Show: Endless Imagination of Bob Staake

In a career that’s spanned more than 40 years and included some 80 books, thousands of newspaper and magazine illustrations and many New Yorker covers, author and illustrator Bob Staake has never had a solo show of his work.

Until now.

“The Endless Imagination of Bob Staake” will be on exhibit at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis [Mass.] from July 12 to Oct. 15, with an opening reception on Friday, July 14 at 5:30 p.m.

The Cape Cod Chronicle talks to Bob regarding how he helped organize the exhibit.

“If you want to tell the story of me as an artist, you have to get into the studio,” he said.

The show will touch on every aspect of Staake’s career. There’s a surfboard he designed in California, some of the thousands of illustrations he’d done for MAD Magazine, the New York Times and the Washington Post, where he illustrated the weekly Style Invitational column for 30 years. There will be book covers from some of his dozens of kids books, numerous New Yorker covers (including the popular “Reflections” that appeared on the issue following President Barack Obama’s inauguration) as well as a step-by-step process of how they are created, original paintings both abstract and representational, posters both real and fake (“fauxsters,” he calls the latter), and a video showing his process in creating covers as well as his animation designs…

More details at the Cape Cod Museum of Art (with a video of a high-spirited Bob talking about his art).

From magazines to animation, from publishing to products, from advertising to newspapers, Staake’s prolific art has been used in virtually every form of mass communication. But Staake is also an accomplished fine artist working in a seemingly limitless array of aesthetic styles and mediums. His paintings, prints, sculptures, objects, assemblages, prototypes and drawings range from the humorous to the ethereal, from the representational to the abstract. 

4 thoughts on “Show: Endless Imagination of Bob Staake

  1. He did the weekly strip “Dead Presidents” for the Washington Post from January 2000 to ???? (at least 2009 or so I think). I am a WaPo online subscriber, which apparently isn’t good enough to give me access to their archives or I’d love to read these 🙁

    I love Staake’s work and wish mightily I could get to Cape Cod for that show.

    1. Let me clarify the “Dead Presidents” thing. Actually, Bob was the weekly cartoonist for The Washington Post’s humor contest, The Style Invitational, which ran for almost 30 years, 1993-2022. (It’s now on Substack at The Gene Pool, The Invitational had all kinds of humor and wordplay contests, and every week Bob would illustrate that contest’s sample entry. And a couple of times a year, we’d have caption contests each featuring several of Bob’s cartoons.
      “Dead Presidents” was a VERY short-lived experiment in 2000 to take the Invitational in a different direction; a huge reader reaction soon prompted a return to the usual contest format.
      Pat Myers
      Empress of The Invitational

  2. Bob Staake was also the resident artist for the “Style Invitational”, which was unceremoniously cancelled by the Washington Post in late December 2022. Since then, the reborn “Invitational” (sans “style”, but also sans “editorial censorship”) has been hosted at Gene Weingarten’s (a.k.a. The Czar’s) Substack page; see:

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