“Lines with Power and Purpose: Editorial Drawings” is the title of a new exhibit coming next week at the Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum.
Editorial cartoonists deliver biting social commentary made palatable through fun, well-crafted illustrations.
“Lines with Power and Purpose: Editorial Cartoons” features 51 original editorial cartoons from the country’s major metropolitan newspapers during the golden age of print journalism.
The mix features six Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonists, each demonstrating the theme of political commentary through editorial illustration and addressing issues from the first half of the 20th century.
These deceptively simple cartoons frame the public’s understanding of world events and trends in the early to mid-twentieth century, ranging from the two World Wars, the Great Depression and public discontent with the government to presidential elections, daily battles over work-related rejection, nostalgia for the charm of the Midwestern family neighborhood and more.
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Along the way, these cartoons served a dualistic intent: to provide welcome comic relief as well as shape opinion.
The cartoonist draws his strength from the limited conventions of the journalistic context. Just as the strict rules of a haiku challenge the poet to create exactly the right mood in the tight construction of very few words, the cartoonist presents a powerful distillation of political argument through a single image and perhaps a few labels. well placed or a short caption.
To accomplish this underrated feat, cartoonists develop their own language – a language taught and shared with their readers.
Standard symbols such as Uncle Sam or the Statue of Liberty, often used, evoke abstract concepts such as nation, patriotism and public interest. On a darker side, cartoons reveal the inherent cruelty of prejudice, xenophobia and ignorance.
Political humor relies on an informed and receptive audience. Headlines encourage newspaper readers to more quickly grasp the cartoonist’s unique take on the day’s news.
A talented cartoonist makes even complex political arguments accessible to ordinary citizens. The friendly strokes of the cartoonist’s pen often belie the crudeness and reality of the issues to be resolved.
This exhibition of editorial cartoons shows how cartoons effectively expose hypocrisy, reveal contradictions, introduce new ideas and promote new perspectives as events unfold.
This exhibition includes the winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning: Bruce Alexander Russell, Herbert Lawrence Block (Herblock), Charles G. Werner, CD Batchelor, Charles R. Macauley and Vaughn Shoemaker.
The exhibit will be on view at the Sand Springs Museum beginning Tuesday and will run through June 20.
Admission to the Sand Springs Historical and Cultural Museum, 9 W. Broadway Ave., is free.
The museum is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information, call the museum at 918-246-2509.