Contemporary Art With A Message Essay

906 words - 4 pages

There are many contemporary artists in the world that provoke conversation on controversial topics. Keith Haring, Francis Bacon and Barbara Kruger are a few examples of artists with a message. These artists have all created works that "evoke a sense of struggle 'against the system.'" Not all of these outspoken artists share the same vision, but they have fought their own personal battles to get their message out to the public.If Postmodernism raises low art to the level of high art, it also