What art means to you? I’m sure that for many it is something that stands far from protests and social activism. But there is so called protest art that deals with different social movements and social activism as well. Quite often contemporary artists are against the system, authorities and everything that could limit them ideologically. Sometimes it seems like they just exploit the subject to attract one’s attention to their activities.
Protest art has been existing since the 1930s. Picasso’ Guernica is just a perfect piece of protest art. The artist protested the German bombing of Guernica. It was an aerial bomb attack that destroyed the city. It is still unknown and disputable how many people were killed. Anyway it was a tragedy. There were many protests held against the Vietnam war involving famous artists. The most popular protest was held by British singer John Lennon and avant-garde artist Yoko Ono in Amsterdam and Montreal. They were sitting in bed thus protesting wars and promoting love and peace. The protest lasted for two weeks. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama was among those who protested the Vietnam war in public along with her assistants who were naked. The protests by Kusama were held in Central Park and on the Brooklyn Bridge. By the way Kusama wrote a letter to Richard Nixon suggesting to have sex . There was a necessary condition: he would stop the war in Vietnam.
British graffiti artist Banksy is supposed to be one of the most prolific protest artists of today. And it is still unknown who disguises as Banksy. Mainly his works include satirical forms of street art serving as a political commentary.
Nowadays there are lots of political protests held by artists in Russia. The most popular and recognized worldwide is so called the Voina art group based in Moscow. Their actions are quite provocative and oriented against the Government and the President.