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Protest Art (Art Essentials)

Jessica Lack


An essential guide to how the power of art has been harnessed to effect political change across the modern world, from the struggle for universal suffrage to Black Lives Matter

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From anticolonial struggle to the campaign for nuclear disarmament, from the Suffragettes to Black Lives Matter, art has long been a powerful tool by which to upend the status quo. Protest Art looks at the multitude of ways in which art and politics have intertwined in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, taking in a broad range of artists’ actions including performance and street art, banners and digital media, sculpture and painting.

Over nine thematic chapters, Jessica Lack explores art’s relationships with the media, institutions and the state, its use by activists as a weapon, a tool or a way of imagining otherwise, and ideas of artists as warriors, prophets and revolutionary leaders. Lack situates major artworks, campaigns and movements in their social and political contexts, recognizing the networks of solidarity, inspiration and cooperation that remain vital to both protest and art-making. Beautifully illustrated and carefully researched, Protest Art offers an accessible introduction to this vast and unruly field from the early twentieth century onwards.

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Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 21.6 x 13.8 cm

Extent: 176 pp

Illustrations: 99

Publication date: 18 April 2024

ISBN: 9780500296684

About the Author

Jessica Lack is a writer with a focus on modern and contemporary art. Previously art correspondent for the Guardian, her publications include Why Are We ‘Artists’? 100 World Art Manifestos (2017), Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms (with Simon Wilson, 2008) and Global Art in Thames & Hudson's Art Essentials series (2020).