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'Activist Printmaking: Selections from the Permanent Collection'

June 28, 2012

The University Art Museum's exhibit, 'Activist Printmaking: Selections from the Permanent Collection,' features art that addresses themes of social justice, poverty, inequality, political repression, and environmental destruction.

 Richard Basil Mock, 'Not Seeing the Trees for the Forest,' 1986, originally cut 1981, Linoleum cut on paper, University Art Museum, CSU, gift of AFE Canada, 2006.323.1-4Now through August 31
University Art Museum
University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington Street

Social and political advocacy in art

Take a break from your hot and hectic summer schedule to come into the cool of the University Art Museum and see the provocative exhibit, Activist Printmaking: Selections from the Permanent Collection.

The exhibit includes prints by artists whose works have sparked political and social activism during times of revolution, political repression, environmental destruction, war, and disaster.

Even today, these works prompt you to ask yourself, "How socially and politically conscious am I?"

This permanent collection includes a rich selection of 19th and 20th century prints. Admission to the University Art Museum is always free and open to the public.

Activist art medium of choice

The innovation of Lithography allowed for artists to quickly generate imagery for mass production.  In 19th Century France, this technique for making prints resulted in an explosion of illustrated, satirical newspapers.

What you'll see in the exhibit

Works in the "Activist Printmaking' range from:

  • a 1915 lithograph by Leopold Méndez that depicts hunger in Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution;
  • a 1904 lithograph by an unknown artist which shows Russian Cossacks attacking Korean villagers;
  • the works of renowned mid-19th century artist Honoré Daumier; and 
  • the contemporary works of Enrique Chagoya.

There are several works by 20th century editorial printmaker Richard Mock, who illustrated opinion editorials for The New York Times.

Commentary on artwork intrigues

There is a wealth of information about the prints in the art museum's exhibit.

For example, you learn that Richard Mock's Linoleum cut on paper titled, "Not Seeing the Trees for the Forest," (shown above, right) was created for a New York Times editorial by Fred Simmons about forest management. The piece shows a "happy tree with plenty of space to breathe and relax, replete with sunglasses and a chair."

Exhibit reveals a long history of activism

The prints in this exhibition reflect a long history of utilizing the graphic arts to reflect and communicate political and social messages and issues of historical and contemporary importance.

Museum Hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Image credit for the large, feature image for this story: Richard Basil Mock, Alligators – From Swamp to Home Plate, 1986, Linoleum cut on paper, University Art Museum, CSU, gift of AFE Canada, 2006.324.1-4

Contact: Keith Jentzsch