THE OCCASION of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation’s Annual Committee Meeting in London gave rise to the perfect excuse to take advantage of the invite to a Chris Beetles Gallery private viewing.
The Americans Are Coming is a major selling exhibition of 300 cartoons and illustrations showcasing the best of American Cartoon Art from the last 100 years. And what a show it was.
There was a staggering number of exhibits by legends such as Al Hirschfeld, David Levine, Edward Sorel and Charles Addams just to name a few.
Live, in person, were Arnold Roth, Pat Oliphant and Edward Koren, each of whom were introduced by cartoonist, filmmaker and ex-Python Terry Gilliam. Pat Oliphant was drawing a large Uncle Sam. When asked if he was enjoying working live he said: “It means I don’t have to make conversation!” A further enquiry about what he thought about the current crop of American cartoonists (with the Daryl Cagle network in mind) prompted the dry: “I try not to think about them at all!”
Terry Gilliam made the very heartfelt point about works of art, paintings, sculptures etc being given pride of place in living rooms whereas cartoon art is always traditionally reserved for toilets. A situation of perception that he wished could be changed. “Cartoon Art belongs in the living rooms” he could be paraphrased as saying.
As usual, the hustle and bustle of a private viewing meant that it was difficult to see everything comfortably, so this exhibition is one that definitely deserves repeated visits.
The exhibition, The Americans Are Coming, runs at The Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 – 10 Ryder Street, London SW1Y 6QB, from now until Saturday May 30th.