From sour grapes to fiddling grasshoppers, from town mice and country mice to tortoises and hares, for nearly 2,500 years, the stories contained in Aesop’s Fables have delighted, lectured, enlightened and chastised people, and generally wound their way around the globe.
Next month, the Lied Education Center for the Arts Gallery will install an interdisciplinary cornucopia exploring the various uses of Aesop’s fables in art and popular culture.
Thundering Tortoises and Horrified Hares: Aesop in Popular Culture is the result of a team-taught Creighton Honors course challenging students to create a gallery show highlighting the rich artifacts of cultural and artistic interest in the University’s Carlson Fable Collection.
The collection, a life’s work by Creighton Jesuit and associate professor of theology and literature the Rev. Greg Carlson, SJ, holds thousands of items inspired by Aesop’s Fables, including advertisements, silk scarves, stamps, playing cards, coins and toys.
The beginning of the Lied Gallery exhibition will run concurrently with an installation at the Joslyn Art Museum titled I See That Fable Differently, also created by the students in the Creighton Honors course.
Both exhibits will explore the wide variety of uses of fables in the modern world, and provide insight on how and why artists find themselves drawn to fables and to Aesop.
The Lied Art Gallery show runs Jan. 12 to Feb. 11, with a reception taking place Feb. 8 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., as part of Creighton Founders Week Celebrations. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
The Joslyn exhibition runs Jan. 27 through April 29, with a reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 8. Fr. Carlson will deliver a lecture, “Why Artists Love Aesop,” Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m., in the Abbott Lecture Hall at the museum.