See All Topics

Home / Section: Editorial cartooning

Matt Wuerker reviews Pat Oliphant exhibit

Politico editorial cartoonist Matt Wuerker has written a review of Pat Oliphant’s traveling exhibit entitled “Leadership: Oliphant Cartoons and Sculpture From the Bush Years.”

When you walk into the exhibit, you’re first struck by two giant charcoal caricatures, one of the late President Ronald Reagan as a cowboy and the other of former President George H.W. Bush as Lawrence of Arabia.

The two drawings illustrate the acidic reverse alchemy mastered by Oliphant. He takes the gilded icons the two presidents would prefer as their historical representations and turns them on their heads. He’s drawn Bush 41 with a smile that captures the shadow of foppish wimpiness that he couldn’t shake, no matter how grand a coalition he led into battle. And he mixes Reagan’s winning affability with a certain lost-on-the-range quality that’s more Bonzo than John Wayne.

This is the power of Oliphant’s graphic gift. Millions of advertising and marketing dollars are spent selling the public larger-than-life images of political figures. Talented cartoonists such as Oliphant can puncture these overinflated media creations with the artistic equivalent of perfectly aimed spitballs.

Community Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.