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Political Power Of Imagery

What images best convey the meaning of politics in America? An exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence explores this idea through photography, prints, paintings, archival political ads, and a poodle skirt.  Burdett Loomis, longtime professor of political science at the University of Kansas, curated this exhibition - it's his first.

Interview highlights

"Over the course of time, probably over the last 30, 35, 40 years, my wife and I have collected a lot of art. We have a house full of art. I have an office full of overflow art at KU. I've been heavily involved in art."

"Mostly the show is selected, in a time in which we are bombarded by images, to make people step back, put a little distance between themselves and politics and maybe take a fresh view - even looking at images that we're familiar with, older images, but images that in some sense will jar us a little bit and make us reconsider the nature of politics."

"The Dole Institute of Politics is a great resource on campus, and the archives, in particular, are probably underseen by many in the community. Being down in the bowels of the Dole Institute, I saw this cummerbund (cummerbund (Dole catalog #350)), this ornate, beaded cummerbund that was given to Bob Dole. And I thought, I have to have that."

"At some point, does a commercial stop being useful politically and somehow become a work of art?"


"One of the themes of the show is repetition. We have Andy Warhol's S & H Green Stamps, 1962, one after another after another; politics as a repetition of messages."

Politics as Symbol/Symbol as Politics, through January 27, 2013. 20/21 Gallery Conversation Wall,Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, 1301 Mississippi, Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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