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A People's Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements

Regular price $ 25.99

by Nicolas Lampert

New Press

10/6/2015, paperbook

SKU: 9781620971338


Inspired by the pathbreaking work of Howard Zinn, A People's Art History of the United States is propelled by a democratic vision of art, showing that art doesn't just belong within the confines of museums and archives. In fact, art is created every day in the street and all around us, and everyone deserves to be a part of it.

Called "important" by renowned art critic Lucy Lippard, A People's Art History of the United States introduces us to key works of American radical art alongside dramatic retellings of the histories that inspired them. Richly illustrated with more than two hundred black-and-white images, this book by acclaimed artist and author Nicolas Lampert is the go-to resource for everyone who wants to know what activist art can and does do for our society. 

Spanning the abolitionist movement, early labor movements, women's suffrage, the civil rights movement, and up to the present antiglobalization movement and beyond, A People's Art History of the United States is a wonderful read as well as a brilliant toolkit for today's artists and activists to adapt past tactics to the present, utilizing art and media as a form of civil disobedience.


"This is an important first volley in what I hope is an ongoing fusillade of people's art histories. There are many more stories to tell, here and abroad. Those relayed by Nicolas Lampert offer models for an art that actively engages in and helps change the course of history." -- Lucy R. Lippard, author of Get the Message? A Decade of Art for Social Change

"Readable and instructive." -- Publishers Weekly

"A much welcome, fresh view of American political art." -- Paul Buhle, editor of A People's History of American Empire

"This book is an excellent jumping-off point for anyone unfamiliar with the powerful social justice roots of American culture, offering wonderful examples of historical points along the timeline of agitational American art. Lampert's credentials as an activist artist give him an insider's view of this important yet marginalized subject. It's an antidote to the conventional 'Art' model where form dominates content and artistic creativity is reduced to marketable commodities." -- Lincoln Cushing, author of All of Us or None: Social Justice Posters of the San Francisco Bay Area and Agitate! Educate! Organize!: American Labor Posters

About the Author:

Nicolas Lampert is a Milwaukee-based interdisciplinary artist and author whose artwork is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum, among other institutions. Lampert is a full-time faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.