The venerable Manhattan art space Exit Art is presenting “Graphic Radicals: 30 Years of World War III Illustrated,” a retrospective exhibition celebrating the titular political comics magazine. The publication was started three decades ago by BFA Illustration and Cartooning Department faculty members Peter Kuper and Seth Tobocman, initially in reaction to the Iran hostage crisis that led the day’s news. Since then, WWIII Illustrated has commented on topics as general as homelessness and the prison industry and as specific as the Tompkins Square Riot and Hurricane Katrina.
The show at Exit Art, 475 Tenth Avenue, runs through Saturday, February 5, and includes work by Steve Brodner (faculty, BFA Illustration and Cartooning Department), Mirko Ilic (faculty, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department), Sabrina Jones (MFA 2003 Illustration as Visual Essay) and Edwin Vazquez (MFA 2009 Illustration as Visual Essay), among many others. The exhibition caught the eye of New York Times art critic Holland Cotter, who called it “the real thing, a fully fleshed-out picture,” and went on to note, “That Mr. Kuper and Mr. Tobocman, along with the illustrator Susan Willmarth, are the curators counts for a lot. They’ve lived this material; they have a wealth of it at their fingertips; they’ve done versions of the show before. It’s the rare museum presentation that has such advantages.”