Date
Volume 18, Number 1
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Johnny Got His Gun
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In February, the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department presented the exhibition Johnny Got His Gun” at the SVA Gallery, curated by faculty member Viktor Koen.

The exhibition was based on the latest iteration of an assignment given by Koen in his Book Seminar course: a single piece of text—typically a short story or a chapter from a book—is used by students as the basis for a series of illustrations. This year’s selection came from Johnny Got His Gun, a 1930s antiwar novel by screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo. The story is a mixture of detailed descriptions, loose ponderings of memories and esoteric discussions featuring the titular protagonist Johnny, which provided a complex and intriguingly expressive background for the students’ images.

“The projects tell a chilling story through a series of images, as well as sequential treatments focusing on the battlefront,” says Koen. Nineteen of Koen’s students used the text as a springboard for approaches ranging from the traditionally illustrative to conceptual and abstract. “The common thread is a depiction of the evils of war, in or outside Johnny’s head.”

Visit www.sva.edu/exhibitions for the most up-to-date information on current and upcoming SVA exhibitions.

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