Jim Dine’s Pinocchio at Chrysler Museum of Art, February 28 – May 17, 2020

“The Chrysler Museum of Art presents the original story of a beloved character in Jim Dine’s Pinocchio. The exhibition features the entire portfolio of lithographs by Dine, an internationally acclaimed multimedia artist.  A gift to the Chrysler from Richmond-based collectors Charlotte and Gil Minor, the portfolio is new to the Museum’s collection and includes images as well as words from the first story of Pinocchio.

As an established artist, Dine incorporated Pinocchio into his practice. However, the artist didn’t model his work after the iconic Disney film. Instead, he harkened back to Carlo Collodi’s Le avventure di Pinocchio: Storia di un burattino (The Adventures of Pinocchio: Story of a Puppet). The work of the Italian writer and journalist was published in the serial newspaper Il Giornale per i bambini (Journal for Children) in 1881 and found Pinocchio breaking promises and facing life-threatening dangers. Collodi initially wrote 15 chapters of the story, with Pinocchio dying a violent death by hanging. However, readers loved the figure so much that Collodi resurrected Pinocchio and went on to write 21 additional tales, finally ending the serial in spring 1883. In that same year, a publisher compiled all the stories and bound them into one volume titled Le avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventure of Pinocchio) with illustrations by Enrico Mazzanti.” — Chrysler Museum of Art

All images: Jim Dine (American b. 1935). Pinocchio (portfolio), 2006. A suite of 44 lithographs on Hahnemühle paper contained within a wooden portfolio box. Printed at Atelier Michael Woolworth, Paris and published by Steidl Verlag, Göttingen © Jim Dine, licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Gift of Charlotte and Gil Minor 2019.17.1

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When Pinocchio debuted in theaters in 1940, Dine became enamored with the rambunctious wooden puppet’s sordid journey to become a real boy. “I was six years old when I saw the Disney film. It was really frightening,” Dine said. “His story resonates with me as a person who’s been a boy. It is also a wonderful metaphor for the idea of making art; it’s alchemical. It’s an incredibly direct way of speaking about the act.”

This exhibition was organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art. Kimberli Gant, Ph.D. is the Chrysler’s McKinnon Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art.

Images courtesy Chrysler Museum of Art.