Posts Tagged ‘Maurice Sendak’

Curious Pages

Published March 5, 2010 by Molly




Curious Pages is a blog devoted to exhuming old children’s books and and sharing their aesthetic peculiarities with the world. Succinct explanations accompany shiveringly detailed scans for a result that will prompt wistful sighs of nostalgia and explosions of good cheer in about equal doses.

You’ll want to collect some supplies around you before you start scrolling through the site, because you’ll be scrolling for a while. Hot cocoa, a glass of water, and a nourishing snack of some kind should do it. We’re posting a few samples above, but the full effect of the collection is best experienced by diving right in.

Bonus: Sendak mention here.

NYC: Spike and Lance at Barnes & Noble Tomorrow

Published March 1, 2010 by Graham


Where the Wild Things Are isn’t the only rad movie hitting shelves tomorrow! Spike and Lance Bangs’ fascinating documentary delving deep into the personal world of Maurice Sendak, Tell Them Anything You Want, is getting a deluxe DVD release, thanks to those loving cinephiles at Oscilloscope Laboratories. The handsomely packaged disc is loaded with bonus features including an exclusive essay by Sendak’s good friend, Pulitzer-winner Tony Kushner, and a Sendakian birthday tribute with Meryl Streep, James Gandolfini and Catherine Keener.

To celebrate the release, the dynamic directorial duo are making an in-store appearance at Barnes & Nobles’ Union Square store for a conversation with McSweeney’s contributor and ineffable witticist John Hodgman.

The discussion will go down Tuesday, March 2nd at 7:00 PM. After the Q&A, Spike and Lance will sign copies of Tell Them Anything You Want and John Hodgman will sign copies of his own books. Barnes & Noble Union Square is located at 33 East 17th Street.

Tell Them Anything You Want at IFC

Published February 23, 2010 by Molly


Tell Them Anything You Want, the amazing-amazing documentary about Maurice Sendak by Spike and Lance Bangs, is playing at New York’s IFC Center this Wednesday at 8PM, followed by a Q&A with the two directors. If you missed it on the small-screen, now’s your chance to catch the film and lob a question or two at Lance and Spike!

WTWTA Takeover Day at Huck Magazine

Published December 11, 2009 by Graham


Today is Where the Wild Things Are takeover day on the website of UK lifestyle magazine Huck! They’ve temporarily transformed the whole site to celebrate the British release of the movie, and it includes videos, exclusive interviews, rare Maurice Sendak art, a tribute to Spike’s seminal skate film, Video Days, a Wild Things drawing contest and much more! Go check it out before the wild rumpus ends.

A Tribute to Sendak From the Archives

Published November 17, 2009 by Molly

Picture 5

Images via finsbry

An interesting feature in the Guardian UK last year had Jonathan Jones placing Maurice Sendak in the context of classic illustration, pop art and the history of picture books. An excerpt:

The picture book as we know it today – a simple illustrated book for the young – originates in the 18th century and expresses the empirical philosophy of John Locke and other Enlightenment thinkers, who held that what we can see and demonstrate is more real than what we are told. Language is a set of signs that denote the things we see – and in the first alphabet primers and Mother Goose nursery rhyme books, with their woodcut illustrations, you find this common sense world view being translated into books that span the gap between pictures and words, babyhood and literacy.

Maurice Sendak’s art is a rich fabric of references; it is very consciously rooted in these early children’s books, and the tradition of Hogarth and Blake.

Who Was Eugene Glynn?

Published October 16, 2009 by Graham


“Will reality match up to the television fantasies this generation has been nursed on? These children are in a peculiar position; experience is exhausted in advance. There is little they have not seen or done or lived through, and yet this is second-hand experience.”

The year was 1956 and the blunting, desensitizing impact of TV was on the mind of art critic, psychoanalyst, and Maurice Sendak’s life partner for more than 50 years, Dr. Eugene D. Glynn. This fear of mass media’s ominous implications seemed to be melting brains everywhere in the 1950s, and it’s one that remains prevalent today—simply transposed to hand-wringing about kids growing up with constant access to the Internet. But Glynn’s casually brilliant essay, “Television and the American Character,” was different.


He discussed the form of television rather than the content, noting the ways in which television becomes an adult’s regressive substitute for a care-giving mother: “Warmth, sound, constancy, availability, a steady giving without ever a demand for return, the encouragement to complete passive surrender and envelopment—all this and active fantasy besides.” Too true, right? It’s a critique that surpasses the limited foresight afforded to the citizens of the 1950s about television’s complex destiny.

