Artisphere to Host Editorial Cartoon Exhibit

by ARLnow.com January 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm 3,322 8 Comments

What does the future hold for us in 2012? Who will win the presidential election? Will the economy improve? Will the world end?

Of course no one, not even the Mayans, can be 100 percent sure of the future. But today, at Artisphere, a group of political cartoonists will be giving soothsaying a shot.

Starting tonight, Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) will be hosting a “pop-up exhibit” called “ApocalypToon 2012.” The exhibit will provide “a humorous outlook on the year to come [featuring] works, some created exclusively for this exhibition, by renowned editorial and political cartoonists.”

Among the cartoonists whose creations will be on display: Kal (The Economist), Tom Toles (Washington Post), Jeff Danziger (Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post), Daryl Cagle (MSNBC), Matt Wuerker (Politico), Damien Glez (La Monde) and Dan Piraro of Bizzaro (syndicated).

The exhibit, which runs through Sunday, is free to view — but an opening party tonight has a $25 cover charge. The party, which kicks off at 6:00 p.m., will feature complimentary food, live music, a cash bar, and appearances by some of the cartoonists. Music will be provided by DJ Neekola with live percussionist Kamajian, DJ Manifesto (who plays violin during his sets), and by Suspicious Package, a local rock band comprised of several government and journalist types, including the cartoonist Toles.

  • Stitch_Jones

    Really? Political cartoons? Are flipbooks next?

    Newsflash: Pop culture footnotes are not art, any more than graffiti. Can we at least get “art” at the Artisphere? I realize the place is a tax dollar black hole, but at least give some local artists a chance.

    Why go to the Artisphere to see unclever partisan cartoons? Is this really going to be a draw?

    Political cartoons as an exhibit…wow.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      ^ meh

    • drax


  • Michael H.

    The Newseum has many political cartoons on display downtown. Many of those are interesting. I’ve also seen political cartoons (as well as mini sculptures that caricature politicians) at some of the famous museums in France. I don’t think this is a dumb idea, especially since this is part of the D.C. metro area.

    It’s also interesting that they are showing something that the Newseum might, given the fact that the Newseum used to be housed in that building.

    Perhaps it’s too little, too late, but I’ve noticed a couple changes with the Artisphere this month. First off, they are actually promoting their exhibitions outside of local artist groups. Maybe they did this before but I don’t remember hearing about many of their exhbits last year, even on ARLnow. Even if they did promote themselves here, I don’t recall.

    And that may have something to do with the second change, that they might finally be moving away from trying to be a hipper-than-thou, edgy, cool urban hangout that the old director was going for. From the few notices I read about Artisphere last year, it seemed like the place was completely focused on avant-garde, post-punk-type exhibits, as if a recent art school grad was in a candy store and showing what his small clique wanted to see. I know that that turned me off of the place.

    While art doesn’t need to be completely stuffy and formal, the fact that Arlington is a suburban county (urban in parts, but not the same as D.C.) should have been taken into account. The previous director(s) should also have understood that not everyone in the county is between the ages of 16 and 24 and not everyone is interested in all avant-garde, all-hipster all the time. It is publicly-funded so they should have made more of an attempt to reach more demographic groups.

    I still don’t think Artisphere will survive over the long-term, even with the recent changes. But I hope that they will continue to do things a little differently than they did last year.

    Will I go to this exhibit? Hmm, probably not. But I think it’s a little more interesting to read about than the other exhibits I’ve heard about there in the past.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      Why don’t you go to the upcoming Frida Kahlo exhibit (Artisohere is the only place in the USA where it will be shown), or one of the Shakespeare plays, or one of the Urban Arias? There actually is a fairly robust variety of shows and exhibits. You might be pleasantly surprised. I know that Artisphere is trying very hard to reach out to a broader audience. As Arlingtonians, we should all want this to succeed. It can be a great addition to our county.

      • MC

        +1 The Frida Kahlo exhibit is major, likely to draw people from out of the DC area. And the political cartoons will also appeal to a wide range of people who find civics interesting even if they don’t seek “art.” I am happy the Artisphere seeking to draw audiences, and offer something interesting in the process. Their success is beneficial to our community – let’s hope these events are well attended, that people visit Arlington and spend their dollars here buying a meal afterward, or a gift.

        • Arty

          Yeah, they might even buy a couple of post cards at the CVS…….

  • AS

    One of the world’s oldest art forms next to tattoos and various body mutilations is political cartoons.

    Through political cartoons, artists use their skills to comment visually on the world around them. They use the cartoon as a tool to promote ideas. Art critics have created the label “functionalism” as a way to describe art that has a useful purpose, in this case, promoting social good.

    The art usually acts as a visual metaphor to illustrate a point of view on current social and/or political topics.


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