Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle on Exhibit

Amherst, MA (August 27, 2012) — For the first time, Eric Carle’s fans will have a chance to see the remarkable variety of paintings, sculptures, and personal sketches that the artist has been making privately for more than 60 years. Best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and more than 70 other picture books, Carle created a significant and varied body of artwork that was never intended for book publication. Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle will open September 30th and run through February 24, 2013 at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Art in Amherst, MA; it will then travel to the Tacoma Art Museum in the spring of 2013. Filmmaker Kate Geis interviewed Carle about his independent art and his influences. The short film she created will accompany the exhibition catalog.
 
“Every day we meet guests drawn here from all over the world because of their love for the iconic work of our founder,” said The Carle’s Executive Director Alexandra Kennedy. “We are delighted to show the other side of Eric’s artistic life. This exhibition reveals the full range of Eric’s talents and imagination, his influences and his experience, giving us all a chance to better understand the man who has been one of the most influential illustrators of our age.” 
Starting with his career as a poster artist in the 1940s and carrying through to the street photographs he is shooting today, the exhibition provides viewers a chance to see what Eric Carle himself calls his “Art Art.” The exhibition will be organized into groups, including early posters and book jackets; linoleum cuts; caricature notes (funny and irreverent hand-drawn notes written to friends and colleagues); and abstract collages. The exhibition will also highlight Carle’s forays into three-dimensional realms, including metal sculptures and painted glass assemblages created in cooperation with his friend, the renowned glass artist Tom Patti, as well as costumes and set designs for The Magic Flute, a staged-concert opera performed by The Springfield Symphony in 2001. The Tacoma Art Museum will also exhibit two large murals painted on Tyvek inspired by the four large murals that have a permanent place in the Museum’s Great Hall.
 
Grace Glueck, former art critic at The New York Times and the author of the exhibition catalog’s essay, writes this about the collages:
 
Naturally, Carle’s abstract collages call for a different reading than do the lively creatures and settings he invents for his children’s books. They are achieved by the same method as his illustrational work, the manipulation of cut out bits and pieces of hand-painted tissue papers, silk fabric, plastic sheets, and even aluminum foil. But rather than being built into recognizable shapes, the snippets are coaxed into compositions of colors ranging from hot to calm, from harmonies to dissonances, in tones that can suggest joyous shouts or delicate whispers.
 
Visitors will see his “Ribbon Candy,” with twisted interwoven painted metal strips. “Kimono I, II, III,” the creative result of a trip to Japan, were each formed by an arrangement of two panels of uncut painted tissue pages, one horizontal the other vertical, mimicking the traditional fashion. “Homages to Morandi I and II” salute the reclusive Italian artist known for his exquisite arrangements of objects and muted palettes. All of the work has been honed by years of experimentation and Carle’s enviable gift for color.
 
Support for Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle has been generously provided by Peter and Helen Bing. Support for the Eric Carle film was provided by Les and Zora Charles. To order an exhibition catalog, which includes the video interview as a DVD, please go to www.carlemuseum.org/shop.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM
The mission for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading in young children. The only full-scale museum of its kind in the United States, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.
 
Eric and Barbara Carle founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 40,000-foot facility has served more than half a million visitors, including 30,000 schoolchildren. Its extensive resources include a collection of more than 10,000 picture book illustrations, three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. . Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call 413-658-1100 or visit the Museum’s website at www.carlemuseum.org.

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