Monday, October 31, 2022

"The Art of the News: Comics Journalism" Exhibition

From the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

The Art of the News: Comics Journalism will be on view at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum on November 12.

The exhibition is the first major retrospective devoted to the increasingly influential genre of comics journalism.

At a time of eroded public faith in traditional news media, comics journalism has emerged as a powerful antidote to the dissemination of inaccurate information and fake news.

Practitioners in this field cover news or nonfiction events using the framework of comics, re-asserting the ethical value of truth-telling, while at the same time highlighting the subjectivity of news coverage.

The Art of the News is organized by the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA).

The exhibition is curated by University of Oregon Comics Studies professor Katherine Kelp-Stebbins, with associate curator and director of Comics Studies, Professor Ben Saunders.

It debuted at the JSMA in the fall of 2021.

“Without shying away from vital questions about the role of representation in the perception of reality, comics journalists are nevertheless telling stories that urgently need to be told—in an immediate and accessible way,” says Kelp-Stebbins.

“As such, the best works of comics journalism stand as compelling examples of how the news might be reimagined as an artistic practice.”

The exhibition spotlights original artwork and artifacts representing over thirty years of reportage by New York Times best-selling author-artist Joe Sacco, a foundational figure in the field and graduate of the University of Oregon.

Accompanying Sacco’s groundbreaking work are key pieces from an international group of artists who have developed comics journalism and are pushing the genre in new directions, including Gerardo Alba, Dan Archer, Tracy Chahwan, Jesús Cossio, Sarah Glidden, Omar Khouri, Victoria Lomasko, Sarah Mirk, Ben Passmore, Yazan al-Saadi and Andy Warner

The exhibition focuses on both the finished works and the methodology and techniques that each artist employs, including the painstaking gathering of information through extensive research and interviews, and the labor-intensive production of comics pages.

The Art of the News highlights the ethical imperatives that drive this form of documentation, as comics journalists reject the uninspired sensationalism of “click-bait” headlines and false objectivity.

Against the rapid flow of the 24-hour news cycle, they demonstrate the principles of in-depth inquiry, insisting on the human dignity of the subjects whose lives they document, from the experiences of displaced persons in refugee camps to that of frontline workers in a pandemic to protestors of environmental devastation or race-based state-sponsored murder and Putin-era censorship. 

The exhibition is accompanied by The Art of the News - Comics Journalism, the first museum catalogue devoted to the international emergence of comics journalism in the two decades since Joe Sacco first published “Palestine” in 1993.

This project and the scholarship it represents emerge from Sacco’s alma mater, the University of Oregon, where he first studied journalism.

The catalogue features not only Sacco’s work, but also that of other comics journalists featured in the exhibit. Hailing from eight countries, the comics journalists represented demonstrate the truly global nature of this literary and artistic medium.

The Art of the News: Comics Journalism is made possible with the generous support of the Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment, The Ford Family Foundation and Jeannie Schulz.

Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon.

The Art of the News: Comics Journalism
November 12, 2022 - May 7, 202
The Ohio State University
Sullivant Hall
1813 N High Street
Columbus OH 43210

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