A People's Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements

A People's Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements

by Nicolas Lampert


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Inspired by the pathbreaking work of Howard Zinn, A People’s Art History of the United States is propelled by a democratic vision of art, showing that art doesn’t just belong within the confines of museums and archives. In fact, art is created every day in the street and all around us, and everyone deserves to be a part of it.

Called “important” by renowned art critic Lucy Lippard, A People’s Art History of the United States introduces us to key works of American radical art alongside dramatic retellings of the histories that inspired them. Richly illustrated with more than two hundred black-and-white images, this book by acclaimed artist and author Nicolas Lampert is the go-to resource for everyone who wants to know what activist art can and does do for our society.

Spanning the abolitionist movement, early labor movements, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, and up to the present antiglobalization movement and beyond, A People’s Art History of the United States is a wonderful read as well as a brilliant toolkit for today’s artists and activists to adapt past tactics to the present, utilizing art and media as a form of civil disobedience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620971338
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Nicolas Lampert is a Milwaukee-based interdisciplinary artist and author whose work focuses on themes of social justice and ecology. His artwork is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum, among others. Collectively, he works with the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. Lampert is a full-time faculty member (academic staff appointment) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Table of Contents

Series Preface vii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

1 Parallel Paths on the Same River 1

2 Visualizing a Partial Revolution 11

3 Liberation Graphics 22

4 Abolitionism as Autonomy, Activism, and Entertainment 33

5 The Battleground over Public Memory 39

6 Photographing the Past During the Present 48

7 Jacob A. Riis's Image Problem 60

8 Haymarket: An Embattled History of Static Monuments and Public Interventions 70

9 Blurring the Boundaries Between Art and Life 86

10 The Masses on Trial 99

11 Banners Designed to Break a President 110

12 The Lynching Crisis 121

13 Become the Media, Circa 1930 135

14 Government-Funded Art: The Boom and Bust Years for Public Art 146

15 Artists Organize 156

16 Artists Against War and Fascism 167

17 Resistance or Loyalty: The Visual Politics of Miné Okubo 176

18 Come Let Us Build a New World Together 188

19 Party Artist: Emory Douglas and the Black Panther Party 199

20 Protesting the Museum Industrial Complex 211

21 "The Living, Breathing Embodiment of a Culture Transformed" 224

22 Public Rituals, Media Performances, and Citywide Interventions 235

23 No Apologies: Asco, Performance Art, and the Chicano Civil Rights Movement 242

24 Art Is Not Enough 252

25 Antinuclear Street Art 263

26 Living Water: Sustainability Through Collaboration 269

27 Art Defends Art 278

28 Bringing the War Home 286

29 Impersonating Utopia and Dystopia 296

Notes 305

Index 347

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