‘I, Con: The Brilliant Work of Paul Conrad’ on exhibit
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Despite winning three Pulitzer Prizes, one of political cartoonist Paul Conrad’s fondest distinctions is having his name included on Richard Nixon’s ‘enemies’ list for his body of work on the scandal-laden president.
Several of those drawings are now on display at ‘I, Con: The Brilliant Work of Paul Conrad’ exhibit at the College of the Canyons’ Art Gallery in Valencia.
[Updated at 10:43 a.m. Saturday: An earlier version of this post gave Conrad’s age as 87. Conrad, who died Saturday of natural causes, was 86.]
During his 50-year career, the onetime Los Angeles Times cartoonist lampooned every president from Harry S Truman to George W. Bush, local political figures and social issues such as gun control and healthcare.
‘His images are so strong and still resonate,’ gallery director Larry Hurst said of Conrad, 86. ‘He has a sharp wit and profound understanding of social and political events.’
The show, a collaboration with the college’s political science department, consists of 54 black-and-white cartoons heavily focused on the Nixon era, and presidents Reagan and George W. Bush. These are from Conrad’s more than 20,000 pen-and-ink drawings and sketches, several thousand of which are housed in the Huntington Library’s archive.
Born in 1924 in Cedars Rapids, Iowa, Conrad began his career at his college paper, The Daily Iowan, at the University of Iowa, where he received his bachelor’s degree in art. He won his first Pulitzer at the Denver Post in 1964 before moving to The Times, where he served as chief editorial cartoonist until 1993.
Also recognized for his bronze sculptures, Conrad’s statues of political leaders including Reagan, Nixon, John Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. have been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Conrad continues to produce cartoons and social commentary for syndication.
The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday or by appointment at 661-362-3612. The exhibit runs through Sept. 30.
-- Liesl Bradner
Images: Top, George W. Bush. Credit: Tribune Media Services. Middle: Nixon/Watergate. Bottom, Paul Conrad. Credit: Conrad Associates.