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Artists Against the War Panel tonight

Artists Against the War
A panel discussion and book signing with Steve Brodner, Frances Jetter, Victor Juhasz, Peter Kuper and Wendy Popp
February 10, 2011 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Based on the 2008 Society of Illustrators’ exhibit, “Artists Against the War”, Artists Against the War draws from the history of graphic protest and demonstrates the many ways that illustrators — in comics, editorial cartoons, illustrations for magazine articles, and so on — have reflected on the representations and misrepresentations of war, specifically the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The history of commercial illustration in the United States encompasses the images of artists like Charles Dana Gibson, Maxfield Parish, N.C. Wyeth, James Montgomery Flagg, Frederic Remington, and Norman Rockwell. These and many other artists helped to shape and define the American experience. After the Second World War, a divide grew between the worlds of illustration and fine art. Commercial publishers bankrolled illustrators to produce images on demand that were essential to marketing. Fine artists, meanwhile, generally struggled on their own to create unique and contemplative works of a decidedly non-mercantile nature.

Early on, some editorial illustrators, while still on paid assignments sponsored by commercial interests, managed to bridge this gap between illustration and high art—creating evocative works that told of real world events. Harper’s Weekly employed Winslow Homer as a war correspondent, sending him to the front lines of the American Civil War to sketch soldiers on the battlefield. Afterwards Homer evolved into one of America’s finest 19th-century painters. Business-related foundations aside, illustration commonly shared with fine art—up until the post WWII era—an exploration of the world through the traditions of objective realism. That relationship disappeared with the ascendancy of abstract art. The high art world is currently unable to provide thoughtful examinations that connect with the general public.

Surprisingly, the world of commercial illustration offers a model for the advancement of contemporary fine art. Endeavoring to communicate clearly, illustrators never abandoned realist aesthetics, which are the most direct way to deliver a thought or concept to a large audience. More importantly, illustration art does not wallow in the cynical disengagement and alienation that is so fashionable in today’s high art. Therein lies the potency and importance of Artists Against the Wars.

Steve Brodner will lead a panel discussion with Frances Jetter, Victor Juhasz, Peter Kuper and Wendy Popp. A book signing will follow.

$15 non-members, $10 members, $7 students

Parsons Illustration Faculty included in Society of Illustrators show

billout anti-war

Several artists affiliated with Parsons Illustration are featured in “Artists Against the War“, a show presented by The Society of Illustrators in collaboration The Nation magazine. Parsons faculty members Wendy Popp and Guy Billout, as well as Illustration alum Peter Kuper all have works on view.

kuper anti-art

The official press release reads:

This show is the expression of over 60 of the top graphic artists and illustrators working in the United States and abroad whose anguish has compelled them to produce works that challenge the self-destructive ignorance, indifference, incompetence and corruption that is the result of US Middle East foreign policy. These works of art will give a voice to those whose views are not represented by the mainstream media. We will be using this forum as a way to support those most directly affected by the harsh consequences of military combat—the brave men and women who serve their country as well as their family members who must live with the affects of war long after the parades are over.

You can view images from the online show here and/or visit the Society before the show closes on January 26th, 2008. Additionally, there will be a panel discussion called, “The Media: The First Casualty in Iraq” which takes place Wednesday, January 23rd at 7 p.m. ($10/$6 for students).

popp anti-war

The Society of Illustrators
128 East 63rd Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues)
New York, NY 10021-7303
Tel: (212) 838-2560
E-Mail: info@societyillustrators.org

[Images by Guy Billout, Peter Kuper, and Wendy Popp.]