Roz Chast, the veteran cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, has been in the news lately for "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?," her poignant-funny memoir of her parents' decline and death.
The exhibit, however, now on the walls of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, "Being, Nothingness and Much More: Roz Chast Beyond the New Yorker," exclusively brings the funny. The first museum show for the Fairfield County resident is a hilarious collection of drawings and watercolors from the archives of Chast and The New Yorker.
Among Chast's "Other Rembrandt Misattributions" is "Old With With Cellular Phone." Among her "Lesser Known Annunciations" is an angel informing a man "You've got gout." "How Grandma Sees the Remote" includes buttons labeled "TV explodes" and "Never saw this one before."
Chast's "Recipes for Comfort Drinks" includes the "Home Security," made of a half-cup of vanilla pudding and 4 oz. of gin. "Blend pudding and gin. One ought to do the trick, but these are difficult times." Her "Obsessive-Compulsive Santa" tells his therapist "I made a list. I checked it twice. Then I checked it a third time ..."
A surprising element to the exhibit are two hooked-rug wall hangings, a collection of pysanky (Ukrainian Easter) eggs and rubber stamps all created by Chast featuring her signature style of characters.
In a phone interview, Chast said she is always playing around with other art forms. "Some crash and burn. Some of them work," she said. "There is an overlap with the cartoons, a sort of Venn diagram thing. I can't put word balloons into the hooked rugs."
Chast said pen and ink and watercolor are perfect for doing her cartoon work, but the other mediums have their attractions.
"I love how the color in textiles works. You can pop in one tiny little dot of a certain color, like in the ham, sort of an iridescent green, and it's fun to see the effect. You do skin tone from a million different colors, purples, light blues, peaches, greenw, yellows, and it still reads as skin tone from a farther away."
Chast said she tried linocuts, but the linoleum was too difficult to cut, so she used rubber instead. She uses the stamps to create funny artworks of a series of faces under a headline: "bad eggs," "hellions," etc. The humor is compounded by seeing the exact same faces described a variety of ways.
An additional treat at the Bruce is "Greenwich Collects," an exhibit of artworks owned by Greenwich residents, which will be on the walls until Aug. 31. It includes ancient Chinese ceramics, Italian Renaissance drawings and six paintings by Andrew Wyeth, including two with his favorite model, Helga Testorf, and another with another one of his regulars, Siri Erickson.
"BEING, NOTHINGNESS AND MUCH MORE: ROZ CHAST BEYOND THE NEW YORKER" is at Bruce Museum, One Museum Drive in Greenwich, until Oct. 19. Chast will do a "Conversation with the Artist" on Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Reservations strongly suggested for the talk. Details: www.brucemuseum.org.