It's a Mad World

"I've been collecting cartoon art since 1956," explains Mark Cohen, "and I don't have room for it in the house. I also want people to see that this stuff is art--and very fine art, too." So, nearly 140 items of Cohen's "Mad" art and memorabilia are on exhibit at the Fullerton Museum Center through Aug. 23 in "Humor in a Jugular Vein: The Art, Artists and Artifacts of MAD Magazine." The exhibit features a windup Alfred E. Neuman toy, Alfred statues, a Mad video game and the original art for the 1958 April Fool's cover by C.C. Beall, with pictures of Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball and Louis Armstrong arranged to resemble Neuman's distinctive, gap-toothed face.

Cohen, a Santa Rosa cartoon art historian and collector, says his favorite piece is the cover painting for the magazine's fifth anniversary, featuring 95 trademark icons of the '50s in watercolor, pencil and India ink. As Cohen says: "Mad is a form of social history."

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