A lot of speculation floats around the legend that is Dr. Seuss. How he allegedly experienced a downright displeasure around kids; how the power-hungry protagonist of Yertle the Turtle was based on Hitler; and then there are the slew of fake quotes that circulate online, second only in volume to Abraham Lincoln.
One thing, however, is for sure: His work is posthumously defended to a T, and if anyone anywhere hints at copyright infringement, legal action shall be put in motion. Local gallerists Mike McDowell and Sharla Throckmorton-McDowell learned this first-hand when they announced a tribute exhibit titled Oh, the Places You'll Go! A cease-and-desist letter and some ingenuity later, the show now dubbed OH! A Seussian Tribute is set to unveil on Friday.
There are no hard feelings, Throckmorton-McDowell says, just killer art.
"The idea behind this tribute was really to mix up a bunch of his styles of work with the inspired pieces by living artists," she says, making her way through the installation. A "puckish sense of humor" was needed for the ladder, she explains. "I think that's really reflective in the work. Some of [the artists] stayed really true to the form and some did complete departures, like Joel Nakamura."
"Dr. Seuss was the master of imagination," Nakamura tells SFR. "Creating new worlds of funny creatures, buildings, plants, all wonderfully bizarre butmaking sense; his creations speak to generations of youth and remain timeless."
Along with Santa Fe-based Nakamura, Ana Rivera, Bunny Tobias, Phresha Le Vandale, Kristen Margiotta and eight others pay homage to the Springfield, Mass.-born author.
Under the iconic pseudonym, Theodor Seuss Geisel penned 46 books—perennials like The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who! and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish—that became instant staples of American childhood and lined the shelves at dentist's offices far and wide. One hundred and eleven years after his birth, his message Throckmorton-McDowell points out, is stronger than ever.
"Who hasn't been inspired by Dr. Seuss? Is the bottom line, and for all of those millions of people that think they know him because they've read Oh, the Places You'll Go! or any of the children's books, they really don't know about his personal and private work."
Along with the tribute pieces, production art from the making of 1966's How the Grinch Stole Christmas as well as some Dr. Seuss originals are peppered in the show.
"One of the interesting things is that when you get into the books, they're very politically and environmentally charged," Throckmorton-McDowell says about Seuss' indelibility. "He's written them in such a way that they engage children, but as you become older and you start really understanding what you're reading, which my 10-year-old is doing now—he's going back to the books and saying, 'Wow, look at what The Lorax is really all about.'"
Nakamura notes his influence succinctly: "Dr. Seuss taught me it is OK to be weird. It is OK to try something different and his creations continue to be an inspiration."
5-7 pm Friday, March 13
125 Lincoln Ave.,