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Sue Coe, 'Political Television,' 1986.

Sue Coe

Political Television, 1986

Graphite and gouache on white Strathmore Bristol board

12 3/4 x 13 inches

SCoed 8

Sue Coe, 'It's Not Safe,' 1983

Sue Coe

It's Not Safe, 1983

Mixed media and collage on paper with canvas backing

83 1/2 x 120 inches

SCoed 5

Sue Coe, 'Police State," 1986.

Sue Coe

Police State, 1986

Oil on gessoed paper

53 x 31 inches

SCoed 2

Sue Coe, 'They are in such a Rush,' 1986.

Sue Coe

They are in Such a Rush, 1986

Mixed media on paper

59 3/4 x 51 inches

SCoed 3

Sue Coe, 'Monetarism,' 1987

Sue Coe

Monetarism, 1987

Watercolor, graphite, gouache and acrylic medium on white Strathmore Bristol board

40 x 30 inches

SCoed 9

Sue Coe, 'Needs of the State,' 1987.

Sue Coe

Needs of the State, 1987

Oil and mixed media on paper

92 3/4 x 60 1/4 inches

SCoed 6

Sue Coe, '86th Street and Third Avenue,' 1987.

Sue Coe

86th Street and Third Avenue, 1987

Mixed media and collage on Saunders paper

90 3/4 x 115 inches

SCoed 4

Sue Coe, 'Lambs to the Slaughter,' 1989.

Sue Coe

Lambs to the Slaughter, 1989

Graphite, watercolor, collage and Rembrandt printers ink on white Strathmore Bristol board

51 3/8 x 37 1/2 inches

SCoed 7

Sue Coe, 'The Second Millennium,' 1997.

Sue Coe

The Second Millennium, 1997

Graphite, gouache and watercolor on white Strathmore Bristol board mounted on canvas

52 3/4 x 55 3/8 inches

SCoed 10

Sue Coe, 'Carousel of War (They Want War),' 2000.

Sue Coe

Carousel of War (They Want War), 2000

Collage, pencil, acrylic on paper

40 x 58 inches (paper)

SCoed 01

Sue Coe, 'It Can Happen Here (Trump),' 2016

Sue Coe

It Can Happen Here (Trump), 2016

Linocut on off-white wove paper

11 x 10 inches (paper); 10 x 8 inches (image)

Edition of 100

SCoer 1

Sue Coe, 'They Were Just Following Orders,' 2018

Sue Coe

They Were Just Following Orders, 2018

Linocut on cream Rives paper

14 x 20 1/4 inches (paper); 12 x 18 1/4 inches (image)

Edition of 100, 10 AP

SCoer 10

Sue Coe, 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,' 2019

Sue Coe

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 2019

Linocut on off-white Rives paper

15 x 12 inches (paper); 11 x 8 5/8 inches (image)

Edition of 100, 5 AP

SCoer 19

Sue Coe, 'Inciter in Chief,' 2020

Sue Coe

Inciter in Chief, 2020

Linocut on white wove paper

13 x 10 inches (paper); 10 3/8 x 8 1/2 inches (image)

Edition of 100, 5 AP

SCoer 26

Sue Coe, 'USA 2020: We Live in an Asylum,' 2020

Sue Coe

USA 2020: We Live in an Asylum, 2020

Linocut with hand-coloring on white Rives paper

13 1/8 x 10 inches (paper); 10 3/8 x 8 1/2 inches (image)

Edition of 100, 10 AP

SCoer 36

Sue Coe, 'Vote,' 2022

Sue Coe

Vote, 2022

Linocut on lightweight white Rives paper

13 1/8 x 10 inches (paper); 7 1/4 x 6 inches (image)

Edition of 100, 5 AP

SCoer 54

Sue Coe, 'Forced Birth,' 2022

Sue Coe

Forced Birth, 2022

Linocut on white paper

13 x 10 inches (paper); 10 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches (image)

Edition of 35, 5 AP

SCoer 67

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Installation view, Sue Coe, Political Television, George Adams Gallery, New York, 2022.

