Saturday, December 21, 2019

Karl Haendel: New Yorker Cartoon Drawing #27

In 2007 artist Karl Haendel appropriated his twenty-seventh New Yorker cartoon, mining the work of cartoonist David Sipress for at least the second time. A 2004 work, New Yorker Cartoon Drawing #9, appropriated Sipress's "Bad dog" drawing. As with other drawings in the series, Haendel makes large graphite renderings of published New Yorker cartoon images. His process may or may not involve a light box or a projector; these renderings do not appear to be done freehand.

This drawing is one of five framed pieces that make up the Mazel Tov group. The phrase is Yiddish meaning good luck or congratulations. The Jewish theme suggested by the title may also apply to the inclusion of the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Jokerman." The grouping was offered for sale at Sotheby's in 2013 where it apparently did not find a buyer:
Karl Haendel
Mazel Tov Group (2006-2007)
Sotheby's 2013

The work currently resides at the Henry Art Gallery of the University of Washington, Seattle.  The artist's installation view from a 2019 exhibition is notable for placing the New Yorker drawing and the Dylan lyrics well below eye level.
Karl Haendel
Mazel Tov Group (2006-2007)
Installation View, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington

Joe Milutis's commentary on the grouping articulates the "multiple themes" to be discovered here:

The museum's commentary doesn't even mention cartoonist David Sipress; it speaks only of "a Jewish-American themed cartoon from The New Yorker." That's odd because Haendel does nothing to hide the identify of the cartoonist; the signature is copied directly from his source material. The cartoon was first published in December of 2006 so Handel no doubt selected it when it was quite fresh.
David Sipress
The New Yorker, December 4, 2006, page 68
Karl Haendel
New Yorker Cartoon Drawing #27 (2007)

Cartoon by David Sipress
Could there be some autobiographical element to Haendel's appropriation of this cartoon mixing the Jewish and Christian holiday traditions? Haendel didn't meet Emily Mast until 2009, which was two years after he completed the Mazel Tov Group. His wedding ceremony in 2011 was performed by a friend of the bride in "a ceremony that included Jewish traditions."

Karl Haendel
Sotheby's New York Contemporary Art, March 7, 2013

Bob Dylan
From Infidels (1983)

February 5, 2020 Update:  David Sipress writes of this piece for's Culture Desk in a piece called "Stop, Thief! My Cartoon Gets Appropriated." His essay was posted yesterday and it marks the first time this blog is mentioned on the New Yorker's website—it's literally parenthetical: "(According to the cartoon-related Web site Attempted Bloggery, to date Haendel has appropriated at least twenty-seven New Yorker cartoons.)" Let's just hope I've been fact checked on this.


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