Steve Brodner – A Must-See
Exhibition at SVA Chelsea Gallery

John Canemaker and Steve Brodner at the opening reception, October 10, 2019.

Steve Brodner is an Honoré Daumier for our troubled times.

The avenging spirit of the prolific French cartoonist, who mercilessly roasted 19th century politicians and society, like pigs on a spit, lives on in Brodner’s drawing instruments. His pen and brush are razor-sharp weapons, lancing 21st century boils of fetid political animals.

The Court of King Donald I, 2017, watercolor.

Like Daumier, Brodner is a master draftsman. No matter how ugly the people being caricatured are, or how dastardly their deeds, you cannot take your eyes away from Brodner’s compelling and strangely beautiful imagery. He offers superb elegance of line, strong poses and clarity in his visual storytelling, to convey his powerful messages: empathy for innocent or hapless victims; disgust for villainous, stupid men and woman who abuse their power.

Bush and Bugs, 1991, ink.

Animation plays a powerful part in showing the psychological side of the characters he depicts. Former CIA man George H. W. Bush removing his head, releasing hundreds of “bugs” escaping in a torrential spray; his son, George W. Bush as Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, attacking Saddam Hussein and giving rise to an endless army of jihadists; Jimmy Carter, in four sequential drawings, floating into a question mark; Donald Trump in mid-comb-over, revealing a Nazi swastika embedded on his bald dome; Rush Limbaugh as a cigar-smoking buttocks.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 2004, watercolor.
Under Trump’s Comb-Over, 2015, watercolor and digital.

Perfect visual metaphors, all!

Earth to Washington, 2008, watercolor and gouache.

Brodner’s style often uses wild exaggeration, a far-out distortion, reminding me of the 16th century anamorphosis paintings, which could only be deciphered with an anamorphic mirror or lens to correct the distortion. Somehow, sans mirrors and lenses, Brodner maintains the look of the person and their personality.

Detail of the gallery’s wall collage.

Steve Brodner is being honored with a spectacular exhibition of 50 years of his amazing art — “The Master’s Series: Steve Brodner” — now through November 2, 2019 at the SVA Chelsea Gallery (601 West 26th Street, New York City).

It is a must-see celebration of a modern genius of graphic communication and a crusader for truth and justice in America’s latest Dark Age.

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Alex Da Corte’s “Marigolds”

John Canemaker and Alex Da Corte at the September 20 opening celebration of Da Corte’s exhibition Marigolds Private Artist Walk-through at Karma Gallery. A giant dimensional neoprene (synthetic rubber) carrot-flute looms.

Run, don’t walk, to Karma Gallery (188 East 2nd Street & 172 East 2nd Street) to see ALEX DA CORTE’s exciting new show, Marigolds, now through November 3. Link here.

Da Corte discusses his art with Karma Gallery guests in front of a dimensional broken pumpkin.

Alex Da Corte’s immersive art is often grand in scale and complex in concept: gorgeous color-saturated installations in large spaces, and provocative, elegant videos express the artist’s obsessive desires and interest, such as fantasy, horror films, sex, pop culture, and comic books, cartoons, and animation.

Comic book sources (above and below) for Da Costa’s neoprene imagery are also displayed.

Marigolds is a walk-through puzzle, with subliminal messages to be deciphered on multiplane levels. “Decoding or seeing something that may not be readily present,” Da Corte comments. The viewer must “dig deeper. It is a call for empathy.”

An enigmatic word search puzzle greets visitors with a hidden message.

Karma will publish a fully illustrated catalog of the exhibition, which will include newly commissioned texts by animator and historian John Canemaker and writer Tausif Noor, as well as the eponymous short story Marigolds by Dr. Eugenia Collier.

A giant blue boa based on Saint-Exupery’s famed drawing of a hat which, The Little Prince explains, is really a snake digesting an elephant. Behind, a blow-up of an M.C. Escher painting.

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