Animation and Illustration at the Frist

No U.S. city can compete with the museums of Manhattan, but this summer, Frist Center for Visual Arts has you covered with two exhibitions you do not want to miss.

Through September 1, Watch Me Move: The Animation Show features over 100 animated works that span the past 120 years of production history.  Because the works are grouped thematically rather than chronologically, viewers are treated to fun juxtapositions like the Lumiere brothers’ The Dancing Skeleton (1897) and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony: Skeleton Dance (1929). The smart pairing shows just how quickly animation developed in the first decades of the 20th century.

There’s plenty for everyone, and I was delighted to see a few children intently studying unexpected films. But they’re not allowed everywhere. This marvelous film by Jan Svankmajer uses clay not only as the medium but incorporates it into the narrative as well.

Give yourself an entire afternoon to wander through this terrific exhibit, but be warned: it does cause a trance-like state. You’ll snap out of it soon when you enter The Elements of Style, Maira Kalman’s playful, quirky, brilliant illustrations of Strunk and White’s classic style guide.  Originally written by Strunk in 1919 and privately published, E.B. White was asked to revise it for general trade in 1957. The newest incantation includes the illustrations of Maira Kalman, showing at the museum through August. The book, beloved by English majors everywhere, is disarmingly witty as the authors prove the most glaring grammar and style faux pas to be painfully obvious. (“Do not dress up words by adding -ly to them, as if putting a hat on a horse.”) Kalman’s drawings are uncomplicated by their whimsy (not an easy task), illustrating single lines–or even single words–from the book. (“Opinions scattered indiscriminately about leave the mark of egotism on a work.“)

Read Laura Hutson’s review of the show here. Image

Caption reads: “Well Susan, this is a fine mess you are in.”

The Frist is located at 919 Broadway. Get the parking validation at the admission counter. $10.


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