It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
This guide is comprised of resources related to Art & Activism, including resources for practicing artists. This guide is intended as a starting place for research and by no means exhaustive. Do you have resource suggestions or research questions? Get in touch.
Note: The home page includes resources that are available remotely. For more information on remote access to library resources, see this page. Please navigate to the next tab for print materials.
Art & Activism EBooks
Acting Together II: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict by Cynthia Cohen (Editor); Polly O. Walker (Editor); Roberto Gutiérrez Varea (Editor)Acting Together, Volume ll, continues from where the first volume ends documenting exemplary peacebuilding performances in regions marked by social exclusion structural violence and dislocation. Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict is a two-volume work describing peacebuilding performances in regions beset by violence and internal conflicts. Volume I, Resistance and Reconciliation in Regions of Violence, emphasizes the role theatre and ritual play both in the midst and in the aftermath of direct violence, while Volume II: Building Just and Inclusive Communities, focuses on the transformative power of performance in regions fractured by "subtler" forms of structural violence and social exclusion. Volume I: Resistance and Reconciliation in Regions of Violence focuses on the role theatre and ritual play both in the midst and in the aftermath of violence. The performances highlighted in this volume nourish and restore capacities for expression, communication, and transformative action, and creatively support communities in grappling with conflicting moral imperatives surrounding questions of justice, memory, resistance, and identity. The individual chapters, written by scholars, conflict resolution practitioners, and artists who work directly with the communities involved, offer vivid firsthand accounts and analyses of traditional and nontraditional performances in Serbia, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Israel, Argentina, Peru, India, Cambodia, Australia, and the United States. Complemented by a website of related materials, a documentary film, Acting Together on the World Stage, that features clips and interviews with the curators and artists, and a toolkit, or "Tools for Continuing the Conversation," that is included with the documentary as a second disc, this book will inform and inspire socially engaged artists, cultural workers, peacebuilding scholars and practitioners, human rights activists, students of peace and justice studies, and whoever wishes to better understand conflict and the power of art to bring about social change. The Acting Together project is born of a collaboration between Theatre Without Borders and the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life at Brandeis University. The two volumes are edited by Cynthia E. Cohen, director of the aforementioned program and a leading figure in creative approaches to coexistence and reconciliation; Roberto Gutierrez Varea, an award-winning director and associate professor at the University of San Francisco; and Polly O. Walker, director of Partners in Peace, an NGO based in Brisbane, Australia.
Adjusted Margin by Kate EichhornHow xerography became a creative medium and political tool, arming artists and activists on the margins with an accessible means of making their messages public. This is the story of how the xerographic copier, or "Xerox machine," became a creative medium for artists and activists during the last few decades of the twentieth century. Paper jams, mangled pages, and even fires made early versions of this clunky office machine a source of fear, rage, dread, and disappointment. But eventually, xerography democratized print culture by making it convenient and affordable for renegade publishers, zinesters, artists, punks, anarchists, queers, feminists, street activists, and others to publish their work and to get their messages out on the street. The xerographic copier adjusted the lived and imagined margins of society, Eichhorn argues, by supporting artistic and political expression and mobilizing subcultural movements. Eichhorn describes early efforts to use xerography to create art and the occasional scapegoating of urban copy shops and xerographic technologies following political panics, using the post-9/11 raid on a Toronto copy shop as her central example. She examines New York's downtown art and punk scenes of the 1970s to 1990s, arguing that xerography--including photocopied posters, mail art, and zines--changed what cities looked like and how we experienced them. And she looks at how a generation of activists and artists deployed the copy machine in AIDS and queer activism while simultaneously introducing the copy machine's gritty, DIY aesthetics into international art markets. Xerographic copy machines are now defunct. Office copiers are digital, and activists rely on social media more than photocopied posters. And yet, Eichhorn argues, even though we now live in a post-xerographic era, the grassroots aesthetics and political legacy of xerography persists.
Art and Activism by Josef Helfenstein (Introduction by); Laureen Schipsi (Editor)This lavishly illustrated book is the first to examine the significant contributions of John and Dominique de Menil to art, architecture, film, and the civil and human rights movements. The de Menils, who moved to Houston from France in 1941, amassed one of the world's great private art collections and became passionately involved in the cause of human rights. The volume includes a discussion of the building of the de Menils' art collection; their patronage of modern architecture in Houston; their embrace of modernism; their leadership in Houston's civil rights movement and in human rights projects worldwide; their commissioning of works of art; their involvement in early film education and documentary filmmaking; and their establishment of the Rothko Chapel, the Menil Collection, the Cy Twombly Gallery, the Dan Flavin Installation, and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum. Vintage photographs, including those taken by Henri Cartier Bresson and Eve Arnold, previously unpublished correspondence with artists, and an illustrated chronology all add to this textured tribute to the de Menils' extraordinary achievements.
