Greetings Blogosphere!! I just returned from a five day vacation with the hubby in Washington D.C. and I’m going to be sharing the things we did as well as photos. I’m not going in order, rather I’ll be jumping around, and I’m starting with a political cartoon exhibit that we saw on our last day in D.C.
Rob Rogers is an award winning cartoonist who was fired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after his 25 year career as their editorial cartoonist and after the editorial page was taken over by a pro-chump Republican. He didn’t like the tone of Rogers’ cartoons and ultimately he was fired because his cartoons were critical of the so-called president. The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University stepped up and decided to exhibit the cartoons that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette refused to publish: The 18 works will be in the Atrium Galleries at the Flagg Building till October, when they will join a larger show set to open this autumn at the University of Pittsburgh.
When I learned of this exhibit, I jotted down the address and the opening hours so that hubby and I could view it while in D.C. this past week. It was so worth it!! I didn’t take photos of all of the cartoons but I’m hoping it piques the interest of anyone who lives in the area as well as others who might be on vacation in D.C. like we were.
We arrived shortly after it opened at 10:00 and we had the place to ourselves. That was an added bonus as every other museum we visited in D.C. was full of people. I’m glad people are interested in D.C.’s museums but it’s such a treat to be able to take our time and look at everything in this exhibit at our leisure and without obstruction.
The exhibit begins with a foreword from Sanjit Sethi, the Director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at GWU and I typed it out rather than display the photo:
The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design is dedicated to educating the next generation of cultural leaders. One important part of that mission is to support creative practices that critique the world around us – including our leaders and our government. With this in mind, we are pleased to be able to exhibit Spiked, The Unpublished Political Cartoons of Rob Rogers.
Artists have always been at the forefront of cultural and institutional critiques. They produce work that is intended to make us think, that can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable and that provides searing commentary on the way the world operates. For institutions like the Corcoran, remaining silent in the face of censorship of creative practices is not an option for our community, as it only condones the increasingly insidious and repressive measure we see being enacted on those who voice criticism or dissent.
Rob Rogers is a skilled practitioner who has a remarkable ability to provide the viewer social commentary through the lens of his timely and piercing illustrations. By showing his original work alongside his process sketches and his larger, color-saturated, digitized work, we have the ability to see more than his unpublished cartoons – we can gain keen insight into his practice. We can more clearly understand that these works are the result of decades of persistent practice. This work gives our community deep insight into creative methodologies of how to critique power, and it becomes a powerful point of departure for the people of this community to speak with each other about issues involving censorship, freedom of the press and artistic expression, journalistic and creative integrity, and the consequences to a democracy of hypernationalism.
It is clear that Rogers exemplifies the idea of “American genius” that the Corcoran was founded on. He provides us with the ability to witness that powerful intersection between creativity, social critique, satire, humor and our darkest selves. Spiked underlines a fundamental belief that our institution’s purpose is to cultivate creativity, provide insight and demonstrate the urgent need to critique and change systems around us.
Following are a handful of the unpublished cartoons from the exhibit:
Rob created a step by step guide in 2016 on what it takes to create an editorial cartoon and that is also on display. It’s fascinating as well as comical. I first took a photo of the entire strip but then realized that I wanted to be able to read it so I broke it down into segments:
I should have taken another photo of the bottom three that shows the progression of this particular cartoon. The final cartoon is labeled “Trumpzilla” and the caption reads: “My small hands don’t seem to be slowing me down at all!!”
The exhibit ends with this very fitting cartoon:
From this link I learned that the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design will be hosting a series of conversations regarding issues around censorship, freedom of the press, journalistic integrity and the consequences of nationalism to a democracy in collaboration with both the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) and GW’s School for Media and Public Affairs (SMPA). If I lived in the area I’d be checking out some of these discussions.
The exhibition is open to the public until October 14, 2018, Tues-Fri, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. & Weekends, 1 – 6 p.m. (except it’s not open August 11 or August 12, 2018). The Atrium Galleries at Flagg Building; Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, 500 17th Street NW. Do go if you can. I highly recommend it!!