More than that, Glynn goes beyond the article’s initial concerns to embrace television’s potential as a positive social force, expanding horizons and destroying provincialism.

“Techniques will have to be worked out for educational television for showing, not a baseball game, but how to pitch a curveball; for sending its audience on nature hunts, into club activity, to the library for books. Being aware of the dependent relationship in its audience, television must look for ways to undo it—the problem of any teacher or parent.”

There’s a whole book full of essays penned by Glynn; ruminations on Norman Mailer, Lucas Samaras, developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, Michelangelo, the history of erotic art, and the ethics of exhibiting Jackson Pollock’s art therapy works (spoilers: it’s unethical). Desperate Necessity: Writings on Art and Psychoanalysis was published posthumously in 2008, liberating Glynn’s fascinating writings from the back issues of obscure art journals and painting a picture of a man who was always just a little bit out of step with his time, tackling social issues with a peculiarly frank clarity. The type of man who just might be the perfect spiritual match for Maurice Sendak.


After reading Desperate Necessity I was a little bit disappointed that “Gene” had never collaborated directly with Sendak. But maybe their whole lives together were a collaboration. Sendak, as a picture book artist, changed the way we thought about childhood. He embedded deep psychological issues under the alluring surface of art for the masses. Would it all have been the same without Eugene Glynn by his side?

Scholars on Sendak

Published October 15, 2009 by Molly

Picture 3

Sendak has said that he is obsessed with one and only one question: “How do children survive?”

Richard M. Gottlieb, M.D. tackles the question in his 2008 academic paper, titled Maurice Sendak’s Trilogy: Disappointment, Fury, and Their Transformation through Art.

“An overlooked yet central developmental theme of Maurice Sendak’s major works,” Gottlieb writes, “is that of resilience. Resilience reflects a child’s capacity to transform otherwise crippling traumatic circumstances into his (or her) very means of survival, growth, and positive maturation. An implicit credo of these works is the adage: “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Note that Sendak himself spent years in psychoanalysis, so the approach isn’t as obscure as it first appears. Read the article online at this digital archive of classic psychoanalytic texts. Go on, do something good for your brain.

Edward Gorey

Published October 6, 2009 by Graham


If Maurice Sendak walks the line between mother-approved fantasy and unsettling human fears, Edward Gorey races past it, embracing everything gloomy, malicious, and nightmarish with unbridled glee. Naturally, the macabre situations and midnight-black humor of Gorey’s tomes for tots have upset more than a few mothers and librarians. His books, they claim, are for adults and shouldn’t be placed in the unsoiled hands of an innocent child.

But what kid wouldn’t appreciate the sinister rhyming alphabet in Gorey’s Grashlycrumb Tinies? “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears.” As Maurice Sendak once noted, “Ted Gorey is perfect for children; and that’s the saddest thing of all, that they [his books] weren’t allowed to be published that way.” Give your slightly strange nephew a Gorey book for Christmas and watch his face light up!


Cinefamily Presents: A Tribute to Maurice Sendak

Published September 29, 2009 by Graham


Here’s the official flier (lovingly illustrated by Stevenfiche) for tomorrow night’s Cinefamily event that we mentioned last week. The evening will consist of Maurice Sendak’s greatest animated adaptations, the sneak preview screening of Spike and Lance’s documentary about Maurice, and a few fun surprises! Tickets are on sale now.

Talking Comics with Jordan Crane

Published September 29, 2009 by Graham

Jordan Crane at Comic Con

Have you bought a comic book in the past few years? Not a graphic novel or some fancy anthology—I’m talking about those olde thyme flimsy, staple-bound periodicals filled with illustrated narratives and costing less than a bag of movie theater popcorn. It wouldn’t be a shock if you said no, and cartoonist Jordan Crane wouldn’t blame you– but he’s not giving up on the medium without a fight.

After years of creating resplendent illustrations, designing floral wallpaper for our favorite bookstore, and intermittently revealing his narrative brilliance through one-off comics, Crane has recently focused his creative talents on an Ignatz-winning (that’s geek-speak for “good”) comic series called Uptight. Presenting melancholy tales of workaday worries and broken relationships right alongside whimsical, child-friendly fare, Uptight provides a fascinating peek inside Crane’s constantly shifting thoughts, and never fails to entertain.

Read on to discover this venerable artist’s love for Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear, the challenges of cartooning for kids, and his call to revolution for a post-superhero world.

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