The Art of Rebellion 2 by Christian HundertmarkArt of Rebellion 2 features an up to the minute international survey of street art, spotlighting dozens of new and unknown protagonists alongside many well-known and respected artists who have been at it for years. Since the publication of the first volume, there has been a surge in street art activity and a growing awareness of the art form in the public eye; this volume takes the reader on a lush visual journey through that artistic explosion and features tons of new work with original styles, techniques and intent.
At a Distance by Annmarie Chandler (Editor); Norie Neumark (Editor)The theory and practice of networked art and activism, including mail art, sound art, telematic art, fax art, Fluxus, and assemblings. Networked collaborations of artists did not begin on the Internet. In this multidisciplinary look at the practice of art that takes place across a distance--geographical, temporal, or emotional--theorists and practitioners examine the ways that art, activism, and media fundamentally reconfigured each other in experimental networked projects of the 1970s and 1980s. By providing a context for this work--showing that it was shaped by varying mixes of social relations, cultural strategies, and political and aesthetic concerns-- At a Distance effectively refutes the widely accepted idea that networked art is technologically determined. Doing so, it provides the historical grounding needed for a more complete understanding of today's practices of Internet art and activism and suggests the possibilities inherent in networked practice. At a Distance traces the history and theory of such experimental art projects as Mail Art, sound and radio art, telematic art, assemblings, and Fluxus. Although the projects differed, a conceptual questioning of the "art object," combined with a political undermining of dominant art institutional practices, animated most distance art. After a section that sets this work in historical and critical perspective, the book presents artists and others involved in this art "re-viewing" their work--including experiments in "mini-FM," telerobotics, networked psychoanalysis, and interactive book construction. Finally, the book recasts the history of networks from the perspectives of politics, aesthetics, economics, and cross-cultural analysis.
But Is It Art? by Nina Felshin (Editor)Nonfiction. Art. Activisim. Criticism and Theory. An anthology that explores the rise of activist public art that agitates for social change. Included are discussions of such leading and controversial artists as: the Guerrilla Girls, Gran Fury, Group Material, Women's Action Coalition, and the Artist and Homeless Collaborative.
Erotic Islands by Lyndon K. GillIn Erotic Islands, Lyndon K. Gill maps a long queer presence at a crossroads of the Caribbean. This transdisciplinary book foregrounds the queer histories of Carnival, calypso, and HIV/AIDS in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. At its heart is an extension of Audre Lorde's use of the erotic as theory and methodology. Gill turns to lesbian/gay artistry and activism to insist on eros as an intertwined political-sensual-spiritual lens through which to see self and society more clearly. This analysis juxtaposes revered musician Calypso Rose, renowned mas man Peter Minshall, and resilient HIV/AIDS organization Friends For Life. Erotic Islands traverses black studies, queer studies, and anthropology toward an emergent black queer diaspora studies.
The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics by Peter Eckersall (Editor); Helena Grehan (Editor)The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics is a volume of critical essays, provocations, and interventions on the most important questions faced by today's writers, critics, audiences, and theatre and performance makers. Featuring texts written by scholars and artists who are diversely situated (geographically, culturally, politically, and institutionally), its multiple perspectives broadly address the question "How can we be political now?" To respond to this question, Peter Eckersall and Helena Grehan have created eight galvanising themes as frameworks or rubrics to rethink the critical, creative, and activist perspectives on questions of politics and theatre. Each theme is linked to a set of guiding keywords: Post (post consensus, post-Brexit, post-Fukushima, post-neoliberalism, post-humanism, post-global financial crisis, post-acting, and the real) Assembly (assemblage, disappearance, permission, community, citizen, protest, refugee) Gap (who is in and out, what can be seen/heard/funded/allowed) Institution (visibility/darkness, inclusion, rules) Machine (biodata, surveillance economy, mediatisation) Message (performance and conviction, didacticism, propaganda) End (suffering, stasis, collapse, entropy) Re. (reset, rescale, reanimate, reimagine, replay: how to bring complexity back into the public arena, how art can help to do this) These themes were developed in conversation with key thinkers and artists in the field, and the resulting texts engage with artistic works across a range of modes including traditional theatre, contemporary performance, public protest events, activism, and community and participatory theatre. Suitable for academics, performance makers, and students, The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics explores questions of how to be political in the early 21st century, by exploring how theatre and performance might provoke, unsettle, reinforce, or productively destabilise the status quo.
Seeing Power by Nato ThompsonA fog of information and images has flooded the world: from advertising, television, radio and film to the information glut produced by the new economy. With the rise of social networking, contemporaries, peers and friends are all suddenly selling us the ultimate product: themselves. Curator and critic Nato Thompson interrogates the implications of these developments for those dedicated to socially engaged art and activism. How can anyone find a voice and make change when the world is flooded with images and information?
