Abstract – 20th Century American Fine Art Activism

My Monroe Project is going to be on American fine art activism in the 20th century. Fine art activism is a subclass of protest art, which, like the name implies, is art used in political activism. I will be focusing on drawing and painting, and not other forms of prevalent protest art, such as performance art or music. The 20th century in the United States had many significant political protests and causes, such as the Civil Rights Movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, and the birth of modern feminism. I plan to focus on two to three specific movements, spread out through the decades but likely linked with some thematic commonalities (ex. minority rights). From each movement, I will pick a few artists or works to highlight, and show the history of the movement, the cultural context of the protest art, unique artistic features of the movement, and the protest art/movement’s overall impact on the cause and the course of history. This will take the form of a traditional research paper. I will pair this paper with a protest art work of my own, which I will also complete over the summer. My own work will focus on a modern cause dear to my heart, but will also have things in common with the works and movements I discuss in my paper.