A long history exists between art and politics. Visual images have influenced opinion throughout modern history, from mass-produced patriotic posters to great paintings such as Pablo Picasso's Guernica.
Two area arts venues have planned their own politically themed group shows to coincide with the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday in Tampa.
Syd Entel Galleries & Susan Benjamin Glass, 247 Main St., Safety Harbor, offer "Politics, Patriotism and Pop Art" opening Friday and continuing through Sept. 29. Featured artists are popster Peter Max; Bernie Taupin, who is an abstract painter as well as a famed lyricist and Elton Jon collaborator; fashion designer Michael Vollbracht, who has a home in Safety Harbor where he paints and collages; mosaic artist Nancy Pollock; and Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, who also drew political cartoons. A collection of vintage World War I posters will also be for sale. Hours are 9:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Free. (727) 725-1808 or sydentelgalleries.com.
West Tampa Center for the Arts, in the historic Santaella Cigar Factory, 1906 N Armenia Ave., has organized "Common Sense," borrowing the title from Thomas Paine's famous pamphlet at the beginning of the American Revolution in 1776. The juried show is multimedia with painting, sculpture, performance art and installations. It has a brief run beginning Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., continuing Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, closing day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Monday, a temporary monument will be created in Lykes Gaslight Square in downtown Tampa. (813) 505-8802.
Lennie Bennett, Times art critic