Apollo Magazine

Bart Simpson in the museum

The Simpsons has often embraced the visual arts – and now a museum in Washington State is repaying the favour


Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

Ay Caramba! As Rakewell has previously noted, The Simpsons has incorporated no end of art-historical references since it first aired more than 30 years ago, as well as attracting cameos from the likes of Jasper Johns and John Baldessari. Now, however, the series is getting the museum exhibition treatment.

‘Bart at TAM: Animating America’s Favorite Family’, opening at the Tacoma Art Museum at the end of July, will explore the animation processes involved in creating the first 13 seasons of The Simpsons (production switched to digital animation in 2002), bringing together drawings, scripts and dozens of hand-drawn animation cels.

The artefacts come from the collection of Bill Heeter, a cartoon fan who has been hoarding celluloid since the early 1980s, and now possesses as many as 900 animations relating to The Simpsons alone. ‘I had a full head of hair when I started collecting and now it’s all gone,’ he tells Crosscut.

Further Simpsons-related news comes in the form of artist and animator Lenivko Kvadratjić’s ‘Russian Art Film’ reimagining of the show’s opening credits, which places the lovably dysfunctional family into an unrelentingly bleak context that could come straight from a Boris Mikhailov photo.

One can only wonder what Homer Simpson – who once briefly enjoyed a career as an outsider artist – might make of it.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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