Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007. 213 pages Paperback ISBN 9781551522180
One of the powers of art is its ability to convey the human aspects of political events, ranging from war to revolution to sexual liberation. Art can also transform society, a theme that pervades this fascinating survey on art, artists, and anarchism since the nineteenth century.
In numerous essays, Allan Antliff interrogates moments of engagement when artists, poets, philosophers, and critics have confronted pivotal events over the past 140 years. The survey begins with artist Gustave Courbet and writer Emile Zola’s activism during the 1871 Paris Commune (which established the modern-day French republic), and ends with an examination of anarchist art during the fall of the Soviet empire. Other subjects include the Neo-Impressionists and their depictions of the homeless in the 1890s ; the Dada movement in New York City during World War I ; the decline of the Russian Avant-Garde during the 1920s and 30s ; the West Coast Beats of the 1940s and 50s ; the Modernists of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s ; and anarchistic responses to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 by visual artists.
Exploring art’s potential as a vehicle for meaningful social change from an anarchist perspective, Allan Antliff throws new light on what it means to be radical.