Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic

By: Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum on March 18th, 2016

February 27 – May 29, 2016

This retrospective of the photographic illustrator of I SPY  books published by Scholastic Inc. includes large-scale photographs and Wick’s elaborate sets and models offering challenging visual riddles, puzzles, and optical illusions that challenge children and adults alike.

Photographic illustrator Walter Wick – known for his I SPY search-and-find images teeming with toys, machines, and illusions – leads programs February 27-28 at the always-admission-free Woodson Art Museum in Wausau during the opening weekend of an exhibition featuring his whimsical images that engage curious minds of all ages. During opening-weekend programs, Wick will discuss his mesmerizing images, creative process, and playful concepts.

Included in the exhibition are three-dimensional models – comparable to small-scale movie sets – that Wick designs and arranges, along with photo illustrations from the I SPY and Can You See What I See? series, Seymour books, and Wick’s award-winning A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder, and Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks, a book of photographic illusions. Nine images feature accompanying interactive activities offering questions or puzzles to solve by closely examining the photo. These directly engage viewers with specific tasks that are do-able in the gallery.
Wick’s challenging search-and-find photographs, visual riddles, and playful scenes are cherished by legions of readers of these Scholastic Inc. books, with over forty-five million copies in print worldwide.

Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic, organized by the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut, remains on view at the Woodson Art Museum through May 29. A Joint Effort Marketing grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism supports expanded Walter Wick exhibition marketing efforts.

Opening Weekend with Walter Wick

On the exhibition’s opening day, Wick shares his belief in the power of play and the story of his journey as a photographer and how creative exploration at a young age nurtured his artistic ambitions. Learning through Play, Saturday, February 27, 3:30-5 p.m., includes a book signing at 4:30 p.m.

On Sunday, February 28, 1-2 p.m., Wick provides an in-depth look – from concepts to intricate studio processes – behind his award-winning photographic illustrations, including highlights from his famous I SPY and Can You See What I See? series. During Behind the Scenes with Walter Wick, he explains how he blends art, games, illusion, and science, in his photographic illustrations, including reactions he’s received over the years from sharp-eyed readers.

About Walter Wick

Miami-based artist Walter Wick began his career honing technical skills as a commercial photographer. Later, he opened his own New York City studio, produced work for magazines such as Psychology Today, Discover, and Newsweek, and for ten years designed and created photographic puzzles for Games magazine, where his career path intersected with that of Will Shortz who eventually became Games magazine editor. Wick went on to build a career creating mind-boggling photo illustrations, often from his intricately designed model sets, for search-and-find masterpieces and optical-illusion images.

“In the world of puzzles, only a few people have the ability to create an original, elegant, well-designed challenge and present it with great artistic sense. And when that artistic sense is photographic  . . . well, I can think of only one living ‘puzzle person’ who has it – Walter Wick,” said Shortz, who now is the New York Times crossword editor, director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and National Public Radio’s puzzlemaster. “  . . . Now, with this exhibition, Walter is getting overdue recognition for his ingenious, beautiful sort of play – art that makes you use your brain.”

Interactive Options and Programs

Opportunities for intergenerational engagement abound at the Woodson Art Museum through programs for all ages and exhibition extras.
Art Park: Delve into imaginative play with thaumatropes, flextangles, and fling zings in the Museum’s family interactive gallery.
Audio Tour: Get insights about selected artwork on view from photographic illustrator Walter Wick by listening on a Museum iPod, your smartphone, or tablet; all free!
Activity Guide: Explore Walter Wick’s playful visual riddles, optical illusions, and artful assemblages via printed or online versions for in-gallery or at-home use.
• Books: Offering an array of intergenerational activities, Walter Wick books are available for purchase at the Museum’s Visitor Services desk.

Plan to visit often to experience an array of programs and presentations for all ages and follow us on social media pages.

Exhibition Highlights

All artwork courtesy of New Britain Museum of American Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Walter and Linda Wick.

For details about special room rates during Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic, contact the following partner hotel and mention “I SPY art museum” or the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s Walter Wick exhibition when inquiring.


Fairfield - color


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