Eyes on Art

Cool weather brings even cooler art shows, where you can grab some face time with photographer Duane Michals’ celebrity portraits, see City Hall through the eyes of political cartoonist Rex Babin or walk toward the light in one of Bruce Nauman’s corridors. Here’s our guide to five see-worthy exhibits around the region this fall.

(page 3 of 5)

Drawing Caleeforneeya:
Political Cartoons of
Rex Babin, 1999-2012

From Mayor Kevin Johnson to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, no politician was safe from the sharp wit and pen of Rex Babin, who spent 13 years as The Sacramento Bee’s editorial cartoonist until his death in 2012. Now, with politics at the top of our newsfeed, the California Museum debuts a retrospective of Babin’s work for the paper.

Jack Ohman—the current Bee political cartoonist (“I will always think of it as Rex’s position,” he wrote in the daily on the one-year anniversary of his longtime friend’s passing)—serves as guest curator of the show, which features 44 pieces and is on view until Oct. 14. “It was hard for me to go through his originals,” he says. “It was very emotional. It was like going through love letters from somebody who has left you.”

In the end, Ohman is grateful to play a role in this exhibit honoring Babin, who earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 2003 and was posthumously awarded the California Press Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for journalistic excellence in 2015. “Most people don’t have a work legacy. It just so happens that people like Rex have a physical, tangible legacy and when you are able to display it in some way, you are passing on their world view,” Ohman says. “That’s very poignant.”

$9. Through Oct. 14. Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. noon-5 p.m. California Museum. 1020 O St. 916-653-7524. californiamuseum.org

Over 40 works by political cartoonist Rex Babin, including this 2010 piece about Jerry Brown's second tenure as governor, are spotlighted at the California Museum through Oct. 14. (Illustration by Rex Babin, courtesy of The Sacramento Bee)