Tag: Barbara Shermund

New Exhibits: LATINX COMICS and BARBARA SHERMUND

OhioStateLogoContact: Caitlin McGurk
The Ohio State University
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
1813 N High St.
Columbus OH 43210-1393
614-292-0538
cartoons@osu.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11th, 2018

Upcoming Exhibitions at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

TALES FROM LA VIDA: LATINX COMICS
&
TELL ME A STORY WHERE THE BAD GIRL WINS: THE LIFE AND ART OF BARBARA SHERMUND

November 3, 2018 – March 31, 2019

Latinx comics and magazine cartoonist Barbara Shermund are the subjects of two unique new exhibits opening in November at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

 

TALES FROM LA VIDA: LATINX COMICS:  The Latinx comics community is growing and diversifying—and rapidly. This exhibition features autobiographical short stories situated within the language, culture, and history that inform Latinx identity and life. The work showcases the huge variety of styles and worldviews of today’s Latinx comics creators, including Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Roberta Gregory, Kat Fajardo, and more than 30 others. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the publication of Tales from la Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology, edited by Dr. Frederick Luis Aldama and published by the Ohio State University Press. In the anthology and in the exhibit, we see how Latinx creators challenge our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about the ways we differ and share common ground. And, in each story, we see them using imagery and devices that expand on storytelling conventions of Japanese manga, superhero comics, Latin American fotonovelas, digital and fine arts, and much more. In viewing these narratives together, we wake to the extraordinary ways that these unique and idiosyncratic voices give shape to the story of Latinx diversity in the United States.

The term “Latinx” was chosen to be inclusive to all creators, whether they identify as Latino, Latina, or prefer not to be identified as a specific gender. The “x” also marks the wound of a shared colonized legacy of exploitation and oppression. With pen, ink, paper, tablet, and computer, these authors and artists shed light on what it means to be active participants in and transformers of the culture, history, and society of the Americas.

Curated by Dr. Frederick Luis Aldama, Arts & Humanites Distinguished Professor, and Jenny E. Robb, Curator & Associate Professor.

SAVE THE DATE: Opening Reception and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration! Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, 3:30-5 p.m. Light refreshments, family activities, and a curator’s tour with Dr. Frederick Luis Aldama at 4:30 p.m. Free and open to the public!

 

Barbara Shermund, “Gosh- he loves you more than he does me -” c. 1930s. International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection.

TELL ME A STORY WHERE THE BAD GIRL WINS: THE LIFE AND ART OF BARBARA SHERMUND:  Barbara Shermund is an unheralded early master of gag cartooning. Her sharp wit and loose style boldly tapped the zeitgeist of first-wave feminism with vivid characters that were alive and astute. Shermund’s women spoke their minds about sex, marriage, and society; smoked cigarettes and drank; and poked fun at everything in an era when it was not common to see young women doing so.

In Liza Donnelly’s book Funny Ladies, she writes, “What comes through in many of the cartoons is that Shermund’s women did not need men.”

Born in San Francisco in 1899, Shermund briefly attended the California School of Fine Arts before relocating to New York City. As one of the first women cartoonists to work for The New Yorker after its launch in 1925, she created nine covers and hundreds of cartoons for the magazine. Shermund later became a mainstay at Esquire, contributed to Life and Collier’s, had her syndicated newspaper cartoon Shermund’s Sallies published by King Features, and illustrated a variety of books and advertisements. In 1950, Shermund was among the first three women to be accepted as a member of the male-dominated National Cartoonist Society. She lived a private life and traveled extensively. Without ever having a formal studio space, she preferred drawing at the kitchen table, and should an idea strike her in the middle of the night, she slept with a notepad and pencil under her pillow. Through photographs, letters, original art, and books never before displayed, this exhibition uncovers and celebrates the life and career of this outstanding cartoonist.

Curated by Caitlin McGurk, Associate Curator & Assistant Professor.

