A new art exhibit space in Mackay opens next week with an exhibition of rejected cartoons by New Yorker magazine cartoonists.
Fledgling New Yorker cartoonist Navied Mahdavian, who lives in Chilly, is coordinating the exhibit of rejected cartoons, the second year for such a show.
Last year curator David Ostow asked New Yorker cartoonists for a few of their favorite pieces that had been rejected by magazine officials. Ostow created a show named “Not Ok: Great Cartoons that Weren’t Good Enough.” It hung in Brooklyn for four months last year before moving to Westchester, New York, for a couple of months. Last year’s show was deemed a success with a jam-packed opening reception and a televised panel featuring several of the cartoonists discussing their work.
This year the basics are the same, with a twist, Mahdavian said. He’s preparing to open “Not Ok: Wild West Edition,” in Mackay.
“Mackay wouldn’t seem like an obvious venue for such an exhibition of New Yorker cartoons,” Mahdavian said. But, he and his wife, Emelie, have begun a campaign to cultivate the arts in their small town. “The hope is to bring vibrancy back to the heart of a mining town ... and to provide a venue for residents of a very remote area to connect with the outside world through the arts.”
The Mahdavians are also involved in the rehabilitation and reopening of the art deco theater in Mackay. It’s the sole theater in a county the size of Connecticut and has been nearly defunct for about 30 years. Plans call for operating Main Theater as a community-run indie cinema. The adjoining soda shop is being converted into the exhibition space where the New Yorker show will hang and other art shows will follow. The movie theater opens tonight.
“Not Ok: Wild West Edition” is sponsored by Warfield Distillery in Ketchum. The show opens Sept. 15 with a reception that runs from 6 to 10:30 p.m. The $10 admission includes an open bar and a movie screening of Leah Wolchok’s “Very Semi-Serious” at 8 p.m. It shows again at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16. It’s a behind-the-scenes documentary of the New Yorker cartoon department.
The exhibit will feature the work of 20 cartoonists bringing their East Coast humor to the wild West, Mahdavian said.
“Culling through their mountains of rejections the artists will be eschewing classic urban tropes like subways, rats and tiny apartments in favor of cartoons that will appeal to a rural population – from cowboys and crickets to cats and coffee,” Mahdavian said.
“At a time when America feels more divided than ever, perhaps comedy can bridge the gap. To show that there is more that unites us. To show that things will be fine. More than OK,” he said.
A bevy of volunteers have been in the old theater for hundreds of hours in recent weeks scrubbing floors, polishing surfaces, touching up paint and repairing damaged ceiling tiles in advance of the theater opening.