Political cartoons that were banned from a Pittsburgh newspaper will make up a new exhibit in the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, The Washington Post reported Friday.
A collection of 18 sketches – titled “Spiked: The Unpublished Political Cartoons of Rob Rogers” – will be on display in the Flagg Building starting July 18. The exhibit comes after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette refused to publish editorial cartoons drawn by cartoonist Rob Rogers over a three month period, and eventually fired him last month.
Sanjit Sethi, the director of the Corcoran, contacted Rogers after learning the Post-Gazette fired him for his satirical works and called the idea for a pop-up collection a “no-brainer,” according to The Post.
“Rob Rogers’ political cartoons are piercing, satiric and sardonic, and they epitomize this idea of American genius,” Sethi said in an interview with The Post. “You shouldn’t be losing your job because of whom you choose to critique. That’s North Korea.”
Sethi said the cartoons prompt discussions about censorship, freedom of the press and the importance of journalism in a democracy.
“It was really powerful for me to make sure the Corcoran could have work like that – as a point of departure and a point of discussion,” Sethi told The Post.
The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Atrium Galleries of the Flagg Building through October. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on the weekends from 1 to 6 p.m.
The Post-Gazette fired Rogers after nixing 18 of his politically-charged cartoons. Roger told The Post his former employer wanted to shift to a “cartoons by committee” selection process instead of editing an individual cartoonist.
Rogers’ sketches were published in the Post-Gazette for about 25 years, but the newspaper’s publisher said the cartoonist grew to be “obsessed” with President Donald Trump and “hasn’t been funny in a long time,” which lead to his dismissal, Politico reported.
Since his departure, Rogers has continued to produce freelance cartoons for Andrews McMeel Syndication.
Here is my first cartoon as a freelance syndicated cartoonist without a staff job. This story about the immigrant children makes me ashamed to be an American. https://t.co/EQJEUosTvi #TrumpConcentrationCamps #Trump #TrumpCamps #ImmigrantChildren #Immigration pic.twitter.com/fEE5vVuOiK
— Rob Rogers (@Rob_Rogers) June 19, 2018
Rogers said in an interview with The Post that the exhibit showcases an issue that is of more importance than him being fired.
“When the newspaper or media outlet that is supposed to be a watchdog and keep an eye on authority and keep them in check — when they’re getting into bed with authority and letting authority off the hook, we’re in trouble,” Rogers told The Post. “That’s what my paper did.”
After the art is run in the Flagg Building, the cartoons will be transferred to the University of Pittsburgh to add to a larger show.