When Artists Speak Truth... is conceived as a multi-vocal dialogue about how artists contribute to specific political transformation - from Soviet Russia to the U.S. presidential elections - and have helped shape an expanded and more nuanced understanding of human rights and social justice over several decades.
Drawing from multiple generations and artistic sensibilities, featured artists include ACT UP, Shimon Attie, Luis Balaguer, Félix Beltrán, Adigio Benitez, Andrea Bowers, Tania Bruguera, Matthew Buckingham, Nancy Burson, Yoan Capote, Mel Chin, Emory Douglas, Sam Durant, Dyke Action Machine!, Shepard Fairey, Charles Gaines, Rico Gatson, Guerrilla Girls, Edgar Heap of Birds, Samuel Jablon, Sister Corita Kent, Hew Locke, Raul Martínez, René Mederos, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Adrian Piper, Favianna Rodriguez, Alfredo Rostgaard, Dread Scott, Andres Serrano, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Jaro Varga.
From the art world to the real world, artists in the exhibition express a multitude of messages that collectively illustrate what happens when culture is used as will to power. Ranging from political posters, interactive installations, painting, drawing, and pedagogical display, to photography and sculpture, the selected works both enact and question the role artists play in communicating the issues affecting our broader culture.
When Artists Speak Truth... explores the ways in which artists engage in political messaging, borrowing methods from mass communication such as poster campaigns, graffiti, political portraiture and satire, public interventions, and varied forms of amplification, which demonstrate art's ability to transmit and facilitate protest and critique. These forms of objection and commentary are uniquely possible in the context of art and the work of many artists in the exhibition has a continuing presence and widespread impact on public life.
Image: Andrea Bowers, Workers’ Rights Posters, 2013. Image courtesy of the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.