Social Protest/Affirmation

Chapter 10

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Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Learning Objectives

Describe how different artists choose to protest oppression through their medium.

Contrast how various artists have depicted war during different time periods, art movements, and cultures.

Explain why visual imagery is a powerful tool for addressing discrimination of all kinds.

Given examples of artworks that protest injustice, explain how and what these works communicate about the oppressed.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Map 6

Map 6 Patterns of World Trade.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Introduction

Many artists protest injustice via their artwork.

They identify villains, honor heroes, promote causes with emotional and visual impact.

Protest art is a form of affirmation based on respect for human dignity and the belief that change is possible.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.1 (1 of 2)

10.1 Cildo Meireles. Insertions into Ideological Circuits: Coca-Cola Project, Brazil, 1970. Screen print on Coca-Cola bottles.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.1 (2 of 2)

This 1970 work was created as a response to Brazil’s military government, which supported itself by “selling” the country to foreign investors, including the U.S., while the environment and cultures of indigenous peoples were being destroyed.

The government repressed art that was openly critical of it.

Meireles took empty Coca-Cola bottles, screen-printed subversive messages on them, and returned them for refilling.

Using Coca-Cola bottles as vehicles for political messages was clever because:

Coca-Cola is everywhere.

there is an existing system of reusing bottles.

Coca-Cola is a symbol for U.S. culture.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.2 (1 of 2)

10.2 Coatlicue, Aztec, Tenochtitlán, Mexico, c. 1487–1520. Andesite, 11' 6" high. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.2 (2 of 2)

In 1519, the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs and attempted to wipe out their culture.

Spain also conquered the Incas of Peru and established a colonial empire in the Americas.

This colossal freestanding statue is an example of the art style of the Aztecs.

It depicts a deity who represents sacrificial death as well as potential for new life.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

PROTESTS AGAINST MILITARY ACTION

For thousands of years, artists depicted war by glorifying the victors and showing the defeated.

Much of past art was made for victorious political or religious leaders.

Warfare was a means to gain power; art was a way to display that power.

Two-hundred years ago, however, artists began to make art protesting particular wars and warfare in general.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.3 (1 of 2)

10.3 Francisco Goya. The Executions of May 3, 1808, Spain, 1814. Oil on canvas, 8' 8 3/4" × 11' 3 3/4". Prado, Madrid.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.3 (2 of 2)

Painted from sketches the artist made at the actual event, this work protested Napoleon’s occupational army in 1808 Madrid. Notably:

it depicts Spaniards facing the firing line.

the man in white, arms outstretched, is like Christ crucified.

the soldiers repeated poses and hidden faces are dehumanized.

barrels of pointed rifles are rigidly organized—a war machine.

the Spaniards are trembling, praying, or protesting so that the viewer identifies with their horror.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.4 (1 of 2)

10.4 Käthe Kollwitz. The Outbreak (“Losbruch”), Germany, 1903. Etching, 1' 8" × 1' 11 1/4".

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.4 (2 of 2)

This work depicts an uprising in the 16th-century Peasant War in Germany, the 5th of 7 prints to show the destructive energy of war.

Kollwitz shows a woman leading the revolt, breaking stereotypes about women’s passivity.

The Outbreak shows:

peasants grouped at the right.

on the left, peasants attack their oppressors with crude weapons.

the dark woman in front as leader, the conscience for the group.

the woman’s upraised arms incite others to action.

her bony, twisted hands/arms document the harshness of life.

stark blacks and whites, conveying the emotional moment.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.5 (1 of 2)

10.5 George Grosz. Fit for Active Service, Germany, 1918. Pen and ink, 1' 2 1/2" × 1' 1 1/2". The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.5 (2 of 2)

Fit for Active Service exposed the German doctors and officers, who sent elderly, sick, or very young men to fight for Germany near the end of WWI.

