Pressing Issues: Printmaking as Social Justice in 1930s United States

PressingIssues_install_24.jpg

Image of a long gallery wall hung with prints. The wall is white and the prints are black and white and color. There is a doorway to an adjacent gallery visible. It has similar artwork.
Pressing Issues: Printmaking as Social Justice in 1930s US, installation at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2020. Photo by Katie Koca Polite

PressingIssues_install_17.jpg

Gallery view of three black and white prints hung on a wall. To the right of the image are several shelves with Pressing Issues brochures on them. The shelves are made of wood and the brochures stand up for visitors to take.
Pressing Issues: Printmaking as Social Justice in 1930s US, installation at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2020. Photo by Katie Koca Polite

PressingIssues_install_3.jpg

Gallery view of a three-sided space with seating in the middle. The walls are a clean white with framed prints hung on each wall. To the left is title text and the curator's essay for Pressing Issues.
Pressing Issues: Printmaking as Social Justice in 1930s US, installation at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2020. Photo by Katie Koca Polite

Exhibition

On view
Oct 3, 2020 to Dec 23, 2020
Main Level, West Gallery and Light Court

Pressing Issues brings together work by artists in the 1930s United States who, through their art, produced radical, critical commentaries on the social injustices plaguing the country at that time.

Relying primarily on rarely-displayed Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP) prints in KAM’s strong collection of twentieth century works on paper, the exhibition will include approximately 40 works organized into themes of labor unrest (exploitation, economic disparity, and gender inequalities), discrimination and racial violence, and reactions to the rise of fascism. Pressing Issues is especially timely in that it connects this past to the present, as the current political climate in the United States is revisiting similar themes of isolationism and nationalism, populism and fascism, and racial violence.

Pressing Issues will be on view leading up to the 2020 presidential election. Given the social and economic upheaval experienced in the United States in the last decade, including the revival of fascist ideologies and the refugee crisis in America, this exhibition provides a visceral and much needed reminder of how visual artists call attention to and combat various forms of oppression. 

The exhibition primarily presents works from the KAM collection as well as significant loans. Artists proposed for inclusion in the exhibition are: Ida Abelman, Carlos Andreson, Phil Bard, Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Leroy Flint, Michael Gallagher, Minetta Good, Boris Gorelick, Harry Gottlieb, Riva Helfond, Jacob Kainen, Florence Kent, Chet La More, Joseph Leboit, Nan Lurie, Kyra Markham, Hugh Miller, Charles Ramus, Lillian Richter, Bernard Schardt, Herman Volz, Albert Webb, and Hale Woodruff.

 

Curated by Kathryn Koca Polite

Sponsored in part by the International Fine Print Dealers Association, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, and the College of Fine and Applied Arts.

Pressing Issues will travel to Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota in Spring 2021.

The exhibition is available for travel after Spring 2021. For more information or a prospectus, please email the curator Kathryn Koca Polite or Museum Director Jon L. Seydl.

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