Little Histories of Cinema. Boing, Boing! UPA: The Revolution of Modern Animation
Activity

Little Histories of Cinema. Boing, Boing! UPA: The Revolution of Modern Animation

in progress

Children's film series

«To talk about animation design in the fifties without mentioning United Productions of America (UPA) is like talking about the great film comics without mentioning Chaplin or Keaton.» Amid Amidi

In the late 1940s, a group of animators and artists came up with a new way of making animated films in a style that was close to avant-garde art as well as jazz, and nothing like the work being produced by the major production companies of the time such as Disney, Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Warner Bros. Many of these artists converged at the United Productions of America (UPA) studios.

UPA was to the fifties what Disney had been to the thirties: an inescapable reference in the world of animation. In fact, one was the offspring of the other, given that the founders of UPA had left Disney due to irreconcilable artistic differences and industrial relations issues. The studio founded by these «Disney rebels» broke away from the established canon in favour of a contemporary graphic style based on simple lines and limited, expressive colour and animation, which was attractive and stimulating for adults as well as children.

Unlike other studios, UPA respected the vision and personal style of individual artists, who included animation greats such as Bill Hurtz, Robert Cannon, Jules Engel, Ted Parmelee, Paul Julian and John Hubley. Like the innovative architecture and graphic art of the time (Stuart Davis, Ben Sahn, Saul Steinberg, etc.), the animators tackled new subject matter and were committed to innovation on all fronts. They worked with some of the best jazz musicians of the time, including Dizzy Gillespie, Shorty Rogers and Chico Hamilton, and with one of the most popular creators of children's books, the writer known as Dr. Seuss (The Cat in the Hat). The architect John Lautner, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed a modern studio for them in Burbank, where, in keeping with their characteristic style, they set up a much more flexible work regime. Some time later they opened branches in New York and London. The UPA immediately garnered acclaim from audiences and critics alike, so much so that their work was exhibited at the New York MoMA in 1955.

Known as the creators of the ever-popular Mr. Magoo, the UPA, with Stephen Bosustow at the helm and John Hubley as artistic director, also produced many other short films, such as the legendary Gerald Mc Boing Boing, Rooty Toot Toot and Christopher Crumpet, as well as some of the finest advertisements and commercial films of the time. With three Oscars and nine nominations in barely 14 years of existence, the work of UPA is still considered exemplary for the rhythm, colour and characteristic stylised graphics of its films.
The study and recovery of UPA films has been hindered by the limited specific bibliographic material and the fact that most of its works have never been released on DVD. The program is rounded off with a selection of works from the same period by artists from other studios who were also committed to a new way of understanding cartoons.

Programmed by Carolina López Caballero

see more show less

Children’s film series

«To talk about animation design in the fifties without mentioning United Productions of America (UPA) is like talking about the great film comics without mentioning Chaplin or Keaton.» Amid Amidi

In the late 1940s, a group of animators and artists came up with a new way of making animated films in a style that was close to avant-garde art as well as jazz, and nothing like the work being produced by the major production companies of the time such as Disney, Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Warner Bros. Many of these artists converged at the United Productions of America (UPA) studios.

UPA was to the fifties what Disney had been to the thirties: an inescapable reference in the world of animation. In fact, one was the offspring of the other, given that the founders of UPA had left Disney due to irreconcilable artistic differences and industrial relations issues. The studio founded by these «Disney rebels» broke away from the established canon in favour of a contemporary graphic style based on simple lines and limited, expressive colour and animation, which was attractive and stimulating for adults as well as children.

Unlike other studios, UPA respected the vision and personal style of individual artists, who included animation greats such as Bill Hurtz, Robert Cannon, Jules Engel, Ted Parmelee, Paul Julian and John Hubley. Like the innovative architecture and graphic art of the time (Stuart Davis, Ben Sahn, Saul Steinberg, etc.), the animators tackled new subject matter and were committed to innovation on all fronts. They worked with some of the best jazz musicians of the time, including Dizzy Gillespie, Shorty Rogers and Chico Hamilton, and with one of the most popular creators of children’s books, the writer known as Dr. Seuss (The Cat in the Hat). The architect John Lautner, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed a modern studio for them in Burbank, where, in keeping with their characteristic style, they set up a much more flexible work regime. Some time later they opened branches in New York and London. The UPA immediately garnered acclaim from audiences and critics alike, so much so that their work was exhibited at the New York MoMA in 1955.

Known as the creators of the ever-popular Mr. Magoo, the UPA, with Stephen Bosustow at the helm and John Hubley as artistic director, also produced many other short films, such as the legendary Gerald Mc Boing Boing, Rooty Toot Toot and Christopher Crumpet, as well as some of the finest advertisements and commercial films of the time. With three Oscars and nine nominations in barely 14 years of existence, the work of UPA is still considered exemplary for the rhythm, colour and characteristic stylised graphics of its films.
The study and recovery of UPA films has been hindered by the limited specific bibliographic material and the fact that most of its works have never been released on DVD. The program is rounded off with a selection of works from the same period by artists from other studios who were also committed to a new way of understanding cartoons.

Programmed by Carolina López Caballero

see more show less
dates
14 February 2009 – 14 March 2009
price
Free admission. MACBA Auditorium. Limited seating. Family activity
title
Little Histories of Cinema. Boing, Boing! UPA: The Revolution of Modern Animation
dates
14 February 2009 – 14 March 2009
title
Little Histories of Cinema. Boing, Boing! UPA: The Revolution of Modern Animation
price
Free admission. MACBA Auditorium. Limited seating. Family activity
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