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Hayao Miyazaki, The Great Japanese Animator April 15, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Animation, Art History, Movable Illustration, Political and Social Art, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Visual Narrative.
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Post by Emily Ho

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Anime and manga artists from Japan are known world-wide for produ­cing extraordinary work. One famous and considered legendary Japanese animator is Hayao Miyazaki. He is internationally renowned in the field of animation and his history of projects shows how well the audience receives his work. An example would be his sales for the film Princess Mononoke, in 1997, which was known as the highest-grossing film in Japan. Even though Titanic cast a shadow on Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away brought Miyazaki back to the top spot when it was released in 2001.

(above) Hayao Miyazaki

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Hayao Miyazaki was born in Akebono-cho Japan on January 5, 1941. He is a film director, animator, storyboard artist, character designer, screenwriter, and a manga artist. With his multiple skills, he and Isao Takahata co-founded Studio Ghibli, which still runs to this day.

Miyazaki’s animation films all consider a large variety of things such as the research, storyline, quality and detail of art, compositions, perspectives and the development of characters for the film to be successful. He is also known to mainly create his animations in the traditional way, which is by hand. It is remarkable how immensely detailed and accurate in depicting reality in the fantasy world is like in his films.

(above) Two stills from the film Princess Mononoke

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Princess Mononoke is an animation where Miyazaki produced very vibrant, full of perspective and detailed artwork. Many of his films are “reflective about the human condition” such as Princess Mononoke, where the film questions about how humans destroy and pollute nature. Miyazaki conveyed that idea by showing if nature had a voice and was personified with animals, how would people confront and interact with them. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind shows the destruction that bugs can bring when humans pollute their environment. Castle in the Sky is also another animation where it illustrates how greed can bring destruction.

(aboveNausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

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(above) Castle in the Sky

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A couple of Miyazaki’s films are playful and fun, dealing with confidence, finding oneself, independence, and interactions with nature. The examples of movies are Spirited Away, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro.

(above) Two stills from Spirited Away

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(above) Two stills from Howl’s Moving Castle 

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(above) A scene from Ponyo

(above) My Neighbor Totoro


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Wounded Knee April 12, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Political and Social Art, Student Blog posts, Student Post.
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By Jun  Hui Im

Wounded Knee is a Native American skateboard manufacturing company which uses skateboard graphics , and propaganda like images to show pride and purpose in Native American culture.


(above) Some of Wounded Knee’s skateboard graphics based on Native American beliefs and icons.

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Wounded Knee is also displayed in Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America exhibition, located in the  located in the New York City National Museum of the American Indian ( One Bowling Green NY) , which I recently visited. It is next to many other Native American skateboarding groups that are similar in purpose and have a modern, graphic-Pop art style. Wounded Knee also have many propaganda posters such as the one below in remembrance of important Native American figures that have greatly contributed to our country.

 (above) This is only one of the many pieces Wounded Knee has of important Native figures. Ira Hayes, a Pima Native American was one of the five   flag raisers at Iwo Jima during world war two.
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Wounded Knee Statement:
“Either through the medium of skateboarding or in the pursuit of knowledge, we feel that it is important for our purpose to be understood. We are not here to solely make skateboards, but to remind our country of those whose land we now reside. There are many things in the world that are not recognized or fully understood, and we feel we owe our attention to those outside the mainstream. In its brief history, skateboarding has been greeted with skepticism and labeled as an outcast form of youth rebellion. In Reality, skateboarding is freedom of expression and a break from the normalities of society that many get sucked into. So, we invite you to continue this form of resistance and learn more about what is going around you.”

For more information about Wounded Knee Skateboard Manufacturing and Propaganda visit their website: http://www.woundedkneeskateboards.net/

Artfully Unforgotten/Afghanistan Auction December 15, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Events, Political and Social Art, Student Blog posts, Student Post.
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Post by Samantha Perlman

December 3rd was the Artfully Unforgotten auction to raise funds for voices of Afghanistan.  Artfully Unforgotten, a non-profit organization that focuses on advocacy through the arts focuses on many different areas, this time it’s women in Afghanistan. A portion of the funds raised  will be donated to the Business Council of Peace (which supports women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan) and the Mashale Noor School . Afghan women are rebuilding their country as the Taliban are working to ruin it, and they greatly appreciate our efforts to help. The event was held at the Best Buy Loft in Soho, the space is owned by Best Buy, who is a sponsor. The loft was large and the artwork hung along an exposed brick wall with corresponding bidding papers below.

