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Curators' Statement

Two years ago, we set about collecting graphic work that bore witness to the political and social upheaval besetting our nation. The resulting exhibition, which you see here, provides a vivid, multifaceted “first rough draft of history” (as the news was characterized at The Washington Post over half-century ago). Its illustrations, cartoons and animations remain as topical today as they were in 2018—if not more.

The original venue for this show, at the School of Visual Arts in New York City—founded in 1947 as the Cartoonists & Illustrators School—was particularly well suited, and not just for obvious reasons; also because SVA from its inception has been dedicated to training proficient, but also socially aware artists.

It is truly fortunate, then, that Art As Witness has been offered a second, equally fitting location in the Human Rights Institute Gallery at Kean University. We hope that the 200- plus eclectic, provocative, and often humorous images in this exhibition will not only appeal to eyes of its new viewers, but also stimulate contemplation of their role in our troubled, divided but still preciously valuable society.

Francis Di Tommaso (Director of SVA Galleries)

Steve Brodner (faculty)

January 2020