Grosz uses his pen to depict:

smug, laughing faces of the officers.

soldiers at attention, their seams lining up with the floor and the window frames, symbolizing conformity.

the happy doctor who’s found another body for the front lines.

factories belching out machinery of war.

a rounded, detailed skeleton seems the most human.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.6 (1 of 2)

10.6 John Heartfield. Goering the Executioner, Germany, 1933. Photomontage cover for AIZ magazine.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.6 (2 of 2)

Goering the Executioner is a photomontage combining news photos and drawings.

The subject is Field Marshal Hermann Goering of the Nazi party.

Heartfield depicts Goering as a butcher to warn the public of bloodshed to come.

Heartfield’s Goering effective portrayal includes:

increasing the thickness of Goering’s neck, emphasizing aggressiveness.

displaying the burning Reichstag, likely perpetrated by the Nazis.

black-and-white elements giving an unvarnished, blunt quality.

a meat cleaver and stained apron, warnings of Nazi bloodshed.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.7 (1 of 2)

10.7 David Alfaro Siqueiros. Echo of a Scream, Mexico, 1937. Enamel on wood, 4' × 3'. Gift of Edward M. M. Warburg (633.1939). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.7 (2 of 2)

This work about the Spanish Civil War symbolizes human suffering through the screaming, pained child sitting amid the debris of modern warfare.

Siqueiros’ symbols:

screaming, helpless, child amid the destruction of warfare represents humanity.

the repeated large, detached crying child’s head depicts the pain of unseen victims.

dark tones add a somber note to the ugly surroundings.

urbanization, industrialization, endless piles of waste (the result of progress).

Siqueiros was a Mexican citizen who fought in Spain against the Fascists and their Nazi backers.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.8 (1 of 2)

10.8 Robert Motherwell. Elegy to the Spanish Republic XXXIV, USA, 1953–1954. Oil on canvas, 6' 8" × 8' 4". Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.8 (2 of 2)

Elegy is one of a series of paintings mourning the loss of liberty in Spain after the Fascist victory.

Motherwell believed abstraction communicated the struggle between life and death, freedom and oppression.

The large size of the painting makes these struggles seem monumental.

Motherwell was influenced by the Surrealist process called Automatism, which incorporates intuition, spontaneity, and the accidental.

His black-and-white forms suggest:

bull testicles.

leather berets of the Guardia Civil.

living ovoid forms crushed by the black bands.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.9 (1 of 2)

10.9 Shomei Tomatsu. Senji Yamaguchi of Urakami, 1962. Gelatin silver print, 1' 15/16" × 8 13/16".

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.9 (2 of 2)

This disturbing photo is one of a series that exposes the mutilation of victims who survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, at the end of WWII.

Tomatsu’s photo is technically beautiful, with a full range of deep blacks contrasting with bright light revealing the textures of Senji’s scarred skin.

Senji’s twisted neck gives us a sense of his lifelong suffering.

The series documented past horrors and protested U.S. troops stationed in Japan.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.10 (1 of 2)

10.10 Leon Golub. Mercenaries I, United States, 1976. Acrylic on canvas, 9' 8" × 15' 6 1/2". The Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.10 (2 of 2)

Golub worked from news photos and realistically reported atrocities occurring regularly.

Mercenaries I shows two “guns for hire,” exposing thugs who use force to bolster a repressive government.

In Mercenaries I:

thick paint has been scraped, surface seems raw.

victim has no identifying traits.

flesh looks repulsive on the mercenaries and victim.

colors are jarring and acidic.

flattened mercenaries are pushed aggressively to the foreground against a flat background.

viewers are dwarfed by the tall painting and share the same perspective as the victim.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

FIGHTING FOR THE OPPRESSED

Artists who fight for the rights and affirm the values of repressed peoples use several strategies to make their points forceful:

beauty

illustration

narrative

humor

shock

Most social protest works are designed to affect public consciousness rather than to prescribe specific changes.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.11 (1 of 2)

10.11 Eugène Delacroix. Liberty Leading the People, France, 1830. Oil on canvas, approximately 8' 6" × 10' 8". Louvre, Paris.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.11 (2 of 2)

This painting is an homage to the Paris revolt in 1830.

