Will you Step Into My Parlour?” Nicole Hollander’s Living Room

Writer and cartoonist Nicole Hollander invites you into her Chicago living room sometime between now and Sunday, November 17.

The feisty feminist was sparked into moving her books, furniture, and artwork into the Lillstreet Art Center, 4401 North Ravenswood, after a friend told her, “I want to sit in your living room all by myself and just look at your things.” Hollander thought, “Well, maybe somebody else would, too.”

The exhibition will blend literature, performance, and visual art, “transport[ing] visitors into the atmosphere that stimulates the artist’s imaginative, feminine focused, and politically provocative work.”

Feminine focused, indeed! For more than 30 years (till last year), Nicole presented, on the comic-strip pages of the nation’s newspapers, a 50-something, easily irritated, acerbic dame called Sylvia (based on her mother and her witty friends), who offered dry-as-a martini observations on life, politics, and the male of the species. On our site, in “Sylvia Speaks! The WVFC Interview with Cartoonist Nicole Hollander,” the opinionated artist gave a bracing interview on, among other things, political corruption, smoking (Sylvia would never quit), and getting old in America:

“There should be more equality than there is. Among everyone, of course. To be old in this country, or black, or gay, or a woman. At the beginning of my book [The Sylvia Chronicles: 30 Years of Graphic Misbehavior from Reagan to Obama], I say, “Getting old in America: Best to do it somewhere else.

“France, maybe? But I wasn’t smart enough to learn the language.”

Nicole now does a wonderful daily blog called Bad Girl Chats. She recycles old cartoons (that are still relevant) and links to news reports, essays, and humor pieces that will appeal to her readers. She didn’t just stop cartooning—she morphed into something new. 

Hollander expects to step into her Lillstreet parlour occasionally to conduct workshops, readings, and discussions that will complete an interactive picture of her life as an artist.

For more details, and to see a charming video of Hollander and her exhibit, go to lillstreetgallery.com/nicole-hollander.