Al Hirschfeld Foundation presents online exhibition, "A National Insanity: 75 years of Searching For NINA"
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 11:25 am EST 11/14/20

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation is proud to announce the latest in a series of online exhibitions exploring the work of one of the most iconic artists of the last century, and it is now celebrating one of the funniest aspects of his work in "A National Insanity: 75 years of Looking For NINA." Now live at AlHirschfeldFoundation.org/exhibitions though January 21, the online exhibition features Hirschfeld's drawings that all touch on some part of NINA history, from the very first drawing to the one with the most NINAs to drawings of the elusive Nina Hirschfeld herself. These images will show the different ways Hirschfeld chose to hide NINAs, and what happened when he left them out, or made the foolish mistake of trying to include other names. With each drawing, scroll down to learn more about each image.

"Sunday mornings looking for NINAs was a custom shared by New York Times readers, a game played with children and grandchildren," says David Leopold, Creative Director of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation. "Finding NINAs was an unspoken initiation into the worlds of Broadway, Hollywood, and all the performing arts. For Hirschfeld, drawing NINAs became second nature, and they appeared spontaneously as he worked, forcing him to count them at the end like everyone else. At a reader's suggestion in 1960, he began to put a number next to his signature when there were more than one NINA to hunt for. Hirschfeld said he learned the hard way to put her name in his drawings before his own, because no one was looking for his name, just hers."

In keeping with the spirit of Hirschfeld, this exhibition is free and open to everyone. The show is part of the AHF's continuing mission to promote interest in the theater and the performing and visual arts. For this exhibition there is a special gift shop of merchandise connected to the exhibition online at click here. To celebrate this NINA anniversary, the Al Hirschfeld Foundation online shop is offering discounts from $200 to $1,000 on hand signed, limited edition prints on selected prints each week leading up to the holidays. Discount codes are announced each week on the Foundation's social media accounts.

Go behind the lines of Hirschfeld's art with "The Hirschfeld Century Podcast," nominated as "Best NYC podcast" by the 2020 Apple Awards. A special episode dedicated to the works featured "A National Insanity: 75 years of Searching For NINA" will be available starting November 20, 2020 from AlHirschfeldFoundation.org/podcasts, iTunes and other popular podcast sites.

The mission of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation is to promote interest in the theater and visual arts by supporting non-profit museums, libraries, theaters and similar cultural institutions. The Foundation fulfills its mission through grants and exhibitions of Hirschfeld's art . The Foundation maintains an extensive collection of Hirschfeld artworks and lends and/or donates pieces to institutions all over the world. Another primary mission is arts education, which the Foundation does primarily with the Hirschfeld Arts Curriculum. Created in conjunction with the New York City Board of Education, The Hirschfeld Arts Curriculum is an innovative visual/performing arts education program based on Hirschfeld's art to engage students K through 12 in a variety of arts activities. Our programs encourage writing, reading, researching, observing, movement and performance to learn about the arts, its history, and the opportunities for education and employment in the arts field. The web based Al Hirschfeld curriculum is easy to use, and is intended to be a free resource for teachers and students. www.AlHirschfeldFoundation.org

Al Hirschfeld's drawings stand as one of the most innovative efforts in establishing the visual language of modern art through caricature in the 20th century. A self-described "characterist," his signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication of the last nine decades (including a 75-year relationship with The New York Times) as well as numerous book and record covers and 15 postage stamps. Hirschfeld said his contribution was to take the character, created by the playwright and portrayed by the actor, and reinvent it for the reader. Playwright Terrence McNally wrote: "No one 'writes' more accurately of the performing arts than Al Hirschfeld. He accomplishes on a blank page with his pen and ink in a few strokes what many of us need a lifetime of words to say."

In 1945, Hirschfeld celebrated the birth of his daughter Nina by placing her name in the background of a drawing. What the artist described as an innocent prank soon became a personal trademark and national obsession, as he began hiding numerous NINA's throughout his drawings for years to come.

He is represented in many public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Portrait Gallery, and Harvard's Theater Collection. Hirschfeld authored several books including Manhattan Oases and Show Business is No Business in addition to 10 collections of his work. He was declared a Living Landmark by the New York City Landmarks Commission in 1996, and a Living Legend by The Library of Congress in 2000. Just before his death in January 2003, he learned he was to be awarded the Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts and inducted into the Academy of Arts and Letters. The winner of two Tony Awards, he was given the ultimate Broadway accolade on what would have been his 100th birthday in June 2003. The Martin Beck Theater was renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theater.
Link http://AlHirschfeldFoundation.org/exhibitions

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