Art of Engagement: Visual Politics in California and Beyond / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $5.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 86%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $5.00   
  • New (5) from $26.14   
  • Used (9) from $5.00   


Art of Engagement takes the first comprehensive look at the key role of California's art and artists in politics and culture since 1945. Tracing the remarkably fertile confluence of political agitation and passionately engaged art, Peter Selz leads readers on a journey that begins with the Nazi death camps and moves through the San Francisco Bay Area's free speech movement of 1964, the birth of Beat and hippie countercultures, the Chicano labor movement in the San Joaquin Valley, the beginning of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, the women's movement, and some of the most radical manifestations of gay liberation, Red Power, and environmental activism. He also deals with artists' responses to critical issues such as censorship and capital punishment. Selz follows California's outpouring of political art into the present with responses to September 11 and the war in Iraq. In the process, Selz considers the work of artists such as Robert Arneson, Sandow Birk, Hans Burkhardt, Enrique Chagoya, Judy Chicago, Bruce Conner, Mark di Suvero, Llyn Foulkes, Rupert Garcia, Helen and Newton Harrison, Wally Hedrick, Suzanne Lacy, George Longfish, Hung Liu, James Luna, Martha Roster, Peter Saul, Miriam Schapiro, Allan Sekula, Masami Teraoka, and Carrie Mae Weems. Abundantly illustrated, Art of Engagement showcases many types of media, including photographs, found objects, drawings and prints, murals, painting, sculpture, ceramics, installations, performance art, and collage. Readers will come away from the book with a historical sense of the significant role California has played in generating political art and also how the state has stimulated politically engaged art throughout the world.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520240537
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/9/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 310
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Selz is Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley. Among his many books are Nathan Oliveira (California, 2002), Barbara Chase-Riboud, Sculptor (1999), Beyond the Mainstream (1996), and Art in Our Times (1981). Susan Landauer is Kate and Drew Gibson Chief Curator at the San Jose Museum of Art and the author of many books.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

An overview : countering cultures : the California context 1
Prologue : a personal view of the interaction of politics and art 25
Introduction : paths to engagement 29
1 Against war and violence 35
2 Countercultural trends 87
3 On racism, discrimination, and identity politics 129
4 Toward a sustainable earth 223
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2005

    A Very Important Book and A Very Important Exhibition: Art Informs Politics

    Each year there are increasing numbers of fine 'catalogues', beautifully designed and illustrated and written to accompany museum and gallery exhibitions. That major book publishing companies are paying attention to the arts in this way is gratifying indeed. But when a book of such insight and scholarship and content such as ART OF ENGAGEMENT: VISUAL POLITICS IN CALIFORNIA AND BEYOND appears on the scene, it raises the entire issue of 'accompanying catalogues' to a new level. Peter Selz has created a volume of a topic that is pertinent not only to California art (though that in and of itself is rewarding in seeing the West Coast as pioneer in art form!), it is equally important to the examination of the influence art has had in response to and in alerting the public to the vagaries and contagions of political and social issues. Selz surveys California art from 1945 to the present and in doing so addresses such issues as the genocide atrocities of WW II as recalled by artists, the development of the Bay Area and beyond Beat generation, ethnic and racial issues involving the Chicano migrant worker struggles, the Black Panther movement, Feminism, Gay Crises and Pride, and philosophical/political issues such as capital punishment, environmentalism, free speech, censorship and all the tangential issues that accompany them. The writing is probing, challenging, disturbing, uplifting and ultimately reinforcing the concept that artists are often the passionate spokesmen for the silent masses. The artists responding to these issues are drawn from a large pool, that group including Hans Burkhardt, Robert Arneson, Enrique Chagoya, Judy Chicago, Llyn Foulkes, Rupert Garcia, Helen and Newton Harrison, Wally Hedrick, Suzanne Lacy, Hung Liu, Peter Saul, Miriam Schapiro, Allan Sekula, Mark di Suvero, Masami Teraoka, and Carrie Mae Weems. The reproductions of these powerful works are superb and the running commentary and information about the artists that accompany the images is first class. Not only paintings are represented, but also photography, murals, sculpture, performance art, drawings, installations - almost every manner or artistic statement. This is a singularly powerful book and should be up for many awards - for content, for the exhibition it represents, and for the documentation of the immense importance California art has had on the public's awareness of political change. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)