GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN! brings together Charles M. Schulz original Peanuts cartoons with work from a wide range of acclaimed contemporary artists and designers who have been inspired by this highly influential and much-loved cartoon. Unique in its enduring appeal, this exhibition will explore Peanuts’ renewed agency in contemporary culture and society.
Schulz created 17,897 strips during his life, syndicated to over 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries and translated into 21 languages, reaching a truly global audience in an era long before digital communications. Featuring original strips rarely seen in the UK or Europe, the exhibition will celebrate Schulz’s prodigious output and examine his creative process. Through the prism of the lives and musings of beloved characters, including Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, Franklin and Peppermint Patty, Peanuts addressed themes including art, faith, existentialism, race, war and feminism, crossing social and economic boundaries, and standing as a testament to the power of popular arts.
Objects belonging to Schulz will also be on display, as well as original publications and vintage products, such as fashion designer Kim Jones' sweatshirt collection, which expose fascinating stories from some of the most momentous times in modern history. Alongside items including the ‘Silver Snoopy’ from NASA that has travelled to the moon and back, and badges in support of Snoopy’s presidential campaign, a remarkable range of objects will prove the enduring power of Peanuts within popular culture.
Alongside this examination of Schulz’s life and work, the exhibition will feature a thrilling range of contemporary pieces, including new works, by artists and designers who have been inspired by Peanuts. Contributors will cross creative disciplines, including sculpture, music, film, design and fashion, and will feature artists including Fiona Banner, Mel Brimfield, Mira Calix, Steven Claydon, Marcus Coates, François Curlet, Mark Drew, FriendsWithYou, Ryan Gander, Eloise Hawser, Andy Holden, Des Hughes, Ken Kagami, KAWS, Lauren LoPrete, Helen Marten, David Musgrave, patten, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Lucas Price and Ruth Proctor.
New works made especially for the exhibition include a processed-based performance work by Mira Calix, a film by Andy Holden, a full-scale version of Lucy’s Psychiatric Help booth by artist Marcus Coates and a flag drawn by Ryan Gander’s four-year-old daughter to be flown above Somerset House.
These contemporary pieces will uncover ways in which different artists have used Peanuts to unlock meaning in their own practice, and how the cartoon has seeped into wider culture and influenced the public consciousness more broadly.
Accompanying the exhibition is a rich programme of events, taking place at lunchtimes, evenings and weekends and a beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue featuring all the fascinating stories from the show.