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(Above) Pieces being bid on, far Right Heather Metcalf and family (photo taken by Wendy Popp)

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(Above) left art up for auction by Allison Mehner, Right art by Lyejm Kallas-Lewis

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(Above) Tryptich by Evan Goodman

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Immediately when my mother and I walked in, we were ushered over to the check-in table where we were checked off the guest list and then pointed in the direction of the raffle table, we filled out tickets and moved towards the snack table, there was wine and cheese, and RED VELVET CUPCAKES!
The auction featured the artwork of teachers, students, and group projects from the Parsons School of Design Illustration department. We slowly walked along the wall of art and quickly realized that if you wanted to bid on a piece, you wrote your name and contact information on the pieces of paper below. Of course my mother bid on mine artwork. The pieces ranged from $15 minimum all the way to $80 min. for a set of three paintings.

(Above) Piece by Deborah Mouloudji being (photo by Sam Perlman),  Right art  by Sam Perlman

There was a big turn out of guests and most of the pieces of art sold. I saw some fellow students and teachers, also friends and family of event planners, everyone was there to support this good cause, for instance the guest list-checkers were two young boys, who must have been the sons of one of the staff.
There was time for schmoozing, bidding, and roaming the refreshment table, the head of the event spoke about the Afghan women the auction was benefiting, (a trailer of the video we watched in class was played).  Heather thanked everyone for coming and donating, Immediately after that was the drawing for the raffle, I didn’t win but there were gift baskets and CDs and women’s clothing as prizes, following that was another period of bidding and schmoozing. Another thank you from the head of events which concluded the bidding. Winning bidders were directed to pay for their pieces at the end of the evening.

(Above) left art by Nadilyn Beato, Right art by Masuko Jo

Artfully Unforgotten: Voices of Afghanistan October 20, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Political and Social Art, Public art.
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Last year, Parsons Illustration students collaborated with Artfully Unforgotten , a non-profit that stresses  social advocacy through the arts. Parsons illustration students donated their art and raised $5000 for an orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda. This semester, we are collaborating again,  now to  raise funds for women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and generate awareness of the realities and  possibilities in aiding this region and people in crisis. To start our  partnering  a short film, “Voices of Afghanistan”  was presented in Kellen auditorium  (66 5th ave.) today by Heather Metcalfe, founder and Executive Director of Artfully Unforgotten, and Kirsten Larvick the film’s editor and assoc. producer.

AttendancePreface to film(Above) left Heather Metcalfe Founder/Executive Director of Artfully Unforgotten), middle Kirsten Larvick the film’s editor and assoc. producer,  right Assoc. Prof. Nora Krug from the illustration dept.

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The film was followed by a panel discussion on the situation in Afghanistan with Heather, Nora and Adrianne Dicker Kadzinski, an army reserve officer who served in Afghanistan in 2002 and who is now involved in humanitarian  projects  for Afghanistan as a civilian.

Heather _Adrianne(Above) Heather and Adrianne Dicker Kadzinski taking audience questions.

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A number of aspects of the situation in Afghanistan were discussed and highlighted. Adrianne began by explaining the  many forces playing a part in the politics of the country: the Taliban, native tribes , the Afghan government, the U.S., gender politics, corruption, and the drug trade.   Afghan women have taken on the  role of  rebuilders of the the country but many obstacles stand in their way.   Both Heather and Adrianne  remarked  that through this turmoil and war the Afghan people remain hopeful  and proud of their country.  There is  a pitfall in portraying the Afghan women and people as victims which would be a dis-service to them. It is a complicated  and many sided issue as evidenced when Wendy Popp (Soph concepts instructor) asked about the meaning of the burqa to Afghan woman. The answer was not as clear cut as it would appear.

Peter Hamlin, sophomore concepts instructor, illustrator and photo journalist brought along  images shot in Afghanistan  by Associated Press photographers and brought up the issue of a personal opinion  and journalistic neutrality  in art. Nora Krug also spoke about the role of artists and illustrators throughout history  in creating social responsible work ( or at times irresponsible work and propaganda).

The book ” The Photographer ” with  photographs by Didier Lefevre and  illustrations and story by Emmanuel Guibert was brought in for attendees to look through. Didier Lefevre is a French photojournalist who documented a Doctors Without Borders mission to Afghanistan. The book is excellent.

