In a career that spans a half-century and is still going strong, Jules Feiffer has chronicled his life and times in comic strips, books, plays and films. Combining words and pictures, representing the perspectives of both children and adults, this multi-talented artist has created a particularly urban, generally anxious, occasionally angry and always perceptive vision of contemporary life.
Julz Rulz explores the genesis, maturation and versatility of Feiffer's caustic imagination in the context of the aesthetic, political, social and personal influences that have transformed his satirical outlook on 20th century urban culture. Although there have been periodic efforts to showcase aspects of Feiffer's oeuvre, no integrated, interdisciplinary exhibition survey of Feiffer's art has yet been organized in New York or elsewhere. Julz Rulz will investigate the full complexity of Feiffer's creative legacy and the manner in which he manages to periodically reinvent himself to reach new audiences (as will be illustrated by the inclusion of a substantial amount of Feiffer's new work).
Through his stories and illustrations for children, Feiffer is developing a whole new generation of fans. Appealing to a child's sense of humor and empathizing with childish schemes and longings, he is introducing young readers to his offbeat humor, fanciful plots and delightful drawings. Unrestricted access to Feiffer's private collection of art and papers ensures a comprehensive survey of a broad-ranging body of work.
In conjunction with Julz Rulz, the Society will present Feiffer's Family Tree, an exhibition of the many cartoons and comic strips which Mr. Feiffer has cited as influential to his own work. Curated by exhibition consultant Ann Weissman, the exhibition will include: 19th century political and social cartoons, such as those of Thomas Nast, and many items related to the character of the "Yellow Kid"; early 20th century sheet music featuring popular cartoon characters such as Popeye, Barney Google and Little Orphan Annie; and original comic strip drawings 1935–1936, donated to the Historical Society by King Features, including such well-known figures as Barney Google, Popeye, Krazy Kat and Flash Gordon. Feiffer's Family Tree will be on view February 4 through June 1, 2003.