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The Cartoons of John T. McCutcheon: Chronicles of A Changing World
John T. McCutcheon, A Self-Caricature.

CHICAGO.- Cartoonist John T. McCutcheon was such a sharp observer of basic human nature that people still find aspects of themselves in his work, some of which was created over one hundred years ago. As an editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Record and Chicago Tribune newspapers between 1889 and 1946, his drawings chronicled a rapidly changing world. Some of the cartoons in this exhibition show a slice of Chicago life that is no more, while others have a strikingly current relevance, covering topics such as bank failures, anti-war sentiment, and even crooked governors.

The Cartoons of John T. McCutcheon: Chronicles of a Changing World will be on view in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Chicago Rooms from May 30 through August 2, 2009. On Friday, May 29, exhibition curator Tim Samuelson, Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Historian, will lead a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m. followed by an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Additional gallery talks will be held on Thursdays, June 4 and July 9, at 12:15 p.m. Admission to the exhibition and these associated programs is free.

This exhibit demonstrates McCutcheon’s talents as a perceptive artist, author, and social commentator through seldom-seen original ink drawings and representative examples of his published works. One section will feature McCutcheon’s “Bird Center” cartoons created in 1904. This continuing series, reminiscent of today’s graphic novels or even cartoons like The Simpsons, featured a large cast of recurring characters that represented a cross-section of turn-of the-century life. The rest of the exhibition will feature several thematic areas of McCutcheon’s satirical observations.

Known as the “Dean of American Cartoonists”, John T. McCutcheon was born in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and is a graduate of Purdue University, where he edited the school’s first yearbook. After graduating in 1889, he moved to Chicago to work for the Chicago Morning News, later known as the Chicago Record. In 1903, he moved to the Chicago Tribune where he worked as an editorial cartoonist until he retired in 1946. McCutcheon was awarded the 1932 Pulitzer Price for Editorial Cartooning for his work titled “A Wise Economist Asks a Question.”

Also at the Chicago Cultural Center, the exhibit “The Big World: Recent Art from China” is on view at the fourth floor Exhibit Hall and Sidney R. Yates Gallery through August 30, 2009. On exhibit in the Center’s first floor Michigan Avenue Galleries are “Articles of Faith: Photographs by Dave Jordano” through June 28, 2009 and “The Sorrows of Swans: Paintings by Eleanor Spiess-Ferris” and “Look at me: Photographs from Mexico City by Jed Fielding” through July 5, 2009. The Project Onward Gallery will feature “Catherine Whitehead: The Butterfly and the Skull” through June 1, 2009, and “Theolia Norwood: Urban Pastoral” from June 2 through July 13, 2009.

Viewing hours for The Cartoons of John T. McCutcheon: Chronicles of a Changing World and other exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center are Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Chicago Cultural Center is closed on holidays. Admission to Chicago Cultural Center exhibitions is free.

Organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, this exhibition is supported by the Chicago Tribune Foundation and Chicago Tribune.

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