Conversation XIII: Politics as Symbol/Symbol as Politics


Politics is simultaneously about substance and symbol. If art is in part spectacle, there is no political spectacle to match an American presidential election. Each such contest produces thousands of images and scenes, almost every one planned and executed like a work of art, be it a poster, portrait, or performance. This exhibit includes works ranging from buttons to historic photographs to highly politicized prints to abstract art. They are mostly not about presidents or presidential elections; rather, they explore the relationship between politics and image, emphasizing more the symbol than the substance. But perhaps that captures one essence of politics in general, and U.S. politics in particular. This exhibition is curated by Burdett Loomis, professor of political science at the University of Kansas, and has been organized with the Andrew W. Mellon Department of Academic Programs at the Spencer Museum of Art.

Event details:

  • Ongoing until Sunday, January 27, 2013
  • Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Miss., KU campus, Lawrence
  • Cost: Free
  • Age limit: All ages


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