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The Intersection of Art and Social Change


Due by Day 7. We have discussed the impact of the publication of The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir in 1949. It could be said that her work shifted the way women’s creative expression was presented and viewed in Europe and the United States in the second half of the 20th century. This shift was especially true as the women’s and civil rights movements heated up in the 1960s and 1970s. The creative expression of women during this era began to address issues like identity and equality, if not overtly, like artists Judy Chicago and Carrie Weems, by lifestyle, like Georgia O’Keeffe. A play by a young Lorraine Hansberry provides an example of how life and art intersect. Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun (1959) about a struggling black family in Chicago, was the first to be produced on Broadway by a black playwright, making gains for both women and African Americans in the literary field.

For this journal assignment, discuss the ways women’s artistic expression and movements for social change intersect in the second half of the 20th century (after 1950). To complete this journal, first reflect on what it means to say that the arts and social change intersect. Next, analyze how you see this trend specifically in women’s artistic expression. Be sure to support your discussion by providing examples of at least two creative women from the late 20th century whose work makes a statement about society and perhaps suggests ways to make it better. Select your two examples of creative women from women introduced in the required or recommended resources.  These women should work in two different genres, for example painting, photography, writing, dance, etc.

Finally, for your conclusion (your final page), think about ways you have seen the arts and social change intersect in your community. In this case, the art in your community could have been created by women, men, or collaborations as our emphasis here is on the way art and social change intersect. For example, artist and architect Maya Lin’s Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, honors 40 individuals who died fighting for equal rights between 1954 and 1968. Her work recognizes the sacrifices freedom and equality require. . If none of your research turns up art that makes a statement for social change in your community, imagine and discuss how you might address—with an artistic solution—an important issue that needs changing in your community.