A Father-Son Exhibition Bridges Two Generations of Graphic Art

by Admin
A Father-Son Exhibition Bridges Two Generations of Graphic Art

Editorial cartoonist Tom Darcy was never one to hold back. From his graphic criticism that tended to go straight for the jugular to his own extroverted personality, the artist’s quick wit and sharp social commentary seemed to trickle into all areas of his life.

This summer, more than 120 of the Brooklyn-born artist’s cartoons will go on display in a cross-generational exhibition at Lower Manhattan’s Nunu Fine Art gallery. Darcy & Darcy: In Monochrome will put his drawings in conversation with over 50 black-and-white paper works and experimental videos by his son, Brad Darcy, displayed across the gallery’s main floor and in its newly opened lower-level exhibition space.

After studying at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School (renamed the School of Visual Arts in 1956), Tom Darcy helped usher in a new era of editorial cartoons during his 31-year career, spanning publications including Newsday, the Houston Post, and the Phoenix Gazette. He described his work as “not for the amusement of the comfortable,” and received a Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for his editorial cartooning, which commented on issues including the Vietnam War, racism, and poverty. He retired from his job at Newsday in 1997 and he passed away from emphysema at 67 years old in 2000.

“While assembling these images, we saw that many fundamental issues persist over multiple decades: peace and war, racial equality, economic fairness, and social equity,” gallery founder Nunu Hung told Hyperallergic. “However, there is a stark contrast between our treatment of those ongoing challenges and our fellow citizens between now and then.”

Tom Darcy, “Darcy Political Cartoon 1012” (1972), ink on illustration board/photostat, 20 inches x 15 inches

Pointing to Tom Darcy’s ability to maintain civil relations with his adversaries (exemplified in Richard Nixon’s congratulatory note to the cartoonist in spite of his repeated criticisms of the former president’s policies), Hung emphasized that current society seems to “have lost the ability to ‘agree to disagree.’”

“[We] want to show that two disparate graphic languages — one comically didactic and moralizing, the other witty but purely artistic — can speak with equal force to our shared human concerns,” Hung said.

Brad Darcy, whose practice is currently based out of a studio in the Financial District, told Hyperallergic that although his contemporary artwork may not resemble his father’s “politically charged cartoons,” he was still heavily impacted by the experience of growing up with an artist-parent who was deeply passionate about social justice.

“Despite his career as a political cartoonist, his values of empathy and social justice influenced me more than his specific style,” Darcy said. Focusing on themes related to human consciousness and evolution, Brad Darcy’s work involves an automatic drawing technique in which he creates immediate, unfiltered works on paper, “almost like snapshots from my mind’s eye.”

“While some see my work as tranquil, I intend to prompt thought and introspection to the viewer and provoke discussions about pressing social issues,” Darcy said. Darcy & Darcy: In Monochrome will open June 14 and run through August 17.

brad wearing chances
Brad Darcy, “Wearing Chances” (2018) ink and pencil on paper, 12 inches x 9 inches
Tom Darcy, “Darcy Political Cartoon 1010” (1975) ink on illustration board/photostat, 20 inches x 15 inches

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