Paul Peter Piech
American, 1920–1996
Star Wars Terrorism, 1985
Linocut on paper 
30 x 21 1/16 inches
Gift of Mr. Jack B. Pierson, FIA 1986.12.2

Reaction: The Art of Social Commentary

February 4, 2017 - May 7, 2017

Graphics Gallery

In the 1930s, works on paper showing scenes of union organization, racial violence, fascism, and other political and social issues became more prevalent. Artists used the print medium as a tool of social commentary, creating the artistic and political movement called Social Realism. The Social Realism movement often used art as a tool to expose the struggle of the working class.

Although some of the issues have changed, artists still create imagery that expresses their opinion and comments on social, political, and economic subjects. Some have faced intense criticism for their art while others have been commended for their courage. This exhibition examines works by Social Realist artists such as Hugo Gellert, George Grosz, and Ben Shahn, as well as contemporary social activist artists such as Sue Coe, Andy Warhol, Rupert Garcia, and David Wojnarowicz. 

From the Exhibition

  • Isac Friedlander, American, b. Latvia, 1890–1968, Lest We Forget, 1942, Etching on paper, 12 5/8 x 17 1/4 inches. Gift of Mrs. Gilda Friedlander in memory of her husband, 1984.6.1

  • Rupert Garcia, American, b. 1941, The Most Dangerous Woman in America, 1989, Silkscreen on paper, 30 x 22 1/8 inches. Gift of Mr. Jack B. Pierson, FIA 1991.18

  • Fritz Scholder, American, 1937–2005, American Indian #4, 1972, Lithograph on paper, 30 1/8 x 22 1/16 inches. Museum purchase, 1974.29