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I would add to the above book Illustrator/graphic novelist Joe Sacco who  has a number of fantastic  artist/journalist books : Palestine, Stories from BosniaSafe Area: Gorazde, The Fixer. He has traveled to Yugoslavia and the middle east and brought back in graphic novel form the personal stories of these war torn areas.

The four sophomore  classes in the illustration dept. will be creating art pieces based upon their research and the  presentation. The pieces will ultimately be displayed and auctioned off as part of a silent auction with the proceeds being donated to the Business Council for Peace, which works with women business owners in Afghanistan and the Mashale Noor School, located in Mazar-e Sharif.   The benefit and auction will be held on December 4th at the Best Buy Loft in Soho.  The auction is of course open to any artist who wants to donate work.

Wendy had remarked that this is a unique opportunity  to experience a feeling of unity and purpose that extends beyond our private classes and and to see the passion and dedication given to a social cause.  It’s important  to discuss and experience how art can be a powerful catalyst for social change.

It has been mentioned that the work created by Parsons students is their own reaction to the material presented .  A great aspect of this project and art with a social conscience for me in a class room is that it stimulates discussion.  This is a complicated topic with many valid viewpoints. In fact Nora, during the course of the presentation conveyed how difficult it would be try and some up the whole Afghan conflict  within a single piece.   I’ll be posting some work done by students as the project progresses.

-Les

Below are a few links to learn more about Afghanistan and the project:

Visit Artfully Unforgotten for more info on Voices of Afghanistan and other projects.

Here is a new PBS documentary on the current situation in Afghanistan
www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/obamaswar/view/

www.pbs.org/itvs/globalvoices/afghanistanunveiled.html
www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/afghanistan/women.html

About Afghanistan/Pakistan.
www.hulu.com/watch/101088/al-qaeda-family

Afghanistan Wikipedia is of course a place to start for basic info with a number of interesting links in the reference section.

From Peter Hamlin:

Opium in Afghanistan: Cultivation, addiction, and eradication
This interactive includes video reporting and infographics showing opium cultivation statistics.
hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_international/afghanistan_opium/index.html?SITE=AP

Depth of Field:The War in Afghanistan
An AP photographers visual essay of a US military outpost in Afghanistan.
hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/photographers_gallery/depth_afghan_guttenfelder/index.html?SITE=AP

Afghanistan election: Casting votes in a troubled country
Video reporting and infographics about the candidates and the election in Afghanistan.
hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_international/afghanistan_election/index.html?SITE=AP
From Nora, examples for politically motivated illustration:

http://comicsworthreading.com/2006/03/20/persepolis/
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1611731
http://www.old-coconino.com/sites_auteurs/simplicissimus/index.html
http://www.palestineonlinestore.com/books/palestine.htm
http://www.moca-la.org/emorydouglas/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grave_of_the_Fireflies
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barefoot_Gen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EbsrJuAoQo
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eresources/exhibitions/children/
http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/OKUCIT.html
http://terezinmusical.com/drawings.htm
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/07/27/arts/0727-KENNEDY_7.html
http://www.blackshipsandsamurai.com/HiroshimaDrawingsSelects/index.htm
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWweberP.htm
http://daddytypes.com/2007/06/11/heil_struwwelhitler.php
http://library.thinkquest.org/C0111500/ww2/american/amerprop.htm
http://calitreview.com/875
http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/10/view/2985/anton-kannemeyer-at-jack-s
hainman-gallery-new-york.html
http://williamkentridge.net/

Pinoke Exhibit September 2, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Art History, Pinocchio, Political and Social Art, Summer Reading Project.
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Pinocchio

