By Jim Israel
A world away from the imperious, gilded art galleries that predominate a bejeweled Manhattan, Park Slope’s 440 Gallery, owned and operated by a collective of 14 artists, continues to host substantial, interesting shows.
The current display, which ends this coming Sunday, July 22, is no exception: focused solely on children’s book illustrations, the exhibition, From Mice to Monsters: Illustrations for Children, is 440 Gallery’s annual juried show.
A ‘juried’ exhibition, in the case of 440 Gallery, means hiring an independent ‘juror’, someone naturally well-known in a particular genre, and then ceding to that individual complete control over who and what is represented in the exhibition.
In this case, the judge selected by the gallery collective was Buket Erdogan, who’s illustrated books for a number of publishers, including Simon and Schuster, and is the author of the ‘Mouse’s First’ series, three of which were New York Times best sellers.
Initially, 200 prospective artists each submitted 3 pieces, from which Ms. Erdogan ultimately made her selections. Forty-one artists, and 69 illustrations, are exhibited at the show.
This writer, an enthusiast of illustration art and for whom the late David Levine, the great political caricaturist, was a favorite , recently visited ‘440’ and was delightfully entertained by the eclectic collection of works displayed. It’ll certainly entertain children, that’s for sure. For a taste of what’s offered, here are some representative titles present in the show: The Great Bear and the Little Bear; Baby Penguins Everywhere; Bunny on Water; Feet Pajamas, and O is for Ostrich.
And, the gallery was ingenious in its installation of the show: many pieces in the show are hung very low so visiting children can more easily observe them.
Unfortunately, the show ends at the end of this week, Sunday, July 22. On that last day, though, the gallery will be putting on a host of activities for children [5 and older]: at 4:40 pm, Melissa Guion, author of Baby Penguins Everywhere!, will teach drawing and painting penguins to the kids, and will brings real penguin images to refer to.
Bill Zemon, an illustrator in the show, will demonstrate watercolor techniques, and help children paint their favorite creatures. That’s at 5:30. And, at 6:15, the author of Tumpsy’s Time Travel will read from that book.
So, take a stroll over with the kids. They’ll be entertained, and perhaps begin to appreciate art.
440 Gallery hours: Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun : 4:00-7:00
One final note: Upcoming show: Brooklyn Seen, paintings by Ella Yang, Sept 6 – Oct 14, 2012. Artist Reception: September 21, 6:00-9:00. [I’ll be reviewing it on ParkSlope.com]