Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas
detail: Ida y Vuelta (Going and Returning) by Juan Genovese

Politics as Symbol/Symbol as Politics

July 17 - January 27, 2013 | 20/21 Gallery Conversation Wall

Politics is simultaneously about substance and symbol. If art is in part spectacle, there is no political spectacle to match an American presidential election. Each such contest produces thousands of images and scenes, almost every one planned and executed like a work of art, be it a poster, portrait, or performance. This exhibit includes works ranging from buttons to historic photographs to highly politicized prints to abstract art. They are mostly not about presidents or presidential elections; rather, they explore the relationship between politics and image, emphasizing more the symbol than the substance. But perhaps that captures one essence of politics in general, and U.S. politics in particular.

This exhibition is curated by Burdett Loomis, professor of political science at the University of Kansas, and has been organized with the Andrew W. Mellon Department of Academic Programs at the Spencer Museum of Art.


Public Programs

Wkends
in Oct
Activities: SMA Art Cart: Vote for Me!
Saturdays: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 405
Sundays: 12:00 – 4:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 405
The Spencer Art Cart is a fun, fresh, and free drop-in art program available during gallery hours every Saturday and Sunday. Designed for children and families but open to everyone, the Art Cart changes monthly, each time highlighting a different gallery and featuring a new, self-guided art activity. You’ll learn about selected works from the SMA collection, and then create your own art based on that experience. Spend as little or as much time on your project as you like. Saturdays: 10 AM – 4 PM & Sundays: 12– 4 PM For October: Vote for Me! Learn about political symbols in art and create campaign buttons.
9.30.12
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Gallery Talk: Politics as Symbol/Symbol as Politics: Curator’s Perspective
2:00 – 3:00 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 405
Explore the visual imagery of the political process with KU professor of political science Burdett Loomis, who curated the timely exhibition.
10.3.12
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Lecture: Judging Obama: National Politics Five Weeks from Election Day
12:00 – 1:00 PM / Ecumenical Christian Ministries
This event, leading up to the 2012 presidential election, features the incisive political insights of political science professor Burdett Loomis, guest curator of the Spencer Museum of Art's current exhibition, Politics as Symbol/Symbol as Politics. This discussion, held at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries, will provide an assessment of the 2012 elections five weeks before election day.

Sponsored By: Ecumenical Christian Ministries

10.17.12
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Film: Mr. Moore Runs for Washington
5:00 – 6:30 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 405: 20/21 Gallery Conversation Wall
In 1998 Democrat Dennis Moore took on the uphill task of unseating freshman Republican Representative Vince Snowbarger in Kansas’ Third Congressional District. Granted almost total access by the Moore campaign, this documentary details this successful quest. Viewed 14 years later, we might regard it as a period piece of art, with some marvelous “performances,” which complements its continuing value as a teaching tool.
10.18.12
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Lecture: Distance and Intimacy: Art, Fiction, and Politics
5:30 – 7:30 PM / The University of Kansas, Watson Library Third Floor West
Celebrate the opening of the Watson Library's new exhibition "The American Election" with a keynote lecture by Professor Burdett Loomis. In his talk, Loomis brings together his art interests and his fiction/politics course. More broadly, he discusses how a social scientist ventures across boundaries to understand politics well beyond his comfort zone. His talk will integrate the works on view both in the Watson Library exhibition, "The American Election" and "Politics as Symbol/Symbol as Politics" at the Spencer Museum of Art.

Sponsored By: Center for Digital Scholarship, Libraries, Spencer Museum of Art

10.25.12
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Gallery Talk: Politics as Symbol/Symbol as Politics
10:00 – 11:00 AM / Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 405
Presented by Burdett Loomis, professor of political science at the University of Kansas and curator of this exhibition, which considers the relationship between politics and image, emphasizing more the symbol than the substance. This popular series of informal gallery discussions is designed for senior citizens but open to everyone.
11.13.12
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Gallery Talk: Erik Herron presents Symbols in Campaigns: The Politics, Art, and Design of Ballots and Posters
12:00 – 12:45 PM / Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 405: 20/21 Conversation Wall
In elections, citizens encounter carefully crafted images designed to mobilize their vote or educate them about electoral practices. Over the course of American electoral history, iconic images have emerged like the "Daisy" advertisement or hanging chads. In this gallery talk, Political Science Professor Erik Herron will discuss images from elections outside the United States, showing how ballot design addresses critical social issues and how candidates all over the world use cultural, national and global symbols to speak to citizens. This GAP approved event is presented in conjunction with the SMA exhibition Politics as Symbol/ Symbol as Politics, curated by Prof. Burdett Loomis (Political Science). It also takes place during International Education Week. Prof. Herron is the recent recipient of the George and Eleanor Woodyard International Educator Award from the Office of International Programs.

Sponsored By: Spencer Museum of Art, the Center for Global and International Studies, Office of International Programs


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