A unique exhibition shows the art of cartoons and films from your childhood | Arts and theater


If you were born between 1955 and 2000, and maybe even later, a piece of your childhood hangs in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery in Lincoln.

Maybe it’s “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons”, “Scooby-Doo” and “The Powerpuff Girls”, “The Ren and Stimpy Show” and “Beavis and Butthead”, “The Smurfs” or “He- Man and the Masters”. of the Universe” or “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?”

But a piece of one of the cartoons you grew up watching is almost certain to be in the grid of 90 animated cels that is the eye-catching centerpiece of “Building a Narrative: Production Art & Pop Culture,” an exhibition of approximately 150 objects, cels, matte paintings, preparatory drawings and comic book pages drawn from the collection of visual effects artist Trent Claus.

Establishing a nostalgic connection to each visitor’s past is one of the aims of gallery director Emma deVries, who cleverly curated and designed the exhibition.

The other, equally successful aim is to immerse those who come to the Richards Hall Gallery in the world of television and film animation and visual effects and their creation.

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The latter is most easily seen in the exhibit’s cinema room, where a concept painting of the 1950 Disney classic “Cinderella”, concept illustration of “The Iron Giant”, storyboard illustrations of “The Dark Crystal” , “Tron” and “The Thing” and a matte “Star Wars” painting that uniquely shows people exiting the Starship Enterprise hanging on the walls.

On each label is a QR code which, when accessed by a mobile device, displays a short clip from the film where the drawings and paintings come to life in full motion.

The early stages of the process can be seen, including Ralph McQuarrie’s graphite and ink concept drawing for a wing of a Star Wars: Return of the Jedi fighter. One of the most vivid and popular pieces in the exhibit is an example of the artist’s work from the “Star Wars” series that is rarely seen publicly.

In addition to the animation cells, the TV room contains commercial animations for Cap’n Crunch, Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes, as well as a series of original acrylic and airbrush paintings used to create Garbage Pail Kids – part of the pop culture aspect of the exhibition.

Claus, who began collecting when he purchased original comic book artwork as a teenager working at Cosmic Comics, carefully crafted his collection, selecting only cels containing the main characters from the animated series, by choosing a single work by each artist and obtaining iconic film pieces.

The collection, “worth a house” in Claus’ words, has never been exhibited before, with most of the pieces kept in a Los Angeles warehouse.

Claus, who recently returned to Lincoln, donated the collection to UNL’s School of Art, Art History and Design for display, giving back to his alma mater and his hometown. .

“I have a great love for Lincoln and for UNL. And I was really excited to be able to show the work here.

The result is a spectacular exhibition unique to Lincoln and the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery.

“Similar collections are currently on display at the Academy of Museum of Motion Pictures. But to see a group like this, from so many different artists, and especially with the animation cels, from 90 different TV shows is just unheard of,” Claus said. “I don’t think there’s ever been such a show before.”

And Lincolnites, and those who visit, should be delighted to see the best and most entertaining art exhibit the city has had in years.

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Contact the writer at 402-473-7244 or [email protected] On Twitter @KentWolgamott


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