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Bear Witness with SVACE

Steve Brodner curates Illustration & Cartooning faculty colleagues in “Art as Witness"

SVA Continuing Education faculty member Steve Brodner has co-curated a special exhibition, Art as Witness: Political Graphics 2016 – 18, now on view at SVA Galleries. Along with SVACE faculty members, the group show features legends Milton Glaser, Roz Chast and Art Spiegelman, and a diverse group of artist-activists from the SVA community. Each artist's work addresses the issues and controversies surrounding the most polarizing presidential election and administration in recent history, according to the curators, Brodner and Francis Di Tommaso, SVA's Director of Galleries. (Read: SVA Gets Politically Charged for Art as Witness)

Professionally, Brodner is deeply invested in political commentary through illustration and cartooning. He frequently contributes to The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and other news sources. Brodner participates in guest lectures and panel discussions, like Political Cartooning: Now, More Than Ever at MOCCA Fest 2018. He lectured at SVACE’s inaugural Art & Activism event in 2017, and his courses help students to communicate their political statements — to sharpen their mighty pens.

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“In this time of political crisis it is time for all citizens to make their voices heard,” writes Brodner. "Art can speak for us and also encourage us to speak out all the stronger.”
Steve Brodner
Exhibition co-curator and SVACE faculty member

Art as Witness features Brodner's fellow faculty members from the Division of Continuing Education, including Felipe Galindo, Viktor Koen and Seth Tobocman. We reached out to hear from them about the artwork they will exhibit.

Felipe Galindo writes, “I'm exhibiting four editorial cartoons about the current administration's policies on immigration and Trump's response to the Puerto Rico Hurricane crisis.”

He continues, “My work raises awareness about the extremism of the Trump administration. Current policies impact millions of people, especially underprivileged communities, in ways that are inhumane and un-American. My images are a critical commentary about the perplexing times we are living in this country.”

Viktor Koen resurrects Alecto, an artwork that premiered at the Benaki Museum, Athens in June 2018 as part of the International Athens Photo Festival in Greece. Koen reveals a mythological inspiration for contribution to Art as Witness.

“Alecto personifies an abrupt and violent awakening to demons deeply rooted in our culture of inequality, use and abuse. She is also quite possibly the visceral expression of unbearable angst and fits of desperation in having no say to rapid changes in our moral landscape, value of truth and the banality of greed.”

“Pacified for too long by delusions of a new found social media activism, we clicked ourselves to sleep. Now, directly faced by the tangible results of lethargy, we frantically search for viable vehicles of expression towards change that resonate far from likes and dislikes. This is exactly where addressing contemporary issues through mythological symbols proves true to qualities we know as timeless and hauntingly relevant.

<p "="">Here is Viktor <span class="il">Koen</span><span class="redactor-invisible-space">’s <em>Alecto Rising</em>, a digitally produced photo collage of a mythological creature.</span>

"According to Hesiod, Alecto, one of the three Furies in Greek legend, was the goddess of Anger. Charged with punishing those who committed moral crimes against mortals, she executed curses pronounced upon criminals and tortured the guilty with stings of remorse and inflicted madness.“ -Viktor Koen on his work, Alecto Rising, 2018, 118” x 118”, digital print

Installation view of Viktor <span class="il">Koen</span><span class="redactor-invisible-space">, <em>Alecto Rising</em>, a digitally produced photo collage of a mythological creature.</span>

"So this is too an image of strength as Rorschach ink splats externalize the fury’s psyche and uncontrollable gag reflexes to injustices so deep that one, no one, can take no more. Alecto again assumes her mythological roots, functioning as guard and conscience but most importantly, as call to personal and civic action.“ -Viktor Koen

<p "="">Installation view of Viktor <span class="il">Koen</span><span class="redactor-invisible-space">, <em>Alecto Rising</em>, a digitally produced photo collage of a mythological creature.</span>

"Wrath might be one of the seven mortal sins but maybe the appropriate reaction against the perpetration of the other six combined. Is this just an angry piece or a piece of broken mirror?“ -Viktor Koen

“In this time of political crisis it is time for all citizens to make their voices heard,” writes Brodner. "Art can speak for us and also encourage us to speak out all the stronger.”

Given the accomplished talent and wide range of expression on display, Art as Witness should inform, inspire, and motivate the show’s visitors. And not coincidentally, the show is on view until November 3, the last weekend before the midterm elections.

Take action in your own art by exploring our Art & Activism course offerings, which include the faculty members in this exhibition, whose courses are also found in our Illustration & Cartooning listings. For a glimpse of our recent Art & Activism event, see photos on Facebook. See more updates and stories on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages!

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