Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Political cartoonist visits UIS for exhibit, ECCE series and PAPS program

The University of Illinois at Springfield series Political Art and the Public Sphere (PAPS)will resume for the spring 2009 semester with an open discussion with syndicated columnist and political cartoonist Ted Rall on Friday, February 27 at 1 p.m. in the Visual Arts Gallery, located in Health and Sciences Building room 201 on the UIS campus.

Rall's collection of cartoons, called Search and Destroy, will be on display at the Visual Arts Gallery from Thursday, February 26 through Monday, March 23. He will also participated in an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker’s Series artist’s talk in the Brookens Auditorium on Thursday, February 26 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. An opening reception will follow, including food and refreshments, in the gallery from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The exhibit and both events are free and open to the public.

Rall’s first cartoons were published in the Kettering-Oakwood (OH) Times. Inspired after meeting pop artist Keith Haring in a Manhattan subway station in 1986, Rall began posting his cartoons on New York City streets.

In 1991, Rall’s cartoons were signed for national syndication by San Francisco Chronicle Features, and later moved to Universal Press Syndicate. His cartoons now appear in more than 100 publications around the United States, including the Los Angeles Times, Tucson Weekly, Willamette Week, Newark Star-Ledger, Village Voice and The New York Times.

Rall considers himself a neo-traditionalist who uses a unique drawing style to revive the aggressive approach of Thomas Nast, who viewed editorial cartoons as a vehicle for change. His focus is on issues important to ordinary working people. His work comments on un- and under-employment, the environment and popular culture, and political and social trends.

During the PAPS event, Rall’s political cartoons will be on display in the gallery, followed by an open discussion with Rall about his cartoons.

Each month, Political Art and the Public Sphere will feature a showing or performance of some kind of “political art,” followed by a group discussion of the issues it raises. The basic idea behind PAPS is to consider how ‘art’ raises provocative social and political questions, noted Richard Gilman-Opalsky, coordinator of the series and professor of political philosophy at UIS.

“Public spheres are the places where people come together to communicate, to evaluate, and to circulate ideas and arguments,” Gilman-Opalsky said. “In the public sphere, people form a collective political opinion and will. Ultimately and ideally, the public sphere brings the interests and demands of the public to bear on those who hold power.”

For more information about this program or the PAPS series, contact Gilman-Opalsky by phone at 217/206-8328 or by e-mail at rgilm3@uis.edu.

For more information about the Visual Arts Gallery, go to www.uis.edu/visualarts or contact the gallery at 217/206-6506 or gallery@uis.edu. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.