On the Spot: Barry Blitt Exhibit in Roxbury, CT


“Thirty or Forty Scratchy Drawings of American Presidents by Barry Blitt,” an art exhibition on display at the Minor Memorial Library, in Roxbury, Conn., comprises some of the cartoonist-illustrator’s best editorial work involving politics, a central theme in his oeuvre. And while “scratchy” is probably not the first word most people would use to describe these finished renderings, the show's tongue-in-cheek name nods to the artist's approach—depicting serious world leaders and their issues as the absurd, storybook-worthy characters and dramas they often appear to be.

 

For those unacquainted, Mr. Blitt, 56, is a Canadian-born American artist whose work is regularly published in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, among others. Fans of Saturday Night Live might recognize his animation design that appears in several episodes.

 

Most of the pieces hanging on the library’s gallery walls—for the record: there are 46 works in all—are composed in pen, ink and watercolor. A vast majority are also up for sale, with modest prices ranging from $200 (for a 5” x 3” portrait of an emaciated Abe Lincoln and a 6 1/4" x 4" piece entitled Clinton Sax, respectively) to $2,500 (for a 11” x 4 3/4” riff on Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam; in Mr. Blitt’s version, initially made for The New Yorker, President Obama assumes Adam’s place, and instead of reaching to touch fingers, the two figures fist bump).

 

The Minor Memorial Library is a fitting, if somewhat far-flung, location for an exhibition by Mr. Blitt, a resident of Roxbury—the quiet, leafy town with a population of 2,000 or so in the hills of Litchfield County, about 90 miles by car from New York City.

 

“Thirty or Forty Scratchy Drawings of American Presidents by Barry Blitt” is showing through September 13, 2014. For more information, please visit www.minormemoriallibrary.org or call the library at 860.350.2181.