The Illustration Department’s 2009 Summer Reading Project

Each year, a book is selected that all illustration students read over the course of the summer break. When students return in the fall they have a common cultural experience that can be shared and discussed and that assignments are based on in class. This year’s book is Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.
Collodi, whose real name was Carlo Lorenzini, was a politically active writer of novels, pieces in political newspapers and satire as well as children’s literature in 19th century Italy. At 23 he founded Il Lampione (The Lamp), a satirical magazine that published for a year before being shut down by the government (it resumed publishing in 1860), From this social and political environment Pinocchio’s adventures (or misadventures) were born in 1881 as weekly installments in Il Giornale per i Bambini (an Italian children’s newspaper).
Collodi didn’t think much of his offspring. Originally he had ended the story with Pinocchio’s lynching. He eventually was  persuaded to write further chapters.
Despite a ambivalent father, Pinocchio went on to great success (unfortunately after Collodi’s death in 1890). Pinocchio’s adventures are; fantastic, absurd, moralistic, entertaining, allegorical, satiric, in short all the things that make up a good story, and inspire great art.
By 1937 Pinocchio’s adventures were being published in 80 different editions including translations into Swahili, Gaelic and Esperanto. Pinocchio was a popular character before the 1940 premiere of Disney’s full length animated feature. Disney’s use of the story coincides with Collodi’s copyright expiring.  As frightening as some of the scenes in the Disney movie can seem, catch Lampwick’s transformation into a donkey, the original story by Collodi is grimmer. Feet are burned off, Pinocchio is hung, chained up, there are funeral processions, huge sharks…a lot to scare a child into good behavior.
Disney’s version of Pinocchio certainly seems to dominate the visual landscape, but not everywhere. Travel to Italy or other continents than America and Pinocchio’s look can be quite unfamiliar…until we see the iconic long nose.
One hundred and twenty six years after his debut Pinocchio is very much a cultural icon.  He is a metaphor for lying and bad behavior in politicians as well as a symbol of a character’s quest for humanity. Frankenstein, Astro Boy, David from Stanley Kuberick/Stephen Spielberg’s A.I., Edward Scissorhands, are all cousins of Pinocchio.

A Pinocchio exhibit is up on the 8th floor to peak your interest in the little wooden icon. Below is a key to what’s in the showcase.

Pinoke DisplayBlog1

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Pinoke DisplayKeyBlog

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  1. Hanging Pinocchio 1944 –by Italian illustrator Giovanni Manca.
  2. Fables, 2002 (comic book) covers by illustrator James Jean. Geppetto and Pinocchio figure prominently in the story line of the characters from well known Fables in exile.
  3. Pinocchio shadow puppet
  4. Woodpeckers whittle down Pinocchio’s nose, from Italian children’s book illustrator Attilio Cassinelli’s 1981 Pinocchio  book re’entititled “Once I was a piece of wood”.
  5. Fold out cover of the August 1972, (No. 29) National Lampoon. Nixon as Pinocchio with Henry Kissinger as Jiminy Cricket. Illustration by Robert Grossman.
  6. The Chicago Tribune offered a fold-up version of Illinois state Senator Roland Burris as Pinocchio. Burris was accused of offering a bribe in exchange for Obama’s Senate seat.
  7. “Pinocchio is caught by the gendarmes” by Attilio Mussino 1911.
  8. Pinocchio by Winshluss 2009
  9. Assorted Disney Pinocchio books , a bank . Pinocchio was Disney’s 2nd feature length animated film debuting in 1940.
  10. Pop-up Adventures of Pinocchio- J. Pavlin – G. Seda, (Czech, English version 1974)
  11. Cover of an Egyptian edition of Pinocchio.
  12. Zombie Pinocchio Tattoo (courtesy of BMEzine.com) and Jiminy cricket tattoo by Mark of High Voltage Tattoos.
  13. Astro Boy – a Japanese manga character by Osamu Tezuka , centering around a robot boy.
  14. By Italian illustrator  and humorist Benito Jacovitti (1977?/ reissue 2001).
  15. Pinocchio float for the 1930 Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade.
  16. Pinocchio by Keith Haring
  17. A background from Disney’s Pinocchio 1940. Painted by Claude Coats
  18. Pinocchio  by Attilio Mussino English 1911 edition.  18a. Character sketches for the 1940 Disney movie
  19. Pinocchio red wine  by Dievole.
  20. A Polish poster for Disney’s Pinocchio.
  21. The Adventures of Pinocchio 1988 by Roberto Innocenti
  22. George Bush Coin
  23. The Adventures of Pinocchio (Italy) 1935 illustrated by Peiro Bernardini
  24. The New Adventures of Pinocchio, Dell Comic book 1963
  25. Pinocchio, the Boy, illustrated by Lane Smith 2002
  26. Luigi and Maria Augusta Cavalieri 1924.
  27. Pinocchio info to come
  28. Cut out nose from PinocchioPolititics.com (Behind 28) “Pinocchio is visited by the doctors” by Luigi and Maria Augusta Cavalieri 1924
  29. Pinocchio by Gianbattista Galizzi 1957

Skewered by a Nose: Pinnochio and Politics July 15, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Analogy, Pinocchio, Political and Social Art, Toys.
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Pinocchio and politics are not strange bedfellows. Carlo Collodi (the pen name of Carlo Lorenzini) was very much a a product of tumultuous political times in 19th century Italy when  he wrote Pinnocchio in  1881. Situations that occur in The Adventures of Pinocchio in many ways reflect Italy’s  social policy towards children at the time  (see Carl Ipsen’s book ” Italy in the Age of Pinocchio: Children and Danger in the Liberal Era“).  Over the years the image of a visibly growing nose to illustrate political lying has become as iconic (and sometimes cliché) as pinoke himself.

