NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The world’s most famous spooky family is haunting the halls of a different mansion among the hills of Nashville.

Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is hosting none other than the Addams Family within its exhibit dedicated to the work of cartoonist Charles Addams.

Addams is best known for his delightful and ghoulish creatures that spawned a classic TV sitcom, live-action movies, a Broadway musical and an upcoming series on Netflix featuring the sullen teen Wednesday Addams.

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Addams began his career at The New Yorker with his first sketch in 1932 and he continued drawing for the weekly magazine until his death in 1988.

The exhibit is split among multiple rooms within the historic Cheekwood mansion, with each room dedicated to a specific theme. There are pieces showing Addams’ technique with preparatory drawings evolving into the finished product, offering a glimpse of the art coming to life in the process.

  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit

The exhibition breathes new life into what most have only been able to experience in a three-inch by three-inch cartoon in print with the full, larger view of Addams’ work displaying the nuance and shading of the artist’s skill.

But perhaps more shocking than the ghoulish adventures of the Addams Family is how ahead of its time and subversive Addams’ non-family-related pieces are.

His work evokes a social commentary on marriage, love, domesticity and even the absurdity of art itself. Coming into Addams’ world, you don’t know who you are going to meet or what social mores will be challenged. But each cartoon deserves its own direct consideration.

“An important thing is, when you come to this exhibition, you have to spend time looking at each individual work because if you just walk by quickly, some of these details you’ll miss. This is an exhibition of contemplation,” explained Vice President of Museum Affairs, James Tottis.

  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit
  • Charles Addams exhibit

The exhibit, which contains some pieces never before published that were rejected by editors, is full of commentary just as relevant today as it was when it was first drawn by Addams.

Something else surprising in the quiet halls of the exhibit is peals of laughter and giggles coming from visitors as Addams thumbs his nose at society while finding the macabre in the mundane with his artistic expression and captions.

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“What we hope everyone walks away with is the thought ‘Charles Addams is a funny guy!’ and there is a whole breadth of things beyond the Addams Family, who are funny and we all love and are dear to us, but each one of these cartoons tells a really funny, compelling story,” explained Tottis.

Inside the World of Charles Addams is on display at Cheekwood through Jan. 8, 2023. Click here for tickets. Addams was posthumously inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame on Nov. 3.