How Art Reflects History by Alana Zucca

Art is an important aspect of history. It captures and represents moments in time people should never forget. It makes political statements such as criticisms of war, and protests against people in power. It shows how artists use their influence to express their messages on relevant social problems. This causes people to be aware of current events and makes them look at the social problems as they occur and their significance. It's criticisms makes people question humanity when looking at issues such as the brutality of war in Picasso's "Guernica" and extreme racism in Rockwell's "The Problem We All Live With." From representations of pieces of history such as concentration camps and the Civil Rights Movement, artists are able to show the injustices that occur across the world. Art continues to be made about current social problems such as Shepard Fairey's "We the People" posters. It's constantly being created to raise awareness of important issues in the world. Art serves as a reminder of the most important moments in time.

"Guernica" by Pablo Picasso is an anti-war painting that is considered one of the most powerful paintings in history. It was created as a criticism of the bombing of Guernica by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italian warplanes during the Spanish Civil War. It toured the world and all the money made from that went to Spanish war relief. It caused the world to pay attention to the war happening in Spain and is an example of how powerful art can be. It was extremely influential then and remains one of the most famous paintings of all time.

A copy of Picasso's "Guernica" hangs in the United Nations Building in the Security Council room. The fact that it is on display in such an important building in the US when it comes to international relations shows its permanent influence on the world. It was covered on February 5, 2003 when Colin Powell and John Negroponte gave press conferences arguing for the war on Iraq. It's said the Bush administration did this on purpose because of the message it would be sending having political figures arguing to go to war while standing in front of a famous criticism of war that shows the brutality and horrors of what occurs.
"The Dream and Lie of Franco" was Pablo Picasso's first political piece, made in 1937 just before he made Guernica. It's criticizing Spanish Generalísimo Francisco Franco during his rule and making fun of his statements that he's saving Spain, when in Picasso's opinion him and his party were destroying it.
"Massacre in Korea" by Pablo Picasso is a criticism of the United Nations and American intervention in the Korean War. He used his position of power and his influence in the art world to create master pieces based on his political opinions.

The "Marilyn Diptych" by Andy Warhol was created just after her death. It is an extremely famous painting that captures a legendary figure in popular culture now and throughout time. It's important to pay tribute to such important icons because they have such an influence on society. This is one of Andy Warhol's most famous paintings and made him a significant person in the art world.

Andy Warhol used his position of power in the art world to spread political messages as well. Not only did Andy Warhol create pieces that represent pop culture at the time but he also made political pieces such as this piece called "Race Riot." It was completed in 1964 about the Civil Rights movement and was inspired by photos taken by Charles Moore of young black protesters from the Birmingham campaign dealing with such police violence,
"Kate Moss" by Banksy is an example of the influence Andy Warhol and his painting had on the world. It portrays Kate Moss, a more recent pop culture icon, in the same style that Marilyn was painted in. It is an example of the influences artists can have on the world and how their artworks stay relevant throughout time.

Norman Rockwell painted the famous artwork "The Problem We All Live With" 1964 during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Originally published in Look Magazine, it's a painting of 6-year-old Ruby Bridges on her way to all-white William Frantz Elementary school. On the wall behind her is the "n-word" and "KKK" with a splattered tomato. This happened on November 14, 1960 during the New Orleans desegregation crisis and due to threats of violence she had to be escorted by deputy U.S. marshals.

This is the photo Norman Rockwell based his painting on. When Bridges began attending the school, teachers refused to teach and white parents were pulling their children out of school. Norman Rockwell's painting commemorated this important moment in time, permanently captured in a legendary work of art.
Ruby Bridges (pictured) became an activist and suggested to President Barack Obama that the painting should be put in the White House and from July to October 2011 it was hung up in the hallway outside of the Oval Office. It's such a shocking and important piece that marks an important moment in history. Racism still exists today and it's important to remember moments in history like Ruby Bridges needing an escort to school over threats of violence during desegregation because this is still relevant to this day.

“Silence=Death" by Keith Haring is a statement piece about the oppression of people with AIDS in the 1980s. It portrays how invisible the victims of this disease felt by using the symbolism of the figures covering their mouth, eyes, and ears. It's an important piece that represents an important social issue, and raises awareness for those who feel as though their struggling in silence.

The pink triangle used in this painting is one symbol from the Nazi concentration camp badges that was used to identify homosexual men. This image is a photo of some of these victims lined up in a concentration camp.

Since the Holocaust, this symbol has been reclaimed by the gay rights movement. This painting is an important portrayal of the struggle and silence of those struggling with AIDS which reflects Haring's own struggle with the disease and his sexuality. It shows how through history how symbols can be re-appropriated and used in art to represent the struggles of an oppressed group of people. It's an example of how symbols in history remain relevant throughout time.

This is an example of the re-appropriation of this symbol. In San Francisco, on the side of Twin Peaks facing the Castro district, every year during SF Pride weekend the hill transforms into a memorial by putting up a giant pink triangle made up of dozens of pieces of pink canvas. This is a photo from the 2012 installation with Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi speaking, and standing with her is Pink Triangle Event Organizer Patrick Carney, SF Supervisor Scott Weiner, State Senator Mark Leno, and Assembly member Tom Ammiano.

Shepard Fairey made these posters as a criticism of Trump's hateful campaign rhetoric. They were popular signs during the Women's March 2017 which channeled a lot of the frustration of Trump's inauguration. Fairey told CNN, “We thought [they were the] groups that had been maybe criticized by Trump and maybe were going to be most, if not necessarily vulnerable in a literal sense, most feeling that their needs would be neglected in a Trump administration." This is an example of how art can be it's own form of activism and work against social issues that artists' feel are important. These signs spread the message that the people will not sit silently when there is a political figure they disagree with.

Fairey created this iconic poster during Barack Obama's presidential campaign. It's popularity exploded and became a legendary political art piece. This poster makes it apparent how influential art can be on politics.
"The Mandela Mural" by Fairey is a 9-story tribute to Nelson Mandela and the 25th anniversary of the Purple Rain Protest. It's considered his follow up piece after the "Obama Hope Poster." It's another political work of art that shows Fairey's social activism and how that is portrayed through his art.

In conclusion, throughout history art has been an important representation of key moments in history. It captures important aspects of pop culture and politics. Criticisms of wars, political figures, social issues, and racism are included in art. Artists are able to use their positions of power and influence to share their opinions and raise awareness about important events throughout history. Not only is art about current events significant such as Shepard Fairey's "We the People" posters, but also art from the past such as "The Problem We All Live With" remains relevant to this day. Art is a way to fight back against issues that the artists disagree with. It's one of the most important parts of history and is important to analyze and remember as we move into the future.

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