EXHIBIT CELEBRATION: Reception and program in early 2019 celebrating the history of women cartoonists at The New Yorker. Details forthcoming, join our mailing list at cartoons.osu.edu for more information

 

About the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum:  The BICLM is one of The Ohio State University Libraries’ special collections. Its primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection of materials documenting American printed cartoon art (editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons) and to provide access to the collections.  The BICLM recently moved into its newly-renovated 30,000 sq. ft. facility that includes a museum with three exhibition galleries, a reading room for researchers and a state-of-the-art collections storage space.   The library reading room is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 5 p.m. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m.  See http://cartoons.osu.edu/ for further information.

Women’s History Month: Barbara Shermund, 1899-1978

My name is Caitlin McGurk, and I love Barbara Shermund.

"I was just thinking Freddie, what would you ever do without me?" Barbara Shermund original. Part of the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

One of the first female cartoonists at The New Yorker, Barbara was one of the most edgy, whimsical, and cutting cartoonists of the past century– yet you have probably never heard of her. It’s as entertaining and exhilirating to go through the Barbara Shermund collection here at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum as it is frusrating- how have we forgotten such a brilliant pioneer of early feminist gag cartoons? A quick google search for Barbara will retrieve a few art auctions of her work, Hilda Terry’s Wikipedia page, some extremely brief single-paragraph biographies, and one lovely but short rememberance by cartoonist Michael Maslin.

Luckily, New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly’s incredible book Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons pays homage to Shermund again and again, and sheds some light on who she was. Letters between Shermund and cartoonist friend Eldon Dedini deconstruct the mystery, and just looking at her originals here at the Cartoon Library tell their own story.

"Evelyn, speak more respecftfully to your father!" "Oh mother, don't be so pre-war!" Barbara Shermund original. Part of the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum(click to enlarge)

Born in San Francisco in 1899, the daughter of a sculptor and an architect, Shermund was encouraged in her talents and attended The California School of Fine Arts. At 26, she moved to New York City where she began working for The New Yorker within its first four months of existence–both writing and drawing cartoons herself in the beginning. Contributing 8 covers for the magazine and hundreds of cartoons, Shermund’s humor was esstential for the times, and she later went on to become a mainstay at Esquire.

Donnelly writes of her, “She drew mostly about the New Woman, demonstrating an understanding of the newfound independence while not being afraid to poke fun at her. Her women were alternately clueless and strong, depending on the cartoon. This was the state of women at the time–some were experimenting, coming out of the home, and speaking their mind. Meanwhile flappers among them showed disdain for an education and just wanted to have fun. What comes through in many of the cartoons is that Shermund’s women did not need men”

With a sense of humor that hits you quick but is hard to pin down throughout the entirety of her career (her work changed quite drastically once she stopped writing her own gags), this transcience seemed to pervade most aspects of her life. Although she arrived in NYC in 1925, Shermund did not have a set address until much later in her life. She was considered the most well-travelled New Yorker cartoonist of the time, constantly taking off for another city or country, or spending her time staying with friends between Manhattan and Woodstock, NY. Without ever having a formal studio space, she preferred drawing at the kitchen table.

As seen in some of the pieces I’ve included in this post, Shermund’s characters were alive and astute. They spoke their mind about sex and marriage, smoked cigarettes and made fun of everything at a time when it was not so proper or common to see young women doing so. She was among the first three women to be seriously considered and eventually accepted as a member of the boys club that was the National Cartoonist Society in 1950. In Hilda Terry’s witty letter to the NCS requesting their admittal (Terry, Shermund, and Edwina Dumm), she suggests that they change their name to the National Men’s Cartoonist Society. Assertive and ambitious while still maintaining a charmingly sly repose, these strong women truly paved the way for their successors- and seemed to have fun doing so.

"Well, I guess women are just human beings after all." Barbara Shermund original. Part of the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

There is still much to uncover about Shermund’s life, and I’d like to thank Liza Donnelly for writing such a glorious and well-researched book that includes a bit of her history. We at the Cartoon Library would love to someday have an exhibit of Shermund’s work,  and if any readers have more information on her we would love for you to share it!

To see a few more of my favorites from her collection of hundreds of originals, you can search for Barbara Shermund by name in our Cartoon Image Database.

-Caitlin McGurk