A new show in The Sanctuary for Independent Media‘s Underground Gallery, “30 Years of the Art of World War 3 Illustrated: America’s Longest Running Political Comic Book,” will be on display from Monday, February 22, 2010 through June 26, 2010.Â The exhibit will be open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 AM-5 PM.
Founded in 1980 by Seth Tobocman and Peter Kuper, World War 3 Illustrated is a labor of love, run by a collective of artists working with the unified goal of creating a home for political comics, graphics and stories. Their confrontational comics shine a little reality on the fantasy world of the American kleptocracy, and have inspired the developing popularity and recognition of the graphic novel medium in the U.S.
World War 3 Illustrated has served as a document of our collective history including many aspects ignored by the mainstream press. The retrospective exhibition is gathered under key themes: “From Reagan to Bush,” “No Police State!,” “Housing Is a Human Right!,” “Politics of Medicine, “Women and WW3,” “Against Global Capital,” “Environment,” “Anti-War,” “New Orleans,” “9/11.”
WW3 contributors range from first-timers to veteran artists who were launched into their careers when their first published pieces appeared in its pages. Though numerous contributors have had their work recognized across the arts community from museums to major magazines, they continue to return to WW3 to find an uncensored platform for social commentary.
The artists drawn to World War 3 Illustrated are activists. They have been involved in direct-action movements. They squatted and took part in demonstrations. They experienced poverty, violence and injustice first hand. Their stories ring true because they reflect this first-hand experience.
If WW3 had a manifesto (which they don’t) it might say if you’re going to talk about changing society, a magazine’s not a bad place to start. WW3 has functioned as a microcosm of the the kind of society they would like to see. Content is valued over style and ideas are not regarded for their popularity, but for their substance. Artists are given a forum to reach an audience with their work and the opportunity to interact and examine their concepts and creative processes in a supportive group setting.
World War 3 Illustrated isn’t about a war that may happen, it is about the ongoing wars our so-called leaders have been waging all our lives around the world and on our very own doorsteps. World War 3 Illustrated also illuminates the war we wage on each other and sometimes the one taking place in our own minds. World War 3 artists take a personal approach to social and political issues, from race to religion to sexual relations, and depict their own dreams and nightmares, both real and imagined. They’ve been covering the topics that matter for 30 years and they’re just getting warmed up!
THE ARTISTS OF World War 3 Illustrated :
The World War 3 Illustrated 30th Anniversary Exhibition was curated by Christoper Cardinale, Sabrina Jones, Rebecca Migdal, Nicole Schulman, Susan Simensky Bietila and Seth Tobocman. Other members of the collective featured in the show include Peter Kuper, Scott Cunningham, Kevin Pyle, Eric Drooker, Sue Coe, Susan Wilmarth, Ryan Inzana, Paula Hewitt, Art Spiegelman and Chuck Sperry, among many others. This show originated at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Library Special Collections and was assembled and archived by Susan Simensky Bietila, Jessica Bublitz and Max Yela.
The magazine could never have survived without this collective effort and the contribution of so many other artists and writers who have donated their talents. In the hierarchy of the magazine editors and contributors receive the same pay: a magazine they’ve helped build. Only the printers and distributors are paid, all profits go into producing the next issue.
Meet the artists of World War 3 Illustrated on Saturday on May 8, 2010 at 8 p.m., at their 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration, as they rejoice in their history of cutting-edge art with multimedia presentations, performance and music.
The Sanctuary for Independent Media is a telecommunications production facility dedicated to community media arts, located in an historic former church at 3361 6th Avenue in north Troy, NY. The Sanctuary hosts screening, production and performance facilities, training in media production and a meeting space for artists, activists and independent media makers of all kinds. Call (518) 272-2390, email info@MediaSanctuary.org, or visit www.MediaSanctuary.org for directions and more information.