Current Exhibitions


Spring 2017 

Spring 2017 Exhibition Suite
Hand in Hand: The Visual Arts as a Means of Social and Political Propaganda, Protest and Commentary

Exploring the nuanced ways artists respond to their social and political landscapes using visual language and hyperbole to critique, valorize and satirize the events and subjects of their times—often making us grimace and laugh in the process.


 

“What a Frightful Spectacle!”: Lithographs of Honoré Daumier
Rotunda Gallery

This exhibition surveys Daumier’s satirical observations of aristocrats, politicians and the ‘average Joe’ caught up in the tumultuous civic transformations of 19th century Paris.

Honoré Daumier spent a long career, from around 1830 until the 1870s, drawing nearly 4,000 illustrations for satirical Parisian journals Le Caricature and La Charivari, both published by Daumier’s lifelong collaborator Charles Philipon. Daumier produced lithographs that satirized society, the bourgeoisie, political corruption and even King Louis-Philippe which led to his brief imprisonment in 1832. Afterward, Daumier traded political commentary for social satire, as human foibles were also a bottomless source of inspiration.

Honoré Daumier (French 1808-1879), Je ne te dirai pas vas te faire…sucre! Je te dirai vas te faire cuire! (I won’t tell you to go and get lost, sugar…I’ll tell you to go and “get cooked”), 1839. Lithograph on newsprint, (14 x 10 in). The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Sidney and Vivian Kaplan.


Theoretical Mockery: Satirical Prints by Sidney Chafetz
North Gallery

Sidney Chafetz’s prints often incorporated puns, jokes, and humor to satirize subjects from current political events and his life on a Midwestern college campus. Chafetz was a well-known artist, leading the printmaking program at Ohio State University.

For Chafetz, being an artist meant, "using satire to stab at pomposity, whether in my own field of academe or in our political world." His tools were the traditional printmaking media of woodcut and etching, used in a deceptively simple and direct manner—with powerful graphic results.

Sidney Chafetz (American 1922 – 2013), Plakart, 1963. Woodcut, (36.5 x 22.5 in.). The NIU Art Museum Collection, gift of Arthur Lipschultz.


April 6 - May 20, 2017
A Tale of Donkeys and Elephants; Satire with the Wink of a Fox
South Gallery

Political cartoons are part and parcel of the American experience that have been used since colonial times to succinctly express, in visual form, differing points of view on complex socio-political concerns. Using a variety of illustrative devices and mediums, political cartoons comment on current events, personalities, and issues in hopes of influencing opinion and action.

A Tale of Donkeys and Elephants: Satire with the Wink of a Fox explores selected chapters in the United States’ history as reflected in political cartoons. It touches on the intricacies of presidential politics, social relations, economics, war, power, and national identity. Political cartoonists express their thoughts on historical events using the conventions of satire with the intent to expose the hypocrisies of those in power and shed light on the inherent complexities of the political landscape.

The images and ideas presented in these cartoons reflect the values of their time and may be offensive in today’s terms.

Joe Parrish (American 1905 - 1989), Trying to See Who Can Get to Him First, 1954. Ink on illustration board (14 x 14 in.) The NIU Art Museum Collection, Anonymous gift. Copyright Chicago Tribune, 1954.

 

Over the Top to Victory!
Hall Case gallery

Exploring government-sponsored posters issued during the First World War, this exhibition contrasts the social satire seen in the concurrent exhibitions with propaganda images from the early 20th century. The visual language used in these posters communicates a view of patriotism, national identity, and heroism to dramatic effect. The various subjects and wide ranging styles give a glimpse into the visual landscape of the American home front during World War I.

J. C. Leyendecker (German-American 1874 – 1951), U.S.A. Bonds – Third Liberty Loan Campaign. Printed by the American Lithographic Co., N.Y., 1917. Lithograph, (30 x 20 inches). The Regional History Center and University Archive Collections at Founders Memorial Library, Northern Illinois University.

Images top to bottom:
Honoré Daumier (French 1808-1879), Je ne te dirai pas vas te faire…sucre! Je te dirai vas te faire cuire! (I won’t tell you to go and get lost, sugar…I’ll tell you to go and “get cooked”), 1839. Lithograph on newsprint, (14 x 10 in). The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Sidney and Vivian Kaplan.

Sidney Chafetz (American 1922 – 2013), Plakart, 1963. Woodcut, (36.5 x 22.5 in.). The NIU Art Museum Collection, gift of Arthur Lipschultz.

Joe Parrish (American 1905 - 1989), Trying to See Who Can Get to Him First, 1954. Ink on illustration board (14 x 14 in.) The NIU Art Museum Collection, Anonymous gift. Copyright Chicago Tribune, 1954.

J. C. Leyendecker (German-American 1874 – 1951), U.S.A. Bonds – Third Liberty Loan Campaign. Printed by the American Lithographic Co., N.Y., 1917. Lithograph, (30 x 20 inches). The Regional History Center and University Archive Collections at Founders Memorial Library, Northern Illinois University.