FAMILY TRAITS Exhibit Reception

FAMILY TRAITS Exhibit Reception / Gallery Talk

The Vermont Folklife Center is pleased to announce a public reception to celebrate the exhibition Family Traits: Art, Humor, and Everyday Life, the art and life of Stanley Lyndes, on Friday, April 28st from 5-7PM. Enjoy food and drink—and a gallery talk, Family Humor: More Stories, More Laughs, More Characters, presented by Stanley Lyndes' granddaughter, Dawn Andrews.

Dawn will share stories and humor that add context and depth to the exhibit, as well as more stories about "Gramp" and the characters in his work. Dawn describes her grandfather as “a noticer.” He observed the quirks and foibles of the people with whom he interacted every day. He remembered each peculiar turn of phrase and was struck by the absurd qualities of everyday life that usually go unnoticed as “normal.” Like an anthropologist or a folklorist, he was able to reflect on his life at a distance, and he saw terrific humor everywhere.

While a student at the Pratt Institute, Stanley illustrated a book of sketches that inspired, among other things, the name of the exhibition, “Family Traits.” Dawn will display and discuss excerpted sketches from the book, delving beneath the surface humor to share the family stories and characters that inspired them—and that have become touchstones through the generations of her family.  

The Vermont Folklife Center is trilled to host this event, and the exhibition—as both a showcase of Stanley’s artwork and an opportunity to see and reflect on the ways families create their own unique cultures through humor, traditions, and storytelling. Folklorists have long been fascinate with expressions of familiar culture—Zeitlin, Kotkin, and Baker describe this phenomenon vividly in, “A Celebration of American Family Folklore.”

“From countless incidents, families choose a few stories to pass on, the funniest or perhaps the most telling. From all of the garbled baby talk, a single utterance may become a family expression. As raw experiences are transformed into family [folklore], they are codified in forms that can be easily recalled, retold, and enjoyed. Their drama and beauty are heightened, and the family’s past becomes accessible as it is reshaped according to its needs and desires.”

We all celebrate these kinds of family connections when we bake that special birthday cake that our mothers made for us as children or tell stories about those special ornaments on the holiday tree. This is how family folklore works. The only difference is that Stanley Lyndes did this in spades!


Family Traits will be on display through May 15th. 

More details on the exhibit available here: Family Traits: Art, Humor, and Everyday Life.