As we close out 2012, just a few words about my “Occupy Art” exhibition, currently on view at the Wichita Art Museum. The show is drawn entirely from WAM’s permanent collection, which means that it is more historical than contemporary; that said, there are some great examples of contemporary work (by Kara Walker, Elizabeth Catlett, and others), and the historical bent underscores my thesis that the “Occupy” phenomenon is not a new one. Artists have been engaging with social and political issues, about and on behalf of the worker, for centuries. In my curator’s talk (“Artists as Occupiers, Then and Now”) at WAM in January, I’ll flesh out this historical lineage. I’ll also look at how artists engage with the contemporary Occupy movement – both globally and locally. Since so many of the artists I included in the show are printmakers, I’ll definitely be taking advantage of this teaching opportunity for my interterm Printmaking class this January.
“Occupy Art: Protest and Empathy for the Worker” is on view at the Wichita Art Museum through March 17, 2013.