Zero-calorie pleasures: McSweeney's children's imprint takes over a gallery


There is no better guilty pleasure than children's book art. Calorie-free, family-friendly, welcoming characters. Mixed with the verbaciousness (I made up that word for the occasion) of McSweeney's, this is prime post-Thanksgiving eye candy. Y'know, when you're too food-hungover to delve overmuch in character and plot. This is why we saved the above slideshow of images from McSweeney's upcoming art opening (Dec. 3) at Electric Works for a sleepy Nov. 25 Friday morning, enjoy.

Among the gems of "McSweeney's McMullens: Artwork from Children's Books, plus 1,032 Illustrated Lunch Bags": Jordan Crane's Keep Our Secrets, a book that mimics everyone's favorite T-shirt from the 1990s, the one that changed colors when you breathed on it. Hypercolor! 

Hypercolor is an apt word to describe the rest of the offerings: Amy Martin's ecstatic illustrations for Symphony City, the ever-lovely Clare Rojas' reticent creatures that she's appropriated for Shelia Heti's We Need a Horse. Peruse the offerings above and know this -- there will also be paper bag art. The images come from books already cobbled together by McSweeney's children's imprint McMullens, and some hail from tomes still in the cobbling process. Throughout the duration of the exhibit celebrity readings will be held, open to any hipster reader kids willing to sit and listen. And there will be a gift shop on premises. Think lots of books and the standard nonsensical McSweeney's swag -- banana slicers and fish-scrubbing gloves, I hear. 

Rounding out the exhibit, in the "deluxe reading room" supplied for the young'ns, are paper bags. These are creations by Robert Barnes, another example of prosaic items brought into greatness by a little doodle. There will be hundreds of them. 

So, not to bite on L.E. Leone overmuch but, new favorite art exhibit. 


"McSweeney's McMullens: Artwork from Children's Books, plus 1,032 Illustrated Lunch Bags"

Dec. 3 - Jan. 7

Opening reception: Dec. 3, 4-8 p.m., free

Electric Works 

130 Eighth St., SF

(415) 626-5496



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