Mad World: Subversive Humor Magazines from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor – Annual exhibition opens April 1

For Immediate Release
March 20, 2015

Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; michelle.jeffers@sfpl.org

Mad World: Subversive Humor Magazines
from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor

Annual exhibition opens April 1

April 1 – May 31, 2015
Main Library, Skylight Gallery

Subversive humor magazines have pushed the boundaries of civility and politics since the 19th century. They’ve been loved, hated, banned and worse. Most of us are familiar with Punch, MAD magazine, The Onion, The New Yorker, and now Charlie Hebdo, but did you know that Charlie Hebdo derived its dual inspiration from MAD magazine and the 19th century satirical French magazine, L’Assiette au Beurre (The Butter Dish)? You may be surprised to learn that the founders of Punch were inspired by the French humor magazine Le Charivari. Few of us may know that the Muslim world embraced one of the most acerbic humor magazines published in the early 20th century, Molla Nasreddin, founded in Azerbaijan in 1906. This beloved magazine continued to be published through 1930 until it was shut down by Soviet authorities.

Mad World: Subversive Humor Magazines from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor gathers together some of the most irreverent humor magazines from around the world, reviewing the antecedents that helped to radicalize modern cartoonists and humorists, while connecting the dots to 21st century humor magazines. Mad World is a visual display of in-your-face humor, outrage, and shocking reality in a war-torn time where humor will, if we let it, dominate the world.

“Without humor we are doomed,” noted Nat Schmulowitz, local attorney and former library trustee, who donated his collection of 93 jest books to the San Francisco Public Library on April 1, 1947. Every year, the Library presents an exhibition based on works in the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor in tribute to Mr. Schmulowitz’s generosity and lifelong interest in the Library.

Related Programs:

Thursdays at Noon Film Series: Comedy Films –

Featuring Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (April 2); Crumb (April 9); Network (April 16); Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics (April 23); and They Live (April 30). All films are shown with captions when possible to assist the deaf and hard of hearing. Main Library, Koret Auditorium.

The Politics of Humor: Jack Boulware (founder of the satirical magazine The Nose and co-founder, Litquake) and political cartoonist Mark Fiore in conversation. Tuesday May 5, 6 p.m., Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

For more information about these and other Library programs and exhibitions, please call (415) 557-4277.