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Call the Dr. Seuss Rhymes with Voice!

By Elisa Revello in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 14, 2011 9:05PM

Seuss actually rhymes with “voice” and not “moose.” And this is one of the fascinating tidbits spectators can learn from the new Dr. Seuss & The Art of Invention exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Dr. Seuss is considered an artist, so why is the exhibit showcased at MSI instead of one of Chicago’s art museums? What about art versus science--or perhaps are the two are connected? MSI said that The Art of Invention, like the museum's other exhibits, ultimately celebrates innovation.

Anne Rashford, MSI’s director of temporary exhibits says, “the imagination and ingenuity of Dr. Seuss is so inspirational, and it really speaks to the Museum’s mission to inspire the inventive genius in everyone. As children, we grew up reading his books--taken to magical places while learning age-old lessons. As adults, we can now understand how innovative and gifted he was as an artist and writer.”

Seuss’s creative prowess is displayed not only in his famous children’s stories, but also in his political cartoons, adult books, advertising work, sketches, paintings, and his unique form of taxidermy. The highlight: Seuss’s secret paintings that he asked his wife to release to the public upon his death. Viewers get a glimpse at the artwork that he coveted, which was created during the time of his commercial success with children’s books. The style of his paintings is reminiscent of his familiar cartoons, though is geared toward a more sophisticated audience. Nonetheless, the work is aesthetically appealing and opens another door into the artist’s mind.

The Art of Invention allows adults to get a closer look at a household name, a man who has likely been part of their childhood. Seuss’s publisher bet him 50 dollars that he could not create a book with 50 words or less. And so Seuss created Green Eggs & Ham, but joked that he never saw that 50 dollars. Learning more about Seuss’s personal life and broader work is like meeting a admired grade-school teacher at a bar: you can further appreciate his brilliance and wisdom, but also realize that the man is human. Like Seuss’s work, The Art of Invention was entertaining, engaging, and thought provoking.