Moonlit Nights at the Chrysler

Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum celebrates the 50th anniversary of artist Eric Carle’s picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar with new exhibition.

Opening June 14 at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Eric Carle: Moonlit Nights & Other Illustrations explores the works of American artist, illustrator, and children’s book author Eric Carle. June marks both the 50th anniversary of his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Carle’s 90th birthday. The exhibition features more than 80 original works of art as well as a selection of Carle’s tools and prototypes that help explain his process of layering painted tissue paper to create his images. “It’s hard to explain how impressive the works are in person as compared to in the books,” says Seth Feman, Deputy Director for Art & Interpretation and Curator of Photography at the Chrysler Museum.

The works selected for the exhibition focus on nature and night, with “dreamy, swirling blue tones that activate the images,” says Feman. In preparation for the exhibition, Feman says the gallery has been transformed into a more interactive and family-friendly space. The works are installed at a child-friendly height, the walls are decorated with stars and lightning bugs, and in the center of the space are complementary activities and couches with books for reading.

Carle’s painting shoes.

Feman explains that the museum had been looking for a large-scale, family-friendly exhibition for a long time in an effort to increase accessibility to the institution and reach new audiences. In addition to finding that with this exhibition from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, it also ties in with Chrysler’s overarching theme of literacy, explains Maegan Douglas, Museum Educator for the Wonder Studio and Family Experiences. In conjunction with the exhibition, the usually monthly Tickle My Ears story times will be taking place approximately every other week this summer—dates include June 20, July 11, July 25, Aug. 1, and Aug. 15. Local librarians will read Carle’s books in the gallery, and the children will make art based on the readings.

Other related programming includes an opening party for members on June 13; a family day on June 15 with story readings, puppets, crafts, animals from the local zoos, and card sign-ups for the local libraries; an after-hours pajama party in partnership with NASA featuring moon and stars activities on July 11 and Aug. 22; and Carle-themed summer camps for various ages in July and August. Chrysler’s interactive gallery for all ages, the Wonder Studio, also features an animal theme this year and an “Art-quarium.”

The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 8. Chrysler.org


Upcoming: This fall, check out Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals, opening Oct. 19 and exploring how Jefferson’s innovative ideas have affected architectural principles.

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