Drawn to Action: The Life and Work of Arthur Szyk
October 25, 2014-January 31, 2015
When Hitler invaded Poland, caricaturist and activist Arthur Szyk was drawn to action. His pen became a weapon against hatred and injustice.
Szyk was a proud Polish-Jew and later, also a proud American. He was an incredibly talented artist who could create finely detailed and elegant “medieval” Jewish art as well as political and satirical caricatures—which he did the moment Nazi boots stepped onto Polish soil. He expressed his feelings with an energetic palette of dramatic color and the use of exaggerated features to humiliate the people he despised and glorify those he wanted to portray as heroic or powerful.
“Art is not my aim, it is my means,” Szyk proclaimed. His artwork became his way of participating in the war against the Nazis and the Axis powers. He was on a mission, literally “to alert and inform the Americans about the gravity of the situation in Europe.” Eleanor Roosevelt described him as “a one-man army” for the Allied cause.
Ever an activist, his later artwork allowed him to become a voice against Jim Crow, the KKK and lynching.
Kathy and Harlan Crow
Gregg and Michelle Philipson Collection and Archive
Jan Karski Polish School of Dallas
A special thanks to 70kft for graphic design.
Harry Wu is a Chinese human rights activist who spent 19 years in Chinese labor camps. He authored a number of books, including “Bitter Winds,” a memoir that chronicles his years of imprisonment.
Today, a resident and citizen of the United States, Wu serves as executive director of the Laogai Research Foundation, a human rights NGO that he founded to gather information and raise public awareness of the Laogai—China’s extensive system of forced-labor prison camps.
The final lecture in the 2014 Upstander Speaker Series, Wu will speak on his experience in the labor camps, the essential issues of state-sponsored terror and torture and the far-reaching repercussions of unchecked power.
The Upstander Speaker Series serves as part of the Museum’s continuing commitment to supporting human rights, and ending the silence and indifference to the suffering of others.
Wu embodies what it means to be an Upstander, carrying out the social responsibility of recognizing when something is wrong and acting to make it right. He continues to do so today by bringing the current form of Chinese labor camps to light and preventing U.S. companies from capitalizing on this type of labor.
The event is free for students with ID and museum members. General admission is $10.