Friday, September 10, 2010

Poster(s) of the Week

One Picture Is Worth Zero
Paul Conrad
Offset, 1992
Los Angeles, California

Beginning of Empire
Patrick Merrill
Etching, 1999
Two special friends of CSPG died in the last two weeks: Paul Conrad and Patrick Merrill. Both artists used their talent and passion for justice to make the world a better place. We feel honored to have known them and to have their work in our archive.
Paul Conrad (June 27, 1924 – September 4, 2010 ) was an extraordinary political artist who won three Pulitzer Prizes for his editorial cartoons. For more than six decades he satirized American politicians and presidents. Many of his depictions of Nixon and Reagan still evoke rueful laughs. Conrad’s favorite distinction was his 1973 inclusion on Richard Nixon’s Enemies List, and his favorite irony was holding the Richard M. Nixon Chair at Whittier (California) College (1977-78).
Conrad was one of the most distinguished and honored political cartoonists in the world. The Center for the Study of Political Graphics honored him in 2002 with the Culture of Liberation award. The title derives from a statement by African independence leader Amilcar Cabral, Culture contains the seed of opposition becoming the flower of liberation.
Although he was chief editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times from 1964 to 1993, it was not without internal opposition. Conrad’s opinions became so strong during Watergate, that the Los Angeles Times moved his cartoons off the editorial page and onto the op-ed page. The Times even refused to publish some of his work – such as the 1977 cartoon of Nixon nailing himself to the cross just prior to the impeachment hearings. To see this and many other Conrad classics, visit
Among the many laudatory obituaries, Bill Boyarsky’s tribute includes a history of his rocky relationship with the Los Angeles Times.
The Conrad cartoon selected for the Poster of the Week was produced in response to the 1991 beating of Rodney King, an unarmed African American, by a number of Los Angeles police officers. The beating was videotaped and broadcast around the world. Four police officers went on trial, but their 1992 acquittals sparked the L.A. riots.
An exhibition of Paul Conrad’s work currently is at the Artists' Studio Gallery at The Village in Rolling Hills Estates. A public memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John Fisher Catholic Church, 5448 Crest Road, Rancho Palos Verdes.

Patrick Merrill (December 4, 1948-August 31, 2010), a passionate and talented mixed-media artist and printmaker, died after a long battle with cancer. His work included etchings, woodcuts, collographs, monoprints and intaglio relief prints. His topics ranged from self-portraits to the disasters of war. Merrill was also curator of Cal Poly Pomona's art gallery from 1997 to 2009, and was publicity and exhibition director for the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art from 1990 to 2000.
Merrill’s reaction to 9/11 resulted in 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Famine, War, Death, Petulance (2004). He described it as, “the war mania, revenge mind set, rising Nationalism--the fear, the anger in the air.” The original four large prints were reproduced for “Art of Democracy,” a national coalition of political art exhibitions all taking place in the Fall of 2008. Merrill’s 4 Horsemen was a central piece for many of the participating venues.
Nuclear explosions appeared frequently in Merrill’s work, warning against both war and environmental disasters. The Poster of the Week is Merrill’s Beginning of Empire. It juxtaposes the 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima against an American Flag. Etched across the stripes of the flag are a series of Haiku, in Japanese with English translations, taken from, The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Kyoko Iriye Selden and Mark Selden. The Haiku on the etching are written below.
Fire flowers glow
bones must be burning under the river
-- Utsumi Kanshi

Out of the infernal fire
corpses in the summer river
-- Ichiki Ryujoshi

Blue fire on bare bones burns
a star falls
-- Okamoto Ogaku

Charred black
they hold perhaps a cicada-catering pole
perhaps they are brother and sister
-- Kozaki Teijin

Nothing to touch
ten fingers remain open
-- Sawaki Kin'ichi

I look across wide and far
where is the Lord autumn wind
-- Kimura Ryokushi

Like stakes
Tombs stand side by side
hammered in
-- Takayanagi Shigeroba

Swollen with burns
unable to make a weeping face he weeps
-- Hatanaka Kyokotsa

Whether of not I listen
ghosts sob on the atomic field
-- Taniguchi Seinosuke

Rainbow vanishing
a cross stood on the hill
-- Mori Tsuneo

Their whispers like ghosts of the dead
flies swarm
-- Seo Tets

Two exhibitions of Merrill’s work will open next month:
Patrick Merrill - Conjunction: Intaglio and Relief at the College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, California, October 19 - November 24, 2010.
Patrick Merrill: Revelation at the Begovich Gallery at Cal State Fullerton Oct. 30 to Dec. 9, 2010
A memorial service/wake will take place at 2:00pm on Saturday, October 30, at the Begovich Gallery at Cal State Fullerton. This will be followed by a panel discussion of Merrill's art at 4:30pm and the opening reception from 5 to 8pm for Patrick Merrill: Revelation.

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