After an outstanding reception by visitors at the National Museum of American Illustrations
(NMAI) 10th Anniversary Gala, Tom Wolfes illustration from his 1980 book In Our Time returns in an expanded format for the 2011 Summer season-continuing the first ever exhibition of Tom Wolfes illustrations. Widely known for his satirical accounts of modern life, Wolfe is far less known for his brilliantly humorous and engaging pen and ink illustrations. Now on exhibit in conjunction with the widely acclaimed exhibition, Norman Rockwell: American Imagist, viewers have the unique opportunity to see two very different interpretations of American life; Rockwells concurrently exhibited at the NMAIs venue, Vernon Court, a 19th century Gilded Age mansion in Newport.
The leading figure in the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 70s, Wolfe is widely renowned for his unconventional writings on American society and culture, such as his near manifesto The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby and later The Electric Kool-Aid Acod Test, as well as the fictional works including The Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full.
In Our Time, is a compilation of essays originally printed in Harpers Magazine reflecting changes which occurred throughout American society during the 1970s. George Christian, of the Houston Chronicle, remarked when viewing Wolfes illustrations for In Our Time: the sometimes exaggerated yet always vivid, colorful style that makes Wolfe the master of the printed world also marks his art
mere words cannot adequately describe the sly humor, biting sarcasm or sharp insights of these drawings, but he assured that they make the same dramatic impact as the incredible sentences.
In a speech given at the NMAIs 10th Anniversary Gala, Wolfe reflected on the evolution of the modern and contemporary art: I feel very comfortable predicting that art historians 50 years from now, assuming we are in a world kind enough to indulge art historians, will look back upon illustrators as the great American artists of the second half of the 20th century.