'Running for Office' exhibition begins Sept. 26

Coming to WFMA: Renowned cartoonist illustrates campaign process has remained consistent

The Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Texas will host the Humanities Texas exhibition, “Running for Office: Candidates, Campaigns, and the Cartoons of Clifford Berryman” Sept. 26-Nov. 28, 2020.

Created by the National Archives with the support of the Foundation for the National Archives and organized for travel by Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, this exhibition showcases facsimile prints of early 20th century drawings using satire, gesture, and simplicity to communicate the American democratic experience. The exhibition is made possible by a grant from Humanities Texas.

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Curator of exhibitions and collections Danny Bills said, “The WFMA collects works on paper by American artists; because Berryman’s cartoons were originally drawings, the exhibition affords the opportunity to highlight the drawing medium and its relation to printing.”

The exhibition offers a historical perspective and context to the current election and opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and engagement across interests in art, history, and politics. Exhibition tours with Bills will highlight how cartoons communicate visually through gestures, labels, and caricature as well as how these cartoons harken back to the foundation of American democracy in the Constitution of the United States.

“We are honored to be awarded a Humanities Texas mini-grant to support bringing this timely exhibition to Wichita Falls,” said Tracee Robertson, the museum’s director.

The political cartoons in this exhibit, drawn by renowned cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman, illustrate the campaign process from the candidate’s decision to run for office to the outcome of the election. Although many political procedures have changed, these cartoons show that the political process has remained remarkably consistent; Berryman’s cartoons from the early 20th century remain relevant today.

 

 

Most of these cartoons appeared on the front page of Washington newspapers from 1898 through 1948. They are part of a collection of nearly 2,400 pen-and-ink drawings by Berryman. In 1992, in honor of former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, the Charles Engelhard Foundation purchased the drawings and donated them to the U.S. Senate. This remarkable collection is now housed with the historical records of Congress in the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

“We’re also excited to work with local graphic designer and artist Daniel Juarez to develop programs inspired by the exhibition. Mr. Juarez is a teaching artist certified through the Lincoln Center Education’s National Teaching Artist Training program and has a unique connection to the cartoon medium,” Robertson said. Juarez, inspired by the “Peanuts” comics, will lead the Oct. 3 Weekend Workshop, focusing on line, gesture, value, and texture to communicate topics of importance.

Juarez’s childhood fascination with “Peanuts” served to inspire his studies in art. While going to school in El Paso, he took a drawing class from Tom Moore, an American cartoonist and El Paso native known for his work on the Archie Comics series from the 1950s to the 1980s. Juarez uses simplicity and satire in his studio work, informed by his graphic design career and his early interest in cartoons and comic strips.

In conjunction with the workshop  the MSU Texas Theater Department will host the 1967 musical comedy, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 2-3 the WFMA Priddy Pavilion.

Political cartoons are unlike any other form of political commentary. Visual in nature, cartoons show altered physical traits and highlight minute details to make a specific point. With simple pen strokes, they foreshadow the future, poke fun at the past, and imply hidden motives in ways that elude written or spoken reporting. The result of this creative license is a unique historical perspective — entertaining, clever, and insightful.

Elections through cartoons

Museum Day

WFMA at MSU Texas

Organized in partnership with the Regional Museum Network and the Wichita Falls Alliance of Arts and Culture, this exhibition features select pieces from the collections of area museums that explore these the origin stories of these institutions.

The WFMA showcases pieces from the Museum’s Permanent Collection by American artists James McNeil Whistler (1859), Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (2005), and Renee Stout (2009).

Also not to miss: a 1930s dress crocheted with string saved from grocery store packages, a 1990s calf branding table, a 1960s Easy Bake Oven, a ‘Midwestern University’ nursing student uniform, and much more!