Track 16 Gallery and Smart Art Press are pleased to announce a new exhibition featuring the charmingly satirical drawings of William Anthony, excerpted from his new book War Is Swell. The exhibition will run from February 19 to April 15, 2000, with an opening reception on February 19th.
From the beginning of World War II, when William Anthony was seven years old, to its end, when he was almost eleven, he was a real American patriot. Lucky enough to be spared the tragedy of the war, he and his boyhood friends savored its adventure through the letters, the newspapers, and the comic books that reached his quiet Tacoma, Washington, suburb. They kept dutifully abreast of wartime strategy and watched the skies faithfully for enemy attack, longing for the chance to contribute to the war effort. We loved the fighting men and the combat, Anthony writes in the introduction to the exhibition catalogue, We loved weapons and the mayhem they caused. We loved the air raids, the commando raids and the plots to kill Hitler.
War Is Swell is a narrative reenactment of this elaborate and innocent experience of war in Anthony's raw signature style unfiltered, uncensored, and untempered by political correctness. Its cast of characters includes Hitler ( a paper-hanger who got this job as dictator of Germany), Admiral Yamamoto (who liked to put tacks on the chairs used by the other officers to keep them alert ), General Patton, blonde lady spies who liked to get secrets in return for certain favors, and scores of soldiers, civilians, tanks, and planes from all sides. Both a lyrical testament to childhood enthusiasm and a harrowing glimpse into the mechanics of propaganda and ignorance, War Is Swell is a wry and provocative contribution to the annals of American history.
Smart Art Press Catalogue