University of South Carolina

McKissick Museum to unveil Smyrl exhibit

“Southern Satire: The Illustrated World of Jak Smyrl” will be on display at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum from Aug. 8 to Jan. 23.

A special reception and talk about the exhibition will be held Aug. 27 from 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Smyrl (1923 – 2007) was a staff artist and illustrator for The State and the Columbia Record newspapers from 1949 – 86. His quirky and original cartoons, neither jarring nor biting, were known for their light-hearted depictions of Southern life.

“Jak’s cartoons always elicit a chuckle and a smile,” said Robert Ariail, former editorial cartoonist for The State. “In fact, on many of his caricature maps, the legend reads, ‘One inch equals one smile.’”

“Southern Satire” features more than 50 works by the artist and a series of whimsical maps highlighting some of South Carolina’s most distinct historical locations. Accompanying many of the illustrations are newspaper articles for which Smyrl created his popular illustrations. Most important to the University of South Carolina, Smyrl created the first image of the Fighting Gamecock.

“It was as if ink ran through his veins,” said Jason Shaiman, chief curator of exhibitions.

“Drawing from his own experiences of growing up on a farm, attending college and serving in World War II and his general love for the Palmetto State, Smyrl was able to create humor from most every situation,” Shaiman said. “Through his 37 years as a commercial artist, he offered his readership a recognizable perspective on Southern life. As a South Carolinian himself, he connected with his readers on a personal level, understanding the cultural, historical and political issues relevant to the Palmetto State.”

“Southern Satire” is made possible through support from The State and the Camden Chronicle-Independent newspapers and the S.C. Humanities Council.

McKissick Museum is located on the university’s historic Horseshoe. Parking is available in the university parking garage at the corner of Pendleton and Bull streets. All McKissick exhibits are free and open to the public. The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and holidays.

For more information, contact Ja-Nae Epps at 803-777-2876, or visit the Web site at http://www/cas.sc.edu/mcks

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 07/29/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 01/27/10 @ 10:30 AM | Permalink