In the midst of election season, a cartoon can have quite an impact. The Eide/Dalrymple Gallery is starting the 2012-13 year with “The Art of Editorial Cartoons,” a collection of over seventy cartoons by thirty-six artists.
“We are all primed to be thinking about politics these days with the elections coming up, and seeing a large collection of political cartoons is a great opportunity,” Dr. Joel Johnson, associate professor of Government and International Affairs, said.
The exhibit is displayed in the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery located in the Center for Visual Arts. It will run through Saturday Oct. 6, with the gallery reception taking place Friday, Oct. 5 from 5-7 p.m.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Ann Telnaes of the Washington Post will have her animations featured in the exhibit, and will also give a special presentation about her work in an interview with Johnson following the gallery reception.
In addition to Telnaes, the exhibit will feature the work of other top American editorial cartoonists, including Steven Greenberg of the Ventura Register, Jimmy Marguiles of The Record, Jim Allen of the Chicago Sun Times, Steve Artley, who was twice awarded “Best Editorial Cartoonist of the Year” by the Minnesota Newspapers Association and Sioux Falls-based artist Hector Curriel.
Historical cartoons by Thomas Nast in the 1860s and Carey Orr in the 1940s are also on display.
The exhibit is supported by the North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society whose conference occurs Oct. 5-6 at the downtown Sioux Falls Public Library. The shared dates are no coincidence. Many of the featured artists will be able to attend the gallery reception, giving Augie students the opportunity to mingle with the cartoonists.
“These are very witty and hardworking people who can think on their feet,” Lindsay Twa, assistant professor of art and the director of the gallery, said. Each cartoon has a different look to it, adding to the variety of the exhibit and showcasing the difference between the many artists.
“We wanted to include a few cartoons from everybody, however even with the short hand of cartoons there is still a wide diversity of style,” Twa said. “They all express an opinion and frequently it’s a pointed opinion.”
Augustana has had a tradition of exhibiting cartoons now and again. Political cartoons are particularly appropriate with the season’s emphasis on political events and elections, and they have the ability to marry both fine arts and journalism.
“It really is an underestimated form of persuasion,” Johnson said. “Politics is not only about what we see on television or in the newspaper. You can get the point across better with a sharply drawn cartoon than with a 500 word essay. With this medium an artist can capture the character of a candidate succinctly.”
The gallery is open to the public and free of charge. Despite the reception falling on a busy homecoming week, Twa hopes students will carve out some time to visit the exhibit.
“It was just too good to pass up,” Twa said. “I’m excited we could collaborate and bring this to campus.” Johnson also hopes students will take advantage of the opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to it myself,” Johnson said. “These cartoons can prompt us to be grown ups. There’s a kind of maturity that comes from reading a well-crafted political cartoon.”