Traveling Exhibition Explores the Work of Maurice Sendak
"In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak," a national traveling exhibit, will be at the Oak Park Public Library from October 26 until December 16, 2011. This exhibit, which combines art and words, reveals the push and pull of New and Old Worlds in Sendak's work and shows how Sendak's artistic journey led him deeper into his own family's history and his Jewish identity. This special exhibit will be open at the Main Library (834 Lake Street) seven days a week during regular library hours.
Maurice Sendak is best known as the illustrator of more than 100 picture books including Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. He was born to Polish immigrants in Brooklyn in 1928, and his childhood was typically American in a number of ways. At the same time, he became fascinated as a child with the worn black-and-white photographs of his European relatives, and the influence of both of these worlds - the threads of Jewish family, geography, and culture - can be seen in his imaginative works.
"In a Nutshell" is an exploration of Sendak's illustrations and picture books, revealing connections between these iconic works and Sendak's childhood, family, and the popular culture of the time. The colorful exhibit panels feature illustrations of ferocious creatures, curious children, and vibrant neighborhoods, alongside thematic explorations of the Jewish culture and history and Sendak's own family experience.
"We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition," said Deirdre Brennan, Executive Director of the Oak Park Public Library. "A study of Sendak's work proves that his illustrations and stories aren't just for children. He explores immigration, urban life, nostalgia, the New World versus the Old World, even the legacy of the Holocaust, weaving these seemingly adult themes into his imaginative and playful illustrations. Our Library is thrilled to host this exhibition and present a more thorough look at the life of a talented author and illustrator beloved by fans young and old."
"In a Nutshell" was organized by the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia, and developed by Nextbook, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture, and ideas, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The national tour of the exhibit has been made possible by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, and an anonymous donor, with additional support from Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life. The exhibit was curated by Patrick Rodgers of the Rosenbach Museum & Library.
The Oak Park Public Library will host a series of programs including a Wild Rumpus opening reception and costume party October 27; award-winning storyteller Syd Lieberman November 3, a film series titled "Hollywood Looks at The Jewish Experience in America" which begins November 7, the Mameloshn Yiddish Folk Singers on December 11, and more.
See the complete list of related events at www.oppl.org/sendak/.