Art & Agenda: Political Art and Activism Hardcover – Illustrated, 15 Mar 2011
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Images of bodies and atrocities among the works from each continent are disturbing. Such images always have the power to shock and provoke. Apart from persons who are always the ultimate victims of political violence, corporate malfeasance, and social prejudice, there are also images of politicians, consumer products such as computers and cars, iconic structures such as the Statue of Liberty, and housing, city streets, and other features of contemporary life in each case given an artistic touch to make a statement. Themes range from ecology, urban clutter, the addiction of consumer goods, the effects of change on traditional culture, and the pretenses and deceptions of politicians. Along with verisimilitude, collage, installation art, and other styles, humor and wryness appear too.
The subject matter of suffering, recognizable though distorted products, housing projects, environmental degradation, and such limit composition and conceptualization. Settings, costumes, and particulars change. But as the political art aims at the practical purpose of making a readily comprehensible point, usually a criticism, to a wide audience of average persons, it does not reach into the realm of the visionary, futuristic, or idiosyncratic. Readers see the range of ways artists who are political activists make use of preferred, proven techniques of this field of public art to bring attention to grievances and injustices.