7208cover_s(above) Fold out cover of the August 1972, (No. 29) National Lampoon. Nixon as Pinocchio with Henry Kissinger as Jiminy Cricket. Illustration by Robert Grossman

326_Dusseldorf_Pinocchio(above) President George Bush as Pinocchio in Germany, Feb.  2004.   (Photo by Ina Fassbender)

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Burris Pinocchio Doll top(above) The  Chicago Tribune offered a fold-up version of Illinois state Senator Roland Burris as Pinocchio.

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RolandKochPinocchios

(above) Protesters wearing (german politican) Roland Koch-pinocchio masks in Frankfurt  January  2008.

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PolitPinokeGridDemocrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives everyone lies at some point or another  (At least so the other side claims). Death isn’t the great equalizer, Pinocchio is.  In some cases all you need is some basic photoshop skills and you too can perform a political rhinoplasty.

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pinocchio G8(above) G8 leaders

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BIANOCCHIO

(above)  “Bianocchio” or Politichio,   A comment on  Taiwanese politician and former President of the Republic of China, Chen Shui Bian.   by Taiwan’s Phalanx Studio

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pinocchio-logo Great Seal

A Picture For A Thousand Voices June 22, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Political and Social Art, Public art, Student work.
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Concepts class alum, Evan Turk has initied a wonderful project titled :

logoheaderand has  posted a call for submissions/participants to the project.  A Picture For A Thousand Voices …”is is a project to help create a dialogue about the individual hopes for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equal rights movement through the medium of illustration. ” Artists  (and writers) are asked to submit artwork depicting  their hopes for equal rights for the LGBT community or a relevant story depicting their experiences  and send it to Evan at evan@evanturk.com.   If you’re  a writer looking for an artist  or an artist looking for  a story to illustrate  Evan might be able to  facilitate a collaboration. The project’s address is picturefor1000voices.blogspot.com/ where you can read about the project, see submissions and read the parameters for the project.

posters4Above are two silkscreens by  Evan titled “Holding Hands” that are starting off the project.  Please pass on info about the projectand check out Even’s blog, or better yet submit something.  Also take a look at Evan’s earlier May 6th post on this site about Gay Art.

-Thanks

Gay Art: It’s More Than Just Men Having Sex! May 6, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Art History, Political and Social Art, Student Post.
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Post by Evan Turk

In my research for my semester final project of creating posters about the gay rights movement, I searched for inspiration from other artists who had created political and social art related to the gay community.  What I found, is that there is not as much to be found as one might expect.  Most “gay art” falls into the realm of the erotic and very little else falls outside of that.  There is no shortage of famous gay artists (Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jean Cocteau, Paul Cadmus, David Hockney, Francis Bacon), though most of them were closeted. For the most part, any gay-themed art they created was focused on eroticism.

A prominent gay artist who was extremely influential in gay history in America is Keith Haring. Haring was a prominent artist in the 80’s and 90’s in New York City who created simple and largely symbolic work in the vein of pop art and graffiti art. As a victim of AIDS himself, Haring created many of the images that are still used today for AIDS prevention groups as well as gay organizations.  An interview with Keith Haring by David Sheff for Rolling Stone (Aug. 1989) can be found at Haring.com as well as an art database.

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haringuntitled1(Top) “Silence = Death”  “Ignorance = Fear”  (Bottom)“Untitled” (All images copyright the Keith Haring Foundation)

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Another artist that gives an interesting illustration of gay life is J. C. Leyendecker. Leyendecker was an American illustrator in the 20th century known for his fashion advertisements and illustrated covers of the Saturday Evening Post, preceding Norman Rockwell’s reign at the magazine. His work, which  is all commercial work, has a rather subtle (or other times not so subtle) gay undertone.  In a few paintings, at first glance it seems to be a few sailors looking flirtatiously at a young woman, but upon closer inspection, the men actually appear to be looking at each other  with her just kind of standing in the way.

