Exploring the Connection between Politics and Art

Daniella Cressman
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Pawel Czerwinski

Art often mimics the political atmosphere. These days, we are facing hatred and oppression against black people, women, and immigrants. Whether these immigrants are legal or illegal certainly matters, but the most important issue is that the people who emigrated here are human and need to be treated with a certain level of decency, even if some of them entered this beautiful country of ours illegally.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN: THE OVAL OFFICE

Roy Lichtenstein was a very influential pop artist who also occasionally experimented with abstract work. In fact, he actually helped originate the pop art movement himself. He was extremely inspired by comics and based most of his art on them. He passed away on September 29, 1997.

Roy Lichtenstein has a deadpan style. It certainly makes a statement. This piece is a beautiful example of his comic-inspired pop art.

ANDY WARHOL: TEDDY ROOSEVELT

Andy Warhol was one of the most popular and avant-garde artists of his time. He was also astonishingly prolific. The man started out illustrating magazines and advertisements, and grew to become a leading artist in the 1960s pop art movement. He died on February 22, 1987.

Andy Warhol was obsessed with celebrity culture. This image depicts Teddy Roosevelt in his rough rider uniform. It was inspired by a photograph of the man taken in 1898.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN: I LOVE LIBERTY

This image captures the iconic Statue of Liberty in a way that resembles a comic strip. Lichtenstein only shows the viewer the statue’s face and her arm holding her fiery torch. This is a beautiful image and a wonderful gesture of patriotism on Lichtenstein’s part.

ANDY WARHOL: WASHINGTON MONUMENT

Andy Warhol’s work of art portrays the New York Washington Monument. It is a serigraph: a rendition of original artwork which is created by using the silk-screening process. It’s a unique and wonderful piece.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN: AGAINST APARTHEID, 1983

Roy Lichtenstein is most well-known for his comic-inspired pop art. However, it is a little known fact that the artist also experimented with abstract art. His piece “Against Apartheid” is an excellent example of that.

MR. BRAINWASH: AMERI-CAN DREAM

Mr. Brainwash, also known as Thierry Guettta, believes that there are no rules in art. His approach is unorthodox to say the least, but it is also absolutely brilliant. He has created album cover artwork for big names in the music industry, including Madonna, Rick Ross, and KYGO. His work has also been featured in many movies and television shows, including Shameless, Molly’s Game, and Billions.

Mr. Brainwash is a street artist and filmmaker. His motto is that art has no confines. Anyone can do it. This particular piece titled “AmeriCan Dream,” is composed of a bunch of cans which make up an American flag. It includes some words stating that there are no mistakes when it comes to making art because each one is a new creation.

ROBERT INDIANA: THE AMERICAN DREAM SERIES

Robert Indiana was a prominent figure in American art during the 1960s. He played an enormous role in the development of assemblage art. His art was filled with symbolism. The man was a self-proclaimed “painter of signs,” and you can see this when you examine his pieces: each symbol signifies a tiny detail of the messages he is portraying through his work. He passed away on May 19, 2018.

Robert Indiana created the American Dream series: an iconic collection of art celebrating this nation’s incredible patriotism. He tipped his hat to Picasso, Marilyn Monroe, and the notion so many Americans hold to this day: The United States is #1. Each symbol in each painting has particular significance for the artist. For example, he included the numbers 40, 66, 37, and 29 to give a nod to the most well-known highways in the nation, and the phrase, “Take All,” to signify the capitalist ways of the United States.

SHEPARD FAIREY: AMERICA’S SAVINGS

Shepard Fairey is a contemporary street artist. He is famous for his graphic art and murals. He was born on February 15, 1970, and graduated from the Idyllwild Arts Academy in Palm Springs, California in 1988. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1992 from the Rhode Island School of Design, located in Providence, Rhode Island.

This image makes a strong statement, but an important one. At first glance, the piece looks like it’s simply an advertisement. However, as you examine it more closely, you see that it is about legal bribery in the United States.

ART AND POLITICS

It can be easy for many critics to dismiss art as trivial or frivolous, but that simply isn’t the case. In fact, it would be a sin to dismiss all art as trivial. So many people have so much to say about the political and cultural realities of the times and express these feelings through their artwork. All types of art have a strong impact on society at large: the message they send often resonates with many broken souls, some who are still in the trenches and some who have picked themselves up and dusted themselves off. Whatever the case may be, art matters, and it has greatly influenced peoples’ political and cultural beliefs throughout the centuries.

Great art is born through suffering, rebellion, chaos, and angst. It also springs from hope, joy, and love. The world would not be what it is today without brilliant art.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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