Gothamist must admit that we were one of those pasty, sun-deprived toddlers who merrily shunned the joys of sportsmanship and early childhood socialization for the more solitary pleasures of pop-up books and cartoon fantasy lands. To this day, the mere glimpse of a page from one of our favorite children's books will stop us in our tracks even faster than a shiny object, compelling us to re-read the book in question immediately.
Foremost among these regressive treasures are the books of Maurice Sendak, which is why we were particularly delighted to learn about The Jewish Museum's current exhibition "Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak." Not only does this exhibit give us the chance to revisit some of our favorite childhood illustrations, but it also offers an excellent opportunity to become better acquainted with the rest of Sendak's art and its distinctive take on both American popular culture and the Eastern European Jewish legacy. Sendak is most well know for his award winning children's books "Where The Wild Things Are" and "In The Night Kitchen," however he has worked on countless other projects, from other illustrated books to stage designs for operas and ballets. The 140 works in the exhibit reflect this artistic range, and illustrations from his books are shown along side artwork for posters, ballet sets, and opera costumes.
Included among these is Sendak's latest work, a picture book and opera created in collaboration with playwright Tony Kushner. The work, entitled "Brundibar," is based on a 1938 opera which was originally performed by children imprisoned in the Terezin concentration camp during World War II. The opera, which became a symbol of resistance for the prisoners of the camp, will be performed at the museum on May 3 and 4th, with a discussion between Sendak and Kushner to follow each performance.
Ticket information is available at 212-423-3337. The exhibit will be on display through August 14th.