Art as social commentary: the 2016 election

Barbara Kruger’s typographical art takes on Republican candidate

Art has been a form of social commentary from as far back as the Paleolithic era, beginning with the Lascaux cave paintings.

lascaux
The Lascaux Caves in France featured some of the first known artwork, signed by handprint

What makes art the perfect medium for commentary as opposed to language is its inherent non-syntactical structure. Image and text work symbiotically to convey a forethought message or messages. More recently Barbara Kruger, the feminist artist has an acute ability of using image and text in conjunction to communicate criticism with a cheeky side of sardonic wit; in fact she’s made a career of it. Kruger has taken her idiosyncratic use of Futura typeface words placed within a red box, set against a black and white photograph, to weigh in on this year’s Presidential election. The November issue of New York magazine features a black and white close up of Donald Trump appearing in the middle of uttering an offensive remark, with Kruger’s trademark application of Futura on red. The Red against white spells out “Loser,” one of Trump’s prevailing epithets. The crux is that the real losers of the carious 2016 election is the people, who have lost the respect and tradition for the nation’s highest office that has taken two centuries to build.

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