"Printed Art and Social Radicalism" draws from museum's collection

Print exhibit at Spencer Museum focuses on radical politics

The pieces in the show, ranging from conceptual art to fine art prints to posters and handbills share their use of provocative, politically challenging imagery.

The Spencer's collections have benefited from the aggressive acquisition of such images and the exhibit is a reflection of the commitment on Goddard's part to obtain this type of work. According to Goddard, half to two-thirds of the prints in the show were acquired within the last 15 years.

Goddard views the show as something of an experiment. Running through July 21, it's one of the small, summer shows Goddard likes to mount which draw from museums extensive collections. Like many of these smaller shows, Goddard sees the potential for expanding this into a larger exhibit during the academic year. The show's content, which addresses political, economic and social themes, has broad, interdisciplinary appeal.

Through the "University and the Art Museum" program run by the education department, the Spencer Museum encourages faculty from all across campus to make use of the museum's collections in their classes.

Commenting on his piece "All American Family," included in the exhibit, artist Richard Mock says "I was making comment on the well armed american family. I terms of love of arms our citizens have no equal. It is part of the fantasy of individuation and self reliance in popular culture."

Mock has achieved a singular ability to get his messages to communicate through his printmaking. In the past he has made images for covers of United Nation Publications that were distributed in three languages to 112 countries. With apparent delight Mock recalls, "I got word that the local folks in some of the african countries were getting
the publications (free) and pinning my print image up in their huts."

From the exhibition text:

Richard Mock
United States, born 1944
All American Family, 1995
Linoleum cut
Museum purchase: Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund, 1998.7

photo

Richard Mock
United States, born 1944
All American Family, 1995
Linoleum cut
Museum purchase: Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund

Richard Mock has described himself as an editorial printmaker, an artist who offers social and political commentary in the form of prints for publication in journals and newspapers. In All American Family Mock parodies those who would take the right to bear arms to an extreme, arming their dog and camouflaging their home. From 1980 through 1986 Mock's prints appeared on the op-ed page of the New York Times. More recently his works have appeared in smaller but more politically-oriented journals, such as the union journal, United, displayed here.

Peter Saul
United States, born 1934
Politics, 1985
Lithograph
Gift of Don, Joyce, and Josh Omer, 1989.24

photo

Peter Saul
United States, born 1934
Politics, 1985
Lithograph
Gift of Don, Joyce, and Josh Omer

In identifying a means for his social criticism, Peter Saul has cultivated what we might call an aesthetic of nausea. He makes calculated use of the ugly and the repulsive in his criticism of the aspects of American culture he seeks to criticize, in this case, the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

Zhao Yannian
China, born 1924
Nightmare #2, 1989
Woodcut
Museum purchase: R. Charles and Mary Margaret Clevenger Fund, 2001.81

Zhao Yannian is a major figure in the New Chinese Woodblock Movement (Creative Print Movement), founded in 1931 by the social critic, writer, and intellectual father of the Chinese revolution, Lu Xun (1881-1936). Inspired by the technique, style and subject matter of such European artists as K�the Kollwitz and Frans Masereel (both exhibited here), Zhao and other artists in the movement carved their own blocks and used their art to comment on current social and political events and to influence revolutionary politics.

Throughout his long career, Zhao has remained a bold and forceful social critic. Nightmare # 2 is part of a daring series that criticized the Cultural Revolution.

Leopoldo M�ndez
Mexico, 1902-1969
Homenaje a Jos� Guadalupe Posada [Homage to Jos� Guadalupe Posada], 1956
Linoleum cut
Museum purchase: Letha Churchill Walker Memorial Art Fund, 2001.5

In 1947 M�ndez was among the founding members of the radical Mexican printmaking workshop, the Taller de Gr�fica Popular (TGP). He remained a prominent member of the group until 1952. In this commanding linoleum cut, M�ndez, a member of the Mexican Communist Party, pays tribute to Jos� Guadalupe Posada, generally regarded as the founder of ideological printmaking in Mexico. Another member of the TGP, Jules Heller, wrote of this print, "The dignified and powerful figure of Posada dominates center stage; the three figures on the left, including Vanegas Arroyo, his publisher, are mere counterpoints to the scene on the right, showing several mounted police in an engagement with an unarmed group of workers and peasants."

photo

Zhao Yannian
China, born 1924
Nightmare #2, 1989
Woodcut
Museum purchase: R. Charles and Mary Margaret Clevenger Fund

photo

Leopoldo M�ndez
Mexico, 1902-1969
Homenaje a Jos� Guadalupe Posada [Homage to Jos� Guadalupe Posada], 1956
Linoleum cut
Museum purchase: Letha Churchill Walker Memorial Art Fund

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