for access to differentiated care? Inspired by Roz Chast’s graphic memoir, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” focusing on the relationship with her aging parents, this program will feature commentary by experts in the field and encourage community discourse. A reception will follow. Free.
About Norman Rockwell Museum
Norman Rockwell Museum is the preeminent museum of American illustration art. Dedicated to art education and art appreciation inspired by the enduring legacy of Norman Rockwell, the Museum stewards the world’s largest and most significant collection of Rockwell art, and presents the works of contemporary and past masters of illustration. The Museum’s holdings also include Rockwell’s last studio, moved from its original location to the Museum grounds, and the Norman Rockwell Archives, a 200,000-object collection undergoing digital preservation through ProjectNORMAN, “A Save America’s Treasures Project.” The Museum is home to the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, the nation’s first research institute devoted to the art of illustration. In 2008, Norman Rockwell Museum became the first-ever museum recipient of the National Humanities Medal, America’s highest honor in the field.
Norman Rockwell Museum is located on 36 park-like acres in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Rockwell’s hometown for the last 25 years of his life. The Museum is open year-round; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. From May through October, hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; from November through April, hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays during the month of August. Rockwell’s studio is open May through October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum admission is $18, $17 for seniors, $10 for students, $6 for kids and teens 6 to 18, and free for Museum members and children 5 and under.