Madness - Arthur Szyk

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights

Special Exhibit

On display September 1, 2022 – May 7, 2023 in The Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery

A special exhibit examining the work of artist, illustrator, and political cartoonist Arthur Szyk will be on display at The National WWII Museum starting September 1, 2022. In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights will showcase more than 50 of Szyk’s original works, which focus on humanitarian issues that faced the world in the early 20th century—including issues that remain relevant today.

Born into a middle-class Jewish family in turn-of-the-century Poland, Szyk led a life shaped by two world wars and dominated by the collapse of democracies and rise of totalitarianism in Europe. Szyk was a refugee who settled in the United States in 1940. As an artist, he became renowned for his caricatures and political cartoons, throughout which he displayed a broad concern for human rights. The artist fearlessly ridiculed dictators, exposed Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, and criticized the Ku Klux Klan and civil rights violations in America. Many of his works appeared on the covers of America’s most popular magazines during World War II. Throughout his artwork, he paired his commentary on human rights issues with motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture.

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights is curated by Francesco Spagnolo, Curator, University of California, Berkeley, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. The acquisition of the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection (2017) and research for this exhibition were made possible by a generous gift from Taube Philanthropies. The collection includes 450 artworks as well as books, newspapers, magazines, and other publications that featured his art. Original works from the collection will be displayed in the exhibit, which will be organized into six thematic sections focused on various aspects of human rights: Human Rights and Their Collapse, The Rights of Global Refugees, The Right to Resist, The Rights of Nationhood, The Right to Expose: Executioners at Work, and The Right to America. Szyk’s artwork stands as a reminder of the atrocities the world faced in the early 20th century, and it also speaks to current humanitarian crises. The issues Szyk addressed through his art remain relevant today.

The full collection has been digitized, and visitors will have the opportunity to explore Szyk’s miniatures in high resolution on a monitor within the exhibit. At an interactive workstation, they will be encouraged to create new cartoons by repurposing elements of the pieces within the collection and instantly publish them online—in real time.

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights will be on display in the Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery in Louisiana Memorial Pavilion through May 7, 2023. The special exhibition is presented in New Orleans by Taube Philanthropies, with additional support from George Marcus and the Isermann Foundation.

The National WWII Museum

Museum Campus

Exhibit Location

Louisiana Memorial Pavilion