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Peter Steiner's "Portraits & Self-Portraits" opens ; Hit-and-Run Review: "From The New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig"

"Portraits & Self-Portraits": an exhibition of Peter Steiner's paintings opened this weekend at the Hotchkiss School's Tremaine Gallery. From the exhibit's brochure, Steiner speaks of his work: "I began painting portraits in 2005. The first one, a self-portrait, turned out to be more successful -- both as a likeness and as a painting -- than I dared hope. I began taking digital photos of family, friends, and acquaintances. I printed them and taped them to the top of my easel. I painted with acrylics on stretched canvas and later on fabric remnants. When I finished painting I turned it to the wall. I wanted each painting to be different from the other." The exhibit runs through February 2nd. Further information: http://www.hotchkiss.org/

Hit-and-Run Review: "From The New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig" at The Jewish Museum,( Fifth Ave. & 92nd St., NYC). A terrific show, worthy of all the high praise it's received in the press. Sketchbooks, book dummies, unpublished New Yorker covers, published works, a Helen Hokinson drawing based on a Steig idea, plenty of Shrek, letters, a rare self-portrait -- all are beautifully and thoughtfully exhibited. A personal favorite: a room decorated as a Steig drawing come to life in which visitors ( and not neccessarily visiting children) are invited to sit down on the floor with a Steig childrens' book and take a break. A short looping documentary film is a must see, especially for the funny moment when Steig is shown drawing. His technical pen clogs and we see Steig lift the pen and give it a good shake -- one of the little movements and moments most every cartoonist experiences on a daily basis.

The only downside to the exhibit is a wall plaque asserting that Steig, who began contributing to the magazine in 1930, was the first New Yorker cartoonist to write his own ideas. Historians of The New Yorker cartoon will readily recall that far more than a handful of cartoonists who wrote their own captions preceeded Steig at The New Yorker. Here're but three marquee names who wrote their own captions: Barbara Shermund, who began contributing in 1925, Alan Dunn, who began contributing in 1926, Peter Arno, who first contributed in 1925, and Mary Petty who began contributing in 1927.




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