Staging Social JusticeNormal.dotm0011901163SIU Press195141012.00false18 pt18 pt00falsefalsefalse Fringe Benefits, an award-winning theatre company, collaborates with schools and communities to create plays that promote constructive dialogue about diversity and discrimination issues. Staging Social Justice is a groundbreaking collection of essays about Fringe Benefits' script-devising methodology and their collaborations in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. The anthology also vividly describes the transformative impact of these creative initiatives on participants and audiences. By reflecting on their experiences working on these projects, the contributing writers--artists, activists and scholars--provide the readerwith tools and inspiration to create their own theatre for social change. "Contributors to this big-hearted collection share Fringe Benefits' play devising process, and a compelling array of methods for measuring impact, approaches to aesthetics (with humor high on the list), coalition and community building, reflections on safe space, and acknowledgement of the diverse roles needed to apply theatre to social justice goals. The book beautifully bears witness to both how generative Fringe Benefits' collaborations have been for participants and to the potential of engaged art in multidisciplinary ecosystems more broadly."--Jan Cohen-Cruz, editor of Public: A Journal of Imagining America
Theatre of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal; Charles A. McBride (Translator)The innovative Brazilian playwright, director and international lecturer explicates Aristotle's poetics and the philosophies of Machiavelli, Hegel and Brecht to determine the extent to which their chief components--imitation, catharsis and, ultimately, audience control--serve up to support the status quo of a society rather than facilitate change.
Wild Fire by Deborah Barndt (Editor)The dynamic essays in this collection speak to activists, artists, educators, students and community workers who share a passion for art, politics and social change. The questions of why and for whom art is made and the way it can be used to promote discussion and transformation are addressed. Through exploration of a range of artistic projects - from mural painting, photography, zine-making, alternative publishing to street theatre, puppetry and protest singing - Wild Fire inspires critical and artistic forms of social commentary and action.
Spotlight on Activist Artists: Guerilla Girls
Guerilla Girls are feminist activist artists creating street art since 1985:
"We wear gorilla masks in public and use facts, humor and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture. We undermine the idea of a mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair. We believe in an intersectional feminism that fights discrimination and supports human rights for all people and all genders."
The Center for Artistic Activism is transforming the practices of art and activism, helping activists, artists, organizations, and foundations be more effective and affective in bringing about social change.
The mission of Interference Archive is to explore the relationship between cultural production and social movements. This work manifests in an open stacks archival collection, publications, a study center, and public programs including exhibitions, workshops, talks, and screenings, all of which encourage critical and creative engagement with the rich history of social movements.
Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over.
Activism through Film
These films are available for remote viewing when logged into Yale's VPN. More info connecting to remote resources here.
Ai Weiwei : never sorryThis is a documentary that chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government. Follows Ai "from the close of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (for which he helped design the acclaimed 'Bird's Nest' stadium) to his arrest and 81-day detention in 2011"
Art/Violence by by Batoul Taleb, Mariam Abu-Khaled, Udi AloniInspired by characters from "Alice in Wonderland," "Waiting for Godot" and "Antigone", young Palestinian actresses deal with the military occupation and gender oppression, violence and grief, on stage and in life. Following the lead of their beloved director and peace activist, Juliano Mer-Khamis, who was murdered on April 4th, 2011 outside the Freedom Theater in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank, they use their imagination in an unpredictably brutal environment creating an artistic rebellion ; a vivid and brave portrayal of a young, active generation of Palestinians.
Ernest Cole Pioneer of Anti-Apartheid ActivismJurgen Schadeberg focuses on fellow photographer and former exile Ernest Cole in this beautiful film. Cole could have been one of a generation of lost black achievers that history overlooked, but Schadeberg reintroduced his work and his courage to the public. This film reveals how Cole acted as a shining symbol of anti-apartheid activism through his powerful art. On the payroll of the famous Drum magazine, Cole was the first photojournalist to expose South Africa's apartheid system. Weaving rare video footage of Cole with contemporary interviews of his family and associates, Schadeberg tells the story of a courageous artist who helped change a society's view of itself.
Indonesia art, activism and rock 'n' roll / directed by Charlie Hill-Smith ; produced by Jamie Nicolai.Tattooed, pierced and screaming punk lyrics, the men and women of Taring Padi have survived kidnappings, beatings, torture, fundamentalist violence and poverty to stand against a corrupt state and the draconian powers of the Indonesian military. Squatting in an old university art school, in Yogyakarta, Central Java, they use art as medium for liberation and education in their commitment to empower the working classes of Indonesia with democracy and human rights.
Women Artists : The Other Side of the PictureWhere are the works of the great women artists? Why are there so few represented in museums? In this provocative program, respected artists such as Doris McCarthy, Judy Chicago, Joyce Weiland, and Jane Ash Poitras—in combination with curators, art historians, and the Guerrilla Girls, the "terrorists" of the art world—discuss the dearth of women’s artwork in major galleries and examine the poignant social history of women in the fine arts—a story of suppression, marginalization, and omission. The effort of the National Museum of Women in the Arts to balance that one-sided picture of artistic achievement is spotlighted.