Fans of The New Yorker magazine art can revel in the display of original works in the Astor Hall of the public library on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The works will be on view until Jan. 30, making for an enjoyable stop in a holiday shopping trip. There are 115 original works by 71 of the best-known artists. (The New Yorker never calls them cartoonists.) Some of them are no longer with us, but their work is still pleasantly current in the silly, understated way the magazine developed into a separate brand of humor. It was a style that one humorist called ``suitably ridiculous.''
There are magazine covers as well as drawings for the inside pages. Some of them are faded watercolors, but the hesitant humor still comes through.
For cartoonists (excuse me, artists) it's an instructive show.
Here, close up, one can see how far over reproduction size George Price really worked (quite large) and how he achieved his precisely scratchy line.
At close range you can also see the kind of marker Ed Koren uses to get his wild coiffures (an example of his work is at right), and the gloomy wash techniques of Charles Addams.
No one I can remember has been left out, and credit for such inclusiveness goes to the exhibition's curator, Barbara Nicholls. The show illustrates the difficulty of her task, in a way: combining the humor of the 1920s and the 1980s, some drawings nearly wall size, others wallet size. And, of course, real New Yorker aficionados will be looking for a favorite that's been left out.
These originals came from collections around the world. After the New York exhibition is over, the show will travel across the United States on a two-year tour, visiting Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles, among others.
The show will have its final exhibition in London.