Press Release

The George Adams Gallery is pleased to present Political Television, an exhibition of drawings and prints by Sue Coe spanning her career from the early 1980s to the present. The exhibition will feature several monumentally scaled drawings, touching on themes such as police brutality and the capitalism inherent in our political system. Alongside these will be shown an ongoing series of linocuts that exhaustively chronicles the Trump presidency and its aftermath, a period Coe refers to as “The Age of Authoritarianism.” The most recent print in the series, Forced Birth, has been made especially for the exhibition as a benefit print with the proceeds going to support Planned Parenthood. This exhibition has been organized with the cooperation of Galerie St. Etienne.

Since Coe moved to New York from London in the early ‘70s, her work – both commercial and otherwise – has been vehemently political, tying together what she understands to be the fundamental crimes of our modern society: cruelty, fascism and greed. Deriving from her training as an illustrator, Coe’s graphic and emotive style lends itself to a deeply expressive body of work, encompassing a number of serial projects and stand-alone pieces. Many of these projects have culminated in books or pamphlets, her drawings adding urgency to the issues at hand. Regardless of her medium however, Coe is brutally honest, her aim: to provide an unflinching picture of instances of the disregard for life. While her early drawings are direct in that they are commenting on recent events, they are also timeless in their reminder of how easily society can infringe on basic rights under the guise of justice and order. More recently, Coe’s “Age of Authoritarianism” prints marry the traditions of political art and cartoon, her graphic renderings of current, hot button issues, serve as both a chronicle of the recent past and a commentary on the potential consequences of world events. They have been a regular feature of The Nation’s Opp-Art column since 2019 and most recently, serve as the basis for a pair of pamphlets, American Fascism Now (2020) and American Fascism Still (2022). While the series was instigated by the candidacy of Donald Trump in 2016, his election and the controversies that ensued galvanized Coe’s response. Now numbering over seventy images, the series addresses the range of issues that have continued to shape the political discourse. From women’s rights to governmental oversight, dis-information to climate change, immigration, the Supreme Court, the pandemic, voting rights, the economy, war, and above all, Trump himself, Coe brings these issues together, creating a terrifying picture of the world we live in.

Activism has always been the driving force behind Coe’s work. In the early ‘80s, she embarked on a number of large-scale drawings, directly illustrating scenes of violence and avarice she directly observed or heard of, in a stark palette of blacks and reds. While Coe was actively doing commercial work for major publications such as Rolling Stone and the New York Times, she also became involved in the underground comic scene, contributing pieces for politically-minded magazines such as Raw and later World War 3. Her relationship with Raw led her to collaborate with the publishers Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman on two projects: How to Commit Suicide in South Africa (1983) and X (1986). Both books combined Coe’s artworks with writing on incendiary subjects: apartheid and violence in South Africa and the life of Malcolm X, respectively. Though the drawings Coe made for each were intended for print, she approached the subjects at scale – many are over five feet in size. These monumental works reflect Coe’s perception of the subjects and her sense of their importance at the time, a call for action against those who have wronged others. In 1986, drawings from both series as well as others were exhibited in a major traveling exhibition, Police State, that originated at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Works from that exhibition are also on view here, reinforcing the broader themes of violence, oppression and injustice that have remained the focus of Coe’s work for the past forty years.

Like all good activist artists, Coe manages to elicit both sympathy and repulsion from her audience while also forcing us to consider how complicit we are ourselves. While many of Coe’s prints, for instance, are granularly topical (see: They Were Just Following Orders and Inciter in Chief), she has focused more on systemic concerns, such as the inefficiencies in our political system, inhumane practices in the food industry and the dire threat caused by global warming. Politics in particular have become an increasingly urgent subject since 2016, not in small part due to the partisanship that has divided the country. Yet Coe looks at these divisions as less a product of political ideologies than as a symptom of the constructs that continue to exercise power on the democratic system. While it can be dangerously simple to dismiss her message as naïve, Coe suggests that with compassion to all living things, we can begin to heal.