Art of Politics: Drawings & Paintings

Are political cartoons art? As the title implies, "Art of Politics: Drawings & Paintings," now at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, takes the answer to that question for granted. The show features dozens of works by Jim Morin, who in his 30 years with the Miami Herald has racked up a trophy case full of awards, including the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. (He was also a finalist in 1977 and 1990.) Not surprisingly, Morin's subject matter is a who's who and what's what of the late 20th and early 21st centuries — like any good cartoonist worth his ink, he has his finger on the pulse of the social, political, and cultural currents of his times. His views skew liberal, as a rule, although a case could be made that a lot of his commentary is just plain common sense. It's also remarkable to see how many of his images remain timely years after their creation. Regardless of whether you agree with him, his facility with a line is never in doubt, as drawing after drawing makes clear. What is surprising — and maybe it shouldn't be — is that Morin is also a fine painter, as evidenced by the handful of oils included in the exhibition. In some of these works, he finds extraordinary poetry in the ordinary, as in Entrance V, which is a straightforward image of an interstate on-ramp, and in Approaching Storm (Market), which juxtaposes the corner of a Publix supermarket with a volatile sky. In others, such as Woman on Bed and The TV Watcher (Elderly Man), he displays a great feel for human flesh. The show, however, is a tease in that it gives us only seven paintings. You can find more at (On display through November 15 at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, 2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs. Call 954-340-5000.)
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Michael Mills