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(Above) Arrow Collars and Shirts advertisement (1907)

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(Above) The House of Kuppenheimer Advertisement (1918)

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(Above) “Kuppenheimer Advertisement – Good Team Work”

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Perez is an artist born in 1965 and raised in Jerusalem.  He now lives in Tel-Aviv and creates work that often deals with homosexual themes and relationships.  As stated on his website “His paintings put to test the boundaries between eroticism and art, while characterizing gay relationships and love as they are expressed in everyday life.”  Although his work contains mostly male nudes, the subject matter is often non-erotic.  He depicts family scenes and everyday life for gay couples, instead of just the sexual aspects of a gay relationship.

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(Above) Untitled

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(Above) Gay Wedding

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(Above) Gay Daily Life courtesy of http://www.gaypaintings.com


As homosexuality becomes more accepted in modern culture, there will be less sexual repression and most likely, less of an emphasis on only erotic art.  This leaves the door open for a different step in the gay art movement.

Wild Pilgrimage by Lynd Ward April 16, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Books, Political and Social Art, Printmaking, Student Post.
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Post by Paula Searing

Recently I read Wild Pilgrimage by Lynd Ward. It really blew me away, and I was surprised to have not  heard of him before. Wild Pilgrimage, published in 1932, (by Harrison Smith and Robert Hass, Inc. New York) is comprised of 95 wood engravings and was originally described as a wordless novel. It’s one of the precursors to today’s blogpostpaula1 graphic novel. Ward’s novel tells the story of  a young man as he navigates through the  racism, injustice, and poverty issues America faced during the 1930’s.

(Left) An illustration of the young man from Wild Pilgrimage.

Lynd Ward (b. 1905-d. 1985) was an American artist who worked from the 1920’s well into the 1980’s. While attending the National Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig, Germany in the the late 1920’s , Ward was exposed to the work of  German artist Otto Nukel and Belgian artist Frans Masereel.  Also working in woodcuts and engravings, Masereel  is among the first wordless novelists , publishing Passionate Journey in 1919. After studying printmaking in Germany for a year (1926-1927),Ward returned to the U.S. and would eventually  complete five wordless novels in his lifetime; God’s Man 1929, Madman’s Drum 1930, Wild Pilgrimage 1932, Prelude to a Million Years 1933, Song Without Words 1936, and  Vertigo in 1937. His career also encompassed children’s books, and illustrations for classics such as Beowulf and Frankenstein.

“In the American experience there is probably no more basic or recurrent impulse than to leave society. It is a madness- or a sanity- that can take hold of any citizen when the daily grind becomes suddenly more abrasive than anyone should be asked to endure; when the crush of too many people in too small a space is finally more than one can take; when the noise and smells of the city are at last too stifling to be borne. Then the urge to pick up and leave, to get away somehow, is irresistible. Surely, the impulse whispers in your ear, it is not inevitable that I should live and die in this hellhole; surely, there is more to the world and to life than this.”

-Lynd Ward on  Wild Pilgrimage

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(Above) Two engravings from the book.

It amazed me how particular the depictions in the novel are to the Great Depression in America, but the story still has a universal message. The dual narrative made it much more of a personal navigation through a political situation or setting.

Below are two consecutive panels from the novel, introducing the main character for the first time. On the left is one of the reality panels, showing the protagonist looking back at an industrial setting, factories blowing smoke in the background, stifling and claustrophobic. The one on the right, printed in a redish- orange, shows an inner narration of the main character, struggling to break through bars. The color narration is used throughout the whole novel, creating metaphors as the story goes on.

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(Above Left) “Reality” panel introducing main protagonist in Wild Pilgrimage (Above right) a “Dream” panel of main protagonist in Wild Pilgrimage

The term “Political Art” holds a certain stigma for me, and that may speak for a number of us. Wild Pilgrimage is one of those pieces that  skillfully balances what it is to make political art,  and what it is to be a human. Wards work reminded me of the contemporary poster artist  Luba Lukova, who came to speak at the Picturing Politics Symposium at The New School. During the symposium she referred to herself not as a political artist but as a human expressing her reactions to what is going on in the world.

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(Above) Luba Lukova’s “The dried up mother earth, in her arm a screaming baby – a symbol of the self destroying treatment of men with nature.” (www.lukova.net/)

Lynd Ward’s wordless novels are enjoying a resurgence and are available as paperback reprints. Wild Pilgrimage can also be read in  Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels edited by George A. Walker.