Art As Activism

In the midst of this week of momentous change, the New-York Historical Society has opened an exhibition, Art As Activism, of graphic art from the 1930s to the 1970s that promoted various causes. Notice the first poster is for a 1938 play by Langston Hughes, “Don’t  You Want To Be Free” at “Lincoln Centre” (a different Lincoln Center than the one we now know.)

“Long before digital technology made worldwide communication possible,” the curators write, ” graphic artists used the powerful tools of modernist art to inform communities, stir up audiences and call attention to injustice.” The exhibition is drawn from the Merrill C. Berman Collection, which, judging from the sample below, apparently does not include art for gay rights. So I’ve added three from a 2013 New-York Historical Society exhibition, and two from the Marriage Equality movement, which yesterday culminated in the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Art as Activism runs through September 13, 2015.

Click on any picture to see it enlarged and read the caption.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

1 thought on “Art As Activism

  1. I am honored that my poster “Amerika is Devouring Its Children” is included in your “Art and Activism” exhibition.
    Jay Belloli
    Contemporary Art Curator

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