The prints and drawings of Tomi Ungerer, the Strasbourg, France-born artist whose shift from illustrating award-winning picture books for children to creating iconic images for adult-level books focused on sexuality will open a 3-month run Sunday, June 1, at 6 P.M. at the World Erotic Art Museum.
Drawn from the private collection of owner/curator Naomi Wilzig, shown will be approximately 60 original prints as seen in Ungerer’s 1969 Grove Press publication “Fornicon.” The exhibit will be further complemented by a showing of the Miami International Film Festival documentary Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story awarded three stars by Miami Herald critic Rene Rodriguez.
A far cry from such early children’s books as “The Mellops Go Flying” and a continuing parade of internationally applauded works which were to lead to his being named Ambassador for Childhood and Education by the 47-nation Council of Europe, Ungerer’s later work clearly illustrates the end game of a story telling selfdefining artist and satirist who lived through the German occupation of his family home in Alsace and throughout his life disclosed his distaste for racism, fascism , the Vietnam War, and animal cruelty.
In his own words, “an archivist of human absurdity,” in the late ‘70s, Ungerer took a hiatus from illustrating children’s books and turned his attention to themes of sexuality. For his book, “Fornicon,” The New York Times Book Review noted “the book is definitely not for children. Mr. Ungerer is a caricaturist and the drawings are savagely satirical portrayals of a bizarre world of totally mechanized sex, involving machines and strange hooded Beardslyesque figures in various states of joyless self- gratification. In other words a highly controversial book.”
The World Erotic Art Museum is located at 1205 Washington Avenue. Open Monday through Thursday, 11 A.M.-10 P.M; Friday and Saturday, 11 A.M. to Midnight. Sunday, 11 A.M -Midnight. Tickets are $15. No one under 18 admitted, Further information is available by calling 305-532-9336, or via www.weam.com.