In Delacroix’s painting, Liberty is personified as a partially nude woman reminiscent of a Greek goddess.

Energized, oblivious to danger, she carries a rifle and the flag of the French Revolution.

Delacroix’s work is romantic in its portrayal of fighting as thrilling, dangerous, and liberating.

Delacroix’s painting mixes elements of: Realism, Idealism, Romanticism.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.12 (1 of 2)

10.12 Lewis Hine. Leo, 48 Inches High, 8 Years Old, Picks Up Bobbins at 15¢ a Day, United States, 1910. Photograph, 8 1/2" × 11". University of Maryland Library, College Park, Maryland.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.12 (2 of 2)

A direct way to make social protest art is to illustrate the oppressive situation.

Hine photographed miserable labor conditions and slum housing in the U.S.

He is known for exposing child labor in mines and textile mills.

Hine’s composition emphasizes:

the large scale of the weaving machines that dwarf the child.

a very young and apprehensive child.

gloomy, littered atmosphere.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.13 (1 of 2)

10.13 Ben Shahn. The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, United States, 1931–1932. Tempera on canvas, 7' 1/2" × 4'. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.13 (2 of 2)

This painting tells the story of the unjust conviction and execution of two Italian immigrants who were active in labor organizations, avoided the WWI draft, and were political anarchists.

Many claimed that Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted because of their politics.

Shahn collapses time, simultaneously showing:

the courthouse steps.

the portrait of the judge.

the faces of Sacco and Vanzetti in their coffins.

three dour and righteous commissioners who allowed the executions.

the backing by institutional rigidity.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.14 (1 of 2)

10.14 Jacob Lawrence. No. 36: During the Truce Toussaint Is Deceived and Arrested by LeClerc. LeClerc Led Toussaint to Believe That He Was Sincere, Believing That When Toussaint Was Out of the Way, the Blacks Would Surrender, United States, 1937–1938. Tempera on paper, 11" × 19".

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.14 (2 of 2)

Lawrence recounted the accomplishments, challenges, and oppressions of the African community uprooted to the Western Hemisphere by slavery.

This work is one of 41 paintings about a slave who led a successful revolt to abolish slavery in Haiti.

In No. 36:

colors are limited, with black and white punctuation.

floor tilts up, walls trap the revolter at the intersection of colors.

black chair reads like prison bars.

broad sections of yellow and green unify the image, while the detailed center provides a forceful focal point.

space, color, and the bright patterns of rugs reveal Cubism influence.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.15 (1 of 2)

10.15 Hans Haacke. MetroMobiltan, 1985. Glass fiber, fabric, photograph; 11' 8" × 20' × 5'. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.15 (2 of 2)

MetroMobiltan showed that three different phenomena are actually intertwined:

the oppressive policies of apartheid in South Africa

the profits of an oil company

artwork shown at a major museum

Mobil and many other corporations profited from apartheid in South Africa.

To counteract negative publicity, Mobil provided major financial backing to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC to mount an exhibition entitled “Treasures of Ancient Nigeria.”

MetroMobiltan raises awareness of the often-hidden ways that one country’s culture and economy can profit from an unjust situation.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.16 (1 of 2)

10.16 Edward Kienholz. The State Hospital (detail), United States, 1966. Mixed media, 8' × 12' × 10'. Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.16 (2 of 2)

Shocking ugliness can be used in service of protest art.

To protest society’s treatment of people deemed incompetent, Kienholz’s installation exposes the neglect and filth he found in a state mental hospital.

Kienholz’s props are actual institutional objects.

The strongest impact comes from the patient’s:

bony knees.

sagging, exposed genitals.

leathery skin.

isolation.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.17 (1 of 2)

10.17 Ester Hernandez. Sun Mad, United States, 1981. Color serigraph, 1' 10" × 1' 5".

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.17 (2 of 2)

Humor is another strategy for effective protest.

Sun Mad takes imagery from commercial culture and subverts it.

Raisin growers used insecticides contaminating the groundwater used for drinking and bathing.

Hernandez changed the image of healthy eating into a message of death.

This work is a color screen print that has been reproduced on T-shirts and postcards—clever ways to widely disseminate her message.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.18 (1 of 2)

10.18 Yinka Shonibare. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews Without Their Heads, 1998. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa. Wax-print cotton costumes on mannequins, dog mannequin, painted metal bench and rifles, 5' 5" × 18' 8" × 8' 4".

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.18 (2 of 2)

In this art work, historical quotes, clothing, and humor are used to protest the colonial past and to show the complexity of world trade and culture.

Shonibare created a 3-D parody of the famous 18th-century painting in which landed gentry show off their estate (Gainsborough’s Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, Fig. 2.11).

In his version, the aristocrats are headless, recalling the fate of the ruling class during the French Revolution.

The printed cotton cloth worn is associated with African culture, but is actually batik made in Indonesia and sold to Africa, showing that cultures are intertwined.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.19 (1 of 2)

10.19 Kara Walker. “They Waz Nice White Folks While They Lasted” (Says One Gal to Another), United States, 2001. Cut paper and projections on wall, 14' × 20'.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.19 (2 of 2)

Walker created life-size, cutout silhouette figures based on pulp fiction, racist imagery of the slave era in the U.S.

Walker’s work depicts:

petticoated plantation mistresses.

slaves with their masters’ heads under their skirts.

bastard children.

black women squeezing out multiple babies between their legs.

slaves being tortured or murdered.

The cutouts are enhanced with projections in darkened galleries so viewers participate in the action by casting their own shadows on the wall.

The life-size figures have had both positive and negative responses, but Walker believes the controversial topics should be discussed.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Affirming the Values of the Oppressed

When a group of people is oppressed, their way of life tends to be discounted or ridiculed.

Art is an effective tool for affirming the lifestyles and values of downtrodden groups.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.20 (1 of 2)

10.20 Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Allegory of Good Government: The Effects of Good Government in the City and in the Country (detail), Italy, 1338–1339. Fresco. Sala della Pace, Palazzo Publico, Siena, Italy.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.20 (2 of 2)

When Lorenzetti painted this fresco, Italy was composed of city-states often thrown into turmoil by competing political factions, overthrown governments, and petty tyrants.

In contrast, Lorenzetti showed how common citizens prosper when Justice, Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude reign.

In the depicted climate of security:

businesses flourished.

culture thrived.

the fields were fruitful.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.21 (1 of 2)

10.21 Hans Holbein the Younger. Jeande Dinteville and Georges de Selve (“The Ambassadors”), 1533. Oil on oak, 6' 9 1/2" × 6' 10 1/2". National Gallery, London.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.21 (2 of 2)

In Northern Europe, power was concentrated in religious and secular rulers, but their absolute authority was being questioned and the worth of the individual (humanism) was rising.

This painting depicts De Dinteville, a political leader, and Bishop de Selve, a religious leader—both fervent humanists.

Items on the table reflect their interests in culture, arts, mathematics, astronomy (learning over authority).

Symbols of discord are present:

A broken lute string alludes to tensions between church and state.

The long, stretched shape at the bottom is a skull, a symbol of death.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.22 (1 of 2)

10.22 Codex Borbonicus, detail depicting Quetzalcoatl and Texcatlipoca, Aztec, early 16th century. Paint on vellum, 1' 3 1/2" × 1' 3 3/4".

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.22 (2 of 2)

Art can affirm the history and culture of a people even as that culture is being eradicated.

The Aztec Codex Borbonicus is a religious calendar made during the period of the Spanish conquest, either just before or after the fall of the Aztec Empire.

This calendar and a few other manuscripts have survived from this era, preserving the pre-Columbian culture.

This image depicts calendar glyphs surrounding the large image of two gods, Quetzalcoatl (light and sun) and Tezcatlipoca (moon and destruction).

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.23 (1 of 2)

10.23 Paddy Dhatangu, David Malangi, George Milpurrurru, Jimmy Wululu, and Other Artists from Ramingining. The Aboriginal Memorial, Australia, 1988. Natural pigments on 200 logs, heights 1' 4" to 10' 8". National Gallery of Art, Canberra.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.23 (2 of 2)

Aboriginal artists use art to affirm their cultural values, long suppressed by Australians of European descent.

Forty-three artists collaborated to make The Aboriginal Memorial.

It is composed of two hundred logs, one for each year of settlement, hollowed out as traditional Aboriginal coffins.

They are memorials to all the native peoples who died and were not given proper mortuary rites due to European settlement.

Artists painted the logs with important clan Dreamtime symbols, vibrant patterns, and animal imagery.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.24 (1 of 2)

10.24 Pepón Osorio. The Scene of the Crime (Whose Crime?), Puerto Rico/United States, 1993–1999. Mixed-media installation, dimensions variable. Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.24 (2 of 2)

The artist affirms the worth of Puerto Rican culture in New York while protesting how the people are depicted in mass media.

He has re-created a typical Puerto Rican house cluttered with kitsch statuettes, inexpensive religious objects, plastic plants, sentimental family photos, trophies, and TV Guide.

Police tape and bright lights indicate a crime, and a mannequin “corpse” lies face down at the back of the installation, but no details are given.

A welcome mat in front reads: “Only if you can understand that it has taken years of pain to gather into our homes our most valuable possessions; but the greater pain is to see how in the movies others make fun of the way we live.”

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.25 (1 of 2)

10.25 Mona Hatoum. Light Sentence, Palestine/England, 1992. Mixed media, dimensions variable. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.25 (2 of 2)

This artist’s work deals poetically with personal identity, the body, surveillance, and control.

The swinging bulb is like a prison searchlight, implying surveillance, and alludes to the instability that the powerless endure.

Lockers should hold private possessions safely, but here everything is exposed.

Wire boxes suggest animal cages in a laboratory or uniform low-income, high-rise housing.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

QUESTIONING THE STATUS QUO

The status quo is the existing state of affairs, which appears natural instead of constructed and evolving.

Artists often take a critical look at the “normal,” the underlying and ingrained systems, beliefs, and ways of operating within a culture.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.26

10.26 William Hogarth. Breakfast Scene (from the series Marriage à la Mode), England, c. 1745. Oil on canvas, 2' 4" × 3'. National Gallery, London.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

The Social Environment

Hogarth satirized the English upper classes in a series of paintings called Marriage à la Mode, a comedy mixed with criticism and condemnation (Fig. 10.26).

In this second of six images:

the clock indicates past noon, but the couple is just meeting over breakfast in their mansion.

the disheveled husband has been out all night.

a puppy sniffs at his pocket where another woman’s lingerie hangs.

the young wife stretches after a night of cards and music at home.

the overturned chairs indicate the evening was raucous.

the paintings on the walls indicate a taste for sexual intrigues.

a servant rolls his eyes, clutching unpaid bills.

The series ends miserably with infidelity, scandal, and death by duel.

Hogarth’s paintings were turned into inexpensive prints that were popular among the English middle class.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.27 (1 of 2)

10.27 Magdalena Abakanowicz. Backs, Poland, 1976–1982. Eighty pieces, burlap and glue, each over life-size.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.27 (2 of 2)

Abakanowicz lived in Poland during WWII, saw her mother’s arm shot off, and witnessed death, pain, and destruction.

In postwar Soviet-dominated Poland, she struggled to make her artwork.

The hunched backs:

are more than life-size, but are without legs, heads, or hands.

are made of organic fibers pressed into the same plaster mold and yet each is unique.

resemble wrinkled skin, knotted muscles, and visceral tissue.

allude to the human condition in times of great distress.

suggest the modern malaise of loss of self and individuality.

suggest endurance, strength, and survival.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.28 (1 of 2)

10.28 Jenny Holzer. Untitled (Selected Writings), United States, 1989. Extended helical LED electronic signboard, with selected writings; 17 Indian red granite benches. Installation view at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.28 (2 of 2)

Holzer focused on implicit beliefs widely accepted in the U.S. today.

She wrapped electronic signs around the spiral interior of the Guggenheim Museum with a circle of red granite benches below.

The quickly flashing words show how a million half-truths contradict each other and can drive us crazy.

The phrases seem familiar, but also sound contradictory or even idiotic:

“Protect me from what I want.”

“Enjoy yourself because you can’t change anything anyway.”

“A sincere effort is all you can ask.”

In contrast, the words carved in the stone benches are permanent, but just as conflicting.

The stream of words jumps out from the darkened bottom of the museum and swirl up to the top of the spiral.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.29

10.29 Honoré Daumier. The Legislative Belly, France, 1834. Lithograph, image 11 1/8" × 1' 5 1/8", sheet 1' 1 11/16" × 1' 8 3/16". Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Art Versus Politics

The political cartoon has a long history of challenging politics and society in Western nations and continues today.

Daumier was especially known for his satirical caricatures until an 1835 government crackdown outlawed such works.

From 1834, his The Legislative Belly (Fig. 10.29) shows:

members of the French legislature as mean-spirited, sleeping, or arrogant.

curving walls that echo their fat bellies.

specific politicians (who would have been recognized by the French public at that time).

His composition and caricatures are an indictment of corrupt lawmakers at any time, in any place.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.30 (1 of 2)

10.30 Robert Arneson. Portrait of George, United States, 1981. Glazed ceramic, 7' 10" × 2' 5" × 2' 5". Private collection.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.30 (2 of 2)

Arneson’s bust depicts George Moscone, a popular mayor of San Francisco, who was assassinated by Dan White.

His assassin received a light sentence because his lawyers argued that he was depressed at the time of the shooting, evidenced by his habit of eating junk food.

Portrait of George departs from the status quo of bronze portrait heads of political leaders by being irreverent, colorful, and large.

The sculpture was removed from the civic center after one week because the pedestal (which included bullet holes and phallic Twinkies) was deemed crude and inappropriate.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.31 (1 of 2)

10.31 William Kentridge. Drawing from Mine, South Africa, 1991. Mine is a 5-minute, 49-second film. Charcoal.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.31 (2 of 2)

Kentridge’s charcoal drawings and film animations are based on the causes and injustices of apartheid.

Drawing from Mine shows a white businessman with financial tapes tangled around sculptural heads of Africans.

His art points out the moral difficulties that attend all instances of power, ownership, and oppression.

This charcoal drawing and others were photographed repeatedly while Kentridge drew and erased to create the short film sequence.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.32 (1 of 2)

10.32 Miguel Antonio Bonilla. The Knot, El Salvador, 1994. Acrylic on canvas, 4' 3" × 6' 6".

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.32 (2 of 2)

Bonilla refers to the chauvinism in El Salvadorian culture that allows some factions to oppress others and cause domestic violence.

The Knot depicts two ominous figures that represent the country’s police and politicians.

The knot connecting them appears to be two elongated phalluses.

The artist took artistic and political risks by making the painting purposefully ugly and shocking.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.33 (1 of 2)

10.33 Doris Salcedo. Shibboleth, 2007–2008. Installation in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, London.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Figure 10.33 (2 of 2)

Salcedo’s work is about the divide between races and social classes, which can start small but can turn into a chasm that can bring down institutions and cultures.

This 548-foot-long crack in the floor of the exhibition hall is very thin at first, but opens to several inches wide and two-feet deep.

Indeed, the cracked floor that Salcedo created made the entire structure seem unstable.

Shibboleth refers to a word that only insiders know, so the work is about belonging versus outsider status with all the accompanying social and political implications.

At the end of the installation, the crack was filled in, but a visible scar remains in the floor.

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

Discussion Questions

Do you think that art should question the status quo?

Do you think that protest art reaches a large enough audience to be effective?

What strategies have artists used to make their work more effective for political and social change?

What is the relationship between art and propaganda?

Lazzari/Schlesier, Exploring Art, Revised 5th Edition. © 2020 Cengage. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.

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