Jewish Contemporary Museum Visit - Roz Chast

As do most writers, I have a lot of friends who practice other arts – music, painting, theater, and in future blogs I’m going to tell you about some of these remarkable people and expose you to some great work you’ve probably never seen. 

But first – I just have to share with you my experience seeing the Roz Chast show at the Jewish Contemporary Museum (CJM) in San Francisco. I’ve been a huge fan of hers for 20 years at least but only was able to enjoy her work in The New Yorker Magazine and some of her other publications – but never up close and personal.  Truly one of the funniest commentators on contempory urban life, this was an experience not to be missed.  So if you couldn’t make it SF I want you to get a little idea of what the exhibit was all about.

Here goes!

Roz Chast - Author, Illustrator, Artist

Roz Chast - Author, Illustrator, Artist

The exhibit took place on the upper level of the museum, which is its main exhibit space.  If you’ve not been to building, it’s a work of art itself, especially with the Libeskind addition. Anyway, as soon as you walk in to the exhibit, you are blown away.  Now, I specifically aked if I could take photos, and the usher said I could – so there is no cheating here.  Enjoy: 

The Wall on the way up to the exhibit

The Wall on the way up to the exhibit

Opening image before the exhibit entrance

Opening image before the exhibit entrance

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The exhibit was designed with no clear trajectory as to the path you were meant to follow.  Kind of like wandering through Roz’s mind, I guess. Works, however, were organized into sections along the walls. The first part of the exhibit contained Chast’s illustrations from The New Yorker Magazine as well as other publications:

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The Birth of Venus (2014) - Cover Illustration for The New Yorker August 4, 2014 Roz Chast - CJM

The Birth of Venus (2014) - Cover Illustration for The New Yorker

August 4, 2014

Roz Chast - CJM

The Steel Chef (2003) - Bon Appetit September 2003 Roz Chast - CJM Along another wall there was a strip dedicated to Chast’s book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” This graphic novel discusses Chast’s experience with end-of-life moments she shared with her parents. It is simultaneously dark and hilarious.  Which is pretty much true of all her work, and some of mine as well.  Anyone who has lost anyone – or who may lose someone (oh wait, that’s all of us) should read it.   

The Steel Chef (2003) - Bon Appetit

September 2003

Roz Chast - CJM

Along another wall there was a strip dedicated to Chast’s book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” This graphic novel discusses Chast’s experience with end-of-life moments she shared with her parents. It is simultaneously dark and hilarious.  Which is pretty much true of all her work, and some of mine as well.  Anyone who has lost anyone – or who may lose someone (oh wait, that’s all of us) should read it. 

 

Along another wall there was a strip dedicated to Chast’s book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” This graphic novel discusses Chast’s experience with end-of-life moments she shared with her parents. It is simultaneously dark and hilarious.  Which is pretty much true of all her work, and some of mine as well.  Anyone who has lost anyone – or who may lose someone (oh wait, that’s all of us) should read it. 

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Some of the other really cool things in the show included:

A couch placed in front of an illustrated wall where people could sit beneath thought/speech bubbles and emulate the characters in the illustration.

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A room with cut out cardboard sculptures of Chast’s caricatures: 

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A small (created) space dedicated to the A to Z of everything Chast hates: 

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There were many more thought provoking and hysterical illustrations but unfortunately I couldn’t take pitcures of them all – but I hope you got a taste at least of the joy of seeing Roz Chast’s work up close and personal.

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And be sure to check back for the second round of my trip to the CJM when I’ll share some an incredible exhibit called “The 613” by Archie Rand and also, as promised, some insights from other artists and writers I’m lucky enought to know personally.

Be well & stay safe to all!