In two new exhibits at the University of Virginia Art Museum
, the work of contemporary artist Patrick Oliphant and 19th-century artist HonorÈ Daumier provide commentary on social and political life. Leadership: Oliphant Cartoons and Sculpture from the Bush Years, which includes cartoons, pencil sketches, oversized charcoal caricatures and sculpture in bronze and wax, articulates the breadth of Oliphant's artistic production. Some 100 objects not only exemplify his versatile acumen, but their titles and captions point to his satiric wit. Describing the artist, Interim director Elizabeth Turner suggests that Oliphant's efforts place him within a branch of modernism that is rooted in the realist tradition.
To follow up on this idea, the museum will accompany Leadership with an exhibition centering on the work of Honoré Daumier (18081879), a major influence on Oliphant's work. With the Line of Daumier will present paintings, drawings and lithographs by the French painter and draftsman, including key works on loan from The Phillips Collection and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, as well as a selection of images by great British, French and American caricaturists of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
While the Oliphant exhibition has traveled to other venues, this is the first time that his work will be considered in relationship to Daumier and to other historical predecessors. Together, the two exhibitions will clarify the continuing importance of Daumier, the tradition of caricature, and social satire for the art and culture of the present.
Oliphant will visit U.Va. Jan. 21 through 23. In celebration of the 2009 presidential inauguration, the artist will appear with painter William Dunlap and satirist P.J. ORourke at the Harrison Institute auditorium of the Small Special Collections Library on Jan. 23, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. While discussing such topics as the Bush administration, the state of the economy, the campaign and Obama's presidency, Oliphant will create a series of drawings inspired by the conversations flow.
Called the most influential cartoonist now working by The New York Times, Oliphant occupies a unique position among today's editorial cartoonists. Widely considered the dean of the profession, he is regarded as one of its sharpest, most daring practitioners. His cartoons are published in countless newspapers and magazines worldwide, and specially commissioned works appear in New Yorker magazine, The New York Times and Washington Post.
He is an accomplished artist in a variety of media in addition to his cartoons, including sculpture, etching, lithography and monotype, and his artwork has achieved wide acclaim through many museum exhibitions and publications.
ORourke is a correspondent for Atlantic magazine, a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard and a member of the World Affairs editorial board. He is the author of 12 books, including Parliament of Whores, Holidays in Hell, Eat the Rich and, most recently, On the Wealth of Nations. He is the former editor-in-chief of the National Lampoon and was a foreign correspondent for Rolling Stone from 1985 to 2000.
William Dunlap has distinguished himself as an artist, arts commentator and educator, during a career that has spanned more than three decades. He has had solo exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, National Academy of Science, Aspen Museum of Art, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Museum of Western Virginia, Albany Museum of Art, Cheekwood Fine Arts Center, Mint Museum of Art, Mississippi Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans, to name but a few. Admission to the U.Va. Art Museum is free. It is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For information, visit www.virginia.edu/artmuseum.