The Walt Disney Family Museum Reexamines Alice in Wonderland With Upcoming Art Exhibition

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The Walt Disney Family Museum will feature a new art exhibition showcasing contemporary artist Camille Rose Garcia, alongside works by Disney legend Mary Blair.

The Walt Disney Family Museum - Camille Rose Garcia exhibit

The exhibition “Camille Rose Garcia: Down the Rabbit Hole” updates the enduring classic with distinctive illustrations

Garcia’s aesthetics have pushed illustration further into the art world and brought it to the attention of a new, younger generation

The Walt Disney Family Museum presents the exhibition “Camille Rose Garcia: Down the Rabbit Hole.” On view starting May 9, this art exhibition in San Francisco features some 40 works by Garcia, alongside seven “Alice in Wonderland” concept paintings by Disney artist Mary Blair from the Museum’s collection. Organized by guest curator Tere Romo, the exhibition celebrates not only Garcia and Blair’s artistry across decades and artistic styles, but also the power of art to draw us into magical worlds that spark engagement and inspiration.

Since its publication in 1865, Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” has been reinterpreted visually in a wide range of artistic styles and media, including as an animated Walt Disney film in 1951. Over half a century later, Garcia has updated the enduring classic with her distinctive illustrations that capture a young girl’s surreal adventures after following a rabbit down a hole. In this exhibition of Garcia’s book illustrations, Alice’s encounters with the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and Red Queen are quirky renditions of the main characters set against colorful backdrops. With her conscious disregard for perspective or scale in her compositions, Garcia creates a fresh and contemporary depiction of the dreamlike story. Her illustrations not only draw from a Goth sensibility, but also the thriving “low-brow art” movement in Los Angeles and its references to classic cartoons, 60’s TV sitcoms, rock music, and comic books. However, in keeping with Lewis’ intended audience, the illustrations retain the animation quality of the Disney film that continues to appeal to all generations.

Included in the exhibition are classic works by Disney legend Mary Blair. Credited with introducing modern art to the Disney studio, Mary Blair’s work was very adventuresome during the 1940s and 50s, especially in her use of asymmetrical shapes in her illustrations of animals, which created more dynamism and visually compelling scenes. Of the many films she contributed to, it was “Alice in Wonderland” that bears her influence as an artist in its bright colors and all-encompassing imagery that visually entices audiences into entering magical worlds.

“Blair and Garcia may have half a century separating them, but they both were carving out new territory. Blair was one of the few women in the animation business; her position is a credit to Disney’s foresight. Garcia’s aesthetics have pushed illustration further into the art world and brought it to the attention of a new, younger generation,” says Romo.

As Garcia stated in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2010, “The original John Tenniel illustrations were always some of my favorites and those were definitely lodged in my head. I wanted to stay true to his vision but I’m so influenced by Disney. I loved the backgrounds in their early movies [Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio], so I watched a lot of those films to try to get more of a color feel. They were all done in the 1930s with watercolor, which has that very classic touch. Using that was my vision for the work.”

“I always liked the themes of Alice and playing with the idea of landscape being somewhat surreal, cartoonish, not totally based in reality. The story lends itself to the kind of work I do anyway, the sort of shifting of realities,” Garcia continued.

“Camille Rose Garcia: Down the Rabbit Hole” will be on display at The Walt Disney Family Museum from May 9 through November 3, 2013. For more information, visit

About The Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum presents the fascinating story and achievements of Walt Disney, the man who raised animation to an art form, transformed the film industry, tirelessly pursued innovation, and created a global and distinctively American legacy. Opened in October 2009, the 40,000 square foot animation museum features the newest technology and historic materials and artifacts to bring Disney’s achievements to life, with interactive museum galleries that include early drawings and animation, movies, music, listening stations, a spectacular model of Disneyland and much more. The Walt Disney Museum is open Wednesdays through Monday from 10 am to 6 pm.

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Andi Wang
Walt Disney Family Museum
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