26 August 2010

Rude Britannia

Rude Britannia
The Plumb Pudding In Danger
Rude Britannia: British Comic Art is a survey of satirical, political, bawdy, and absurd humour in British art. It opened at Tate Britain (London) on 9th June, and will close on 5th September.

William Hogarth's Rake's Progress series, and the Macaroni series by Samuel Hieronymus Grimm, satirise the excesses of the upper classes, and an iconic James Gillray cartoon (The Plumb Pudding In Danger) depicts William Pitt and Napoleon literally carving up the globe. Steve Bell provides captions for George Cruikshank's panorama The Worship Of Bacchus.

Aubrey Beardsley's phallic etchings and Donald McGill's saucy postcards (complete with their files from the Director of Public Prosecutions) are included alongside several contemporary works by Sarah Lucas. David Shrigley's anthropomorphic taxidermy cat proudly proclaims its own death.

The highlights are Gerald Scarfe's terrifying image of Margaret Thatcher haunted by the souls of Argentine navy casualties and his provocative Oz parody depicting Mary Whitehouse being violated by Rupert Bear during an audience with the Pope. More Punch cartoons, Private Eye covers, and comics would have been welcome.