“Art and Politics Now: Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis”


This lecture examines contemporary artists who engage social and political concerns. It is based on my book Art and Politics Now Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis. The themes addressed are 

opposition to terrorism and police states

women, war, and imperialism

opposing racism

crossing borders


art and globalization



It ranges from the art of street protest to the work of gallery artists and finally the international art scene. It examines both individual artists and exhibitions as political endeavors and expands the concept of art that engages political and social issues.


The lecture will demonstrate the wide ranging strategies and media used by artists who address social issues.It will also include photos and discussion of  the #Occupy movement.



I address the topic “Art and Politics Now ” from various perspectives such as media – printmaking, photography and film,  thematic – ecology, anti terrorism, racism, borders. #Occupy, historical -1930s to the present, globalization, women, as well as artists from Asia and the Middle East.


I have given the following lectures in the last year sponsored by art, art history, global studies, anthropology, womens studies and various interdisciplinary programs. The Puffin Foundation gave me a grant in 2011-2012 to support these presentations as well as for several public events that I organized in Seattle.



“Artists Expose Injustice” The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wa

“Artists Expose Injustice” University of California, San Diego

“Art and Politics Now: Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis” Grinnell College, Iowa

“Artists Engage the World, Strategies for Activism ( Printmaking), Grinnell College, Grinnell Iowa

“Grassroots Resistance, 1999 to the Present” Grinnell College, Grinnell Iowa

“Art and Politics Now: Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis,” Drake University, Des Moines Iowa

“Artists Engage the World, Strategies for Activism,” Fairhaven College, Washington State

“Art and Politics Now: Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis,” Washington State University, Pullman

“Activism and Exhibitions” Central Washington State University, Ellensburg, January 2012

“Art and Politics Now: Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis, Central Washington University,

Ellensburg, January 2012 (Anthropology, Art, History, Communications, Museum Studies

“Printmaking and Resistance,” Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic November 2011

“Art and Politics Now” Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic November 2011

“Art and Politics in a Time of Crisis,” Pratt Academy of Art, New York City, November 2011

“ Cultural Activism,” Seattle University, October 2011

“Selma Waldman” Gage Academy of Art, Seattle, October 2011

“Art and Politics in the 1930s” and “Art and Politics Now,” Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Sept 2011

“Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis” University of Texas, Dallas Sept 2011

“Artists Address Racism”   Southern Methodist University Sept 2011.

“Art and Cultural Activism,” University of Washington, Senior art seminar, April 2011

“Artists Resist Police States,” American University, Art History Program, February 2011

“Artists Address Globalization,” Gettysburg College Global Studies Program, February 2011
“Strategies for Activism” Art seminar Gettysburg College



Some of the themes include


Printmaking and Resistance

Grassroots Resistance to Globalization 1999 – Present

Artists Engage the World : Strategies for Activism

Resisting Racism

Resisting Police States

Activism and Exhibitions

Art and Globalization








Winter 1987 New York City, International Association of Art Critics


“Maya Lin and the Confluence Project” ( I have been following this project since 2003, it is still not completed, my theme is Maya Lin’s intersections with native cultures in the Columbia River Basin), This lecture was sponsored by Humanities Washington Lecture Program.




EARLY YEARS AND AVANT GARDE IDEAS: THE LITTLE REVIEW IN CHICAGO  1988 Chicago, Smithsonian sponsored conference


CLEMENT GREENBERG International Association of Art Critics panel at the College Art Association 1994 ( see my publications page for several articles on Greenberg. He is alsogiven a full chapter in my Art and Politics in the 1930s)


ART AND ACTIVISM THEN AND NOW a presentation on a panel at

the College Art Association March 1, 2001. This was a prelude to my current work. See my publications list for more articles on this topic.



“Four African American Artists in Washington State: Jacob Lawrence, Marita Dingus, James Washington and Barbara Thomas” This lecture was sponsored by Humanities Washington.


James W. Washington, Jr., Artist and Activist. These lectures were sponsored by the James W. Washington Foundation now known at the  James and Janie Washington Cultural Center




“Art and Politics in the 1930s”

“Art Criticism 1979 to the Present”



“Artists, Women, and War”

“Selma Waldman Pornography of Power”

“Contemporary Art and Women in the Middle East”

Susan Noyes Platt: “Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis” from Fairhaven College, WWU on Vimeo.