(Please note, the Gallery will be closed the following dates for University holidays: Nov. 27 through Dec. 2, Dec. 14 through 16, and Dec. 21 through Jan. 6, 2014.)
Thursday, Nov. 7 from 5-7 PM
The exhibition showcases editorial cartoons about the American Civil War that appeared in Harper's Weekly magazine. The display questions the conventional hierarchy that has assigned the cartoons to a lower level of significance than the magazine’s full-page and double-page illustrations, arguing instead that the cartoons served a distinct purpose. Unlike the magazine’s illustrations, which were expected to provide documentary information about the war, the cartoons openly expressed the social and political opinions of the magazine’s editors and owners. They cover a dizzying array of subjects, including the conduct of the war, the political and military leadership of both north and south, the status of enslaved African Americans and later freedpeople, the possibility of England entering the war in support of the Confederacy, accusations of war profiteering and atrocities, the impact of the war on gender relations, and the difficulties of life on the battlefield and for civilian populations. The cartoons also had a particular form, forcing their creators to distill complex issues into a single visual frame and a caption. They offer a fresh perspective on the war and its consequences.
In the installation, the selected Harper’s cartoons will be paired with examples from twentieth and twenty-first century visual culture, highlighting particular trends in the ongoing debates surrounding war and its social impact, and how these debates manifest themselves in the popular visual world, both then and now. In addition to these visual comparisons, the exhibition will include downloadable audio commentary on selected themes and materials in the exhibition (available online and in the gallery), a space evoking an American parlor - reminding visitors that many original readers encountered the cartoons at home - and a companion website containing images, text and audio commentary from the exhibition.
Events in conjunction with
Draw Your Weapons:
Thursday, November 7
Opening Reception from 5-7 PM
Gallery Talk with Dr. Maura Lyons and the student curators at 6 PM, Anderson Gallery
Thursday, November 14
Blood Lines: The Civil War in Caricature
Richard Samuel West at 7 PM,
Reading Room, Cowles Library
Richard Samuel West is an expert in the history of American comic art as well as a dealer in out-of-print periodicals. He is the author of several studies on nineteenth-century cartooning, including Satire on Stone: The
Political Cartoons of Joseph Keppler (1988), The San Francisco Wasp: An Illustrated History (2004), and co-author of William Newman: A Victorian Cartoonist in London and New York (2008). His most recent book is Iconoclast in Ink: The Political Cartoons of Jay N. “Ding” Darling (2012), published by the Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library &
Museum. His business, Periodyssey, is based in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Thursday, December 5
"The Satirist: A Treacherous Ally"
Gallery Talk with Dr. Rachel Paine Caufield, Associate Professor of Politics, at 7 PM, Anderson Gallery
Rachel Paine Caufield, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, will give a talk exploring satirical themes found in the exhibited cartoons. Dr. Caufield's teaching and research interests focus on American political institutions, including judicial politics, legislative politics and the American presidency. She has developed an honors seminar titled Modern Political Satire and has published two articles exploring the influence of satire as a form of social and political commentary.
Thursday, January 9
Gallery Talk with Brian Duffy, nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist and illustrator, at 7 PM, Anderson Gallery
Duffy's work is synonymous with editorial coverage of the political and social culture of the midwest. His talk will include reflections on his the challenges of interpreting contemporary events through cartoons, based on over twenty-five years of experience as the front-page editorial cartoonist for the Des Moines Register, and his current work for publications such as CityView, The Hightower Report and KCCI TV, among others.
These events are sponsored by the Anderson Gallery, in conjunction with the exhibition "Draw Your Weapons: Civil War Cartoons from Harper's Weekly," and Cowles Library, with support from Humanities Iowa and the Gilder Lerman Institute of American History, in association with the Library of America and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding provided by The State Historical Society, Inc. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of The State Historical Society, Inc., Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.