“The Art of the News” at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, 2021
“The Art of the News: Comics Journalism” brings together a number of contemporary works for the first major retrospective of the genre. Comics journalism is a humanistic practice with special relevance to the University of Oregon. It was at UO that the founder of contemporary comics journalism, Joe Sacco, obtained his degree. The exhibition highlights recent and established work from Sacco alongside the work of other artists in the field, including Dan Archer, Thi Bui, Jesús Cossio, Sarah Glidden, Viktoria Lomasko, Sarah Mirk, Ben Passmore, and Andy Warner. Focusing on the methods and techniques that each artist uses, the show alsos highlight the ethical imperative that drives this form of documentation. Repudiating both the ever-increasing rapidity of the 24-hour news cycle and the valorization of objectivity, journalists who use comics and graphic narrative to document current events and human rights struggles insist that accurate witnessing takes time and involves human subjects. From displaced persons in refugee camps (Sacco 2013; Glidden 2016; Archer 2020) to frontline workers in a pandemic (Bui 2020), the humans who inspire the practice of comics journalism are likewise rendered by the work of human hands, which draw and record their stories. In the age of Russian bots and fake news, comics journalism reframes conceptualizations of accuracy and truth. “The Art of the News” demonstrates the urgency of such art through carefully curated and researched installations and objects.