In an incredible case of art kismet, Honolulu has two simultaneous exhibitions up examining war—Francisco Goya’s 19th-century etching series “The Disasters of War” (pictured below) at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and the contemporary woodcut series “The Depravities of War” (pictured above) by Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk at KCC’s Koa Gallery. Both artists comment on the atrocities of armed conflict of their time—and seeing both shows make it clear that not a whole hell of a lot has changed in almost 200 years. It is an amazing opportunity for us to be able to compare and contrast the two.
And there’s a real connection between the two series. Birk’s work is based on a series of prints by the 17th-century French artist Jacques Callot. But he was also inspired by “The Disasters of War,” notes Academy Curator of European and American art Theresa Papanikolas. In fact, while in town last month, Birk stopped by the Academy for lunch with Papanikolas and viewed “The Disasters of War” in Gallery 9.
Papanikolas reports that the soft-spoken Birk, a Long Beach native, got in some surfing while here and is working on a new series based on the Koran.
Birk made the “Depravities of War” prints on Maui at Hui No‘eau’s Hui Press with Paul Mullowny in 2007. Check the Hui Press blog for scenes from the opening, which attracted the likes of HPR’s Noe Tanigawa and artists Michael Arcega and Stephanie Syjuco who were in town working on their installation at the Contemporary Museum.
The Disasters of War, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Through Aug. 9.
A second rotation of prints from the series opens Aug. 13 and runs through Jan. 10.
The Depravities of War, Koa Gallery, Kapi‘olani Community College
Through Aug. 6. Tue-Fri 11am-4pm, Sat 10am-3pm