Art | Power to the Artists

Adelita Husni-Bey,
The Sleepers, 2012
Oil on canvas
© The artist, courtesy
Galleria Laveronica,

Power to the People
Political Art Now
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
21 March > 27 May 2018

Phyllida Barlow,
Untitled: 100 banners,
2015, 2015
Lumber, plywood, tape,
wadding, fabric, paint,
sand, and plastic
© The artist, courtesy
Hauser & Wirth,
Photo Stefan Altenburger

This show doesn’t shout; it speaks a powerful, sophisticated language appropriate to our age. As we near the second decade of the 21st century, when democracy is facing critical challenges, contemporary artists are reacting by presenting us with an array of less in-your-face, more thoughtful works than those produced in the genre of political art by previous generations.

Halil Altındere,
Ballerinas and Police, 2017
Full HD Video
© The artist, courtesy
the artist and
Pilot Galeri, Istanbul

Edgar Leciejewski,
A Circle Full of Ecstasy
(detail), 2016
77 colour photographs.
Courtesy the artist

Julius von Bismarck,
Figuration #5 (May Day
Riot Police), 2009
Inkjet print
© The artist, courtesy
Alexander Levy, Berlin;
Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf

Just as supporters of democracy are having to change tack in order to deal effectively with the existential threat they are facing, artists have taken on board the rise of populist leaders, of fake news, of totalitarian propaganda, and of neoliberalism, and have adapted their approach.

Mark Flood,
5000 Likes, 2015 / 16
Spray paint on canvas,
(4,344 parts)
© The artist, courtesy
Peres Projects, Berlin,
Photo Matthias Kolb

Osman Bozkurt,
Marks of Democracy /
Portraits of the Voters, 2002
10 C-prints
Deutsche Bank Collection
© The artist

Ricarda Roggan,
Triptychon (Chair, Table
and Partition), 2001
C-Print (detail)
© The artist, courtesy
Galerie Eigen +
Art Leipzig / Berlin

Neither a single group nor an organised movement, the clutch of international artists whose work is included in Power to the People: Political Art Now at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt nevertheless gel into a single, purposeful force to be reckoned with.

Images courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

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