Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader

cover of Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader

The desire to change the world has often led artists to align themselves with wider social movements and to break with established institutions of art.

This reader gathers together an international selection of artists’ proposals, manifestos, theoretical texts and public declarations that focus on the question of political engagement and the possibility of social change. The approaches represented are many and diverse, from Gustave Courbet’s involvement in the Paris Commune and the socialist art theory of William Morris to the hybrid activist practice associated with the twenty-first century ‘movement of movements’; from the political commitments of the Modernist avant=gardes to the rejections of Modernism in favour of protest, critique, utopian social experiment or revolutionary propaganda.

Six specially commissioned essays – by Geeta Kapur, Lucy Lippard, John Milner, Gerald Raunig, Marina Vishmidt and Tirdad Zolghadr – further explore both the historical context and the contemporary situation.