Calling all cartoonists, calling all cartoonists…
The Front Line: Editorial Cartoonists and the First Amendment
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, April 20 — October 27, 2019
Lucy Caswell and Ann Telnaes are co-curating a major exhibition on cartoonists and the First Amendment. It will run for 6 months 2019 in the lead-up to the AAEC Convention at CXC and Ohio State.
In addition to drawing on the copious archives of the Billy Ireland, members of the AAEC are invited to submit contemporary cartoons on the significance of the First Amendment protections for speech and press.
If you've done a cartoon on Citizens United, the cake decorating case, flag-burning, Trump and libel threats, etc., etc., etc, you may submit up to 5 lo-rez pieces for consideration in the exhibit. Email your low-res files to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than August 31, 2018.
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Here is the precept for the exhibit:
What do an outhouse parody, burning the American flag and decorating a wedding cake have in common? Each has been the focus of a First Amendment case reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. —Amendment I, United States Constitution, 1791
First Amendment protections for speech and press relating to editorial cartoons are the focus of this exhibition. How have editorial cartoonists responded to historic First Amendment questions? What do current discussions about issues such as political correctness, social media, trigger warnings, Wiki leaks, white supremacist rallies, fake news and libel have to do with editorial cartoons? Why does it matter?
The Founders included guarantees of free speech and press in the Bill of Rights in order to assure that American citizens would know what their government was doing. In addition, some have noted that the First Amendment exists to protect unpopular, even offensive, viewpoints that are outside the mainstream, which needs no protection.
In a democracy, the role of the editorial cartoonist is to inform, persuade and advocate. Editorial cartoons are signed statements of the personal opinions of their creators, created to challenge readers, whether in print or on-line, to think about current events. Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist David Horsey once said his job was to “poke people in the eye” with his cartoons. The public debate engendered by the metaphorical eye-poke of editorial cartoons is an important part of the American political dialogue intended to produce informed voters.
From the anti-cartoon laws of the early twentieth century and the World War I suppression of cartoons published in The Masses to Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, this exhibition uses works from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s collections augmented by contemporary cartoons by members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists to invite visitors to consider thoughtfully the significance of the First Amendment protections for speech and press.
The co-curators of the exhibition are Ann Telnaes and Lucy Shelton Caswell.