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Politics and Pleasantries: A Smart Museum Discussion of Erika Rothenberg’s Satirical Greet-ing Cards

On February 25, 2021, the Smart Museum of Art launched a new web series called “Close Looking” with an accompanying conversation on the work of American artist, activist, and former UChicago student Erika Rothenberg. Rothenberg was kicked out of the College for participating in a student protest. Her series is meant to replicate in-depth discussions with museumgoers and museum staff that have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosted by the Smart Museum’s Academic Engagement Graduate Intern Gary Kafer, the event highlighted the museum’s collection of Rothenberg’s satirical greeting cards. These cards have been featured in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); they examine Rothenberg’s use of humor to express messages about taste, care, and politics. The collection of greeting cards is part of the museum’s larger exhibition Take Care , which features more than 50 works of art across media from Smart’s own collection. The exhibition seeks to unpack matters of care from the personal to the collective and aims to answer the question of how we care for ourselves and others. Erika Rothenberg: Gouache and ink on paper. Smart Museum of Art

The online conversation highlighted how Rothenberg explores this idea of care in her greeting cards, especially […]

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