August 12, 2004
An exhibit nearly canceled for being too anti-Bush will open as scheduled Aug. 31 at Arizona State University’s Art Museum, officials announced Wednesday.
"Democracy in America: Political Satire Then and Now" became controversial last month after officials realized too many of the works submitted were scathingly critical of President Bush and his Iraq policies. The museum threatened to pull the exhibit, which was inspired by the third and final presidential debate which will be Oct. 13 in Gammage Auditorium, unless curators found pieces to balance the presentation.
"Some of the initial things we got in were a little onesided," said Stacey Shaw, director of communication for the Herberger College of Fine Art.
The university would not make museum director Marilyn Zeitlin, who spearheaded the project, available for comment until Aug. 30, spokeswoman Mica Matsoff said.
Curators were putting the exhibit together when the controversy erupted in July. Zeitlin and the other curators cast a wide net searching for pieces that would balance the exhibit and have since added several historical works to compliment contemporary pieces, Shaw said.
Norman Rockwell’s portrait of President John F. Kennedy will be paired with political cartoonist Paul Szep’s depiction of former President Richard Nixon shrouded in a security blanket during impeachment hearings. William Hogarth’s 18th century "An Election Entertainment" series depicting an electoral system for sale will be paired with Valley artist Heidi Hesse’s "American Dream." Hesse’s piece is a machine dispensing capsules containing citizenship questions and American icons.
Other artists whose works are scheduled to appear include Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Litt, Julian Schnabel and the Tribune’s editorial cartoonist Mike Ritter.
"We’re really pleased about putting on the show we absolutely intended to — one that is thought provoking and expresses a wide variety of viewpoints," Shaw said.
What: Democracy in America: Political Satire Then and Now
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, Aug. 31 through Nov. 19
Where: Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe campus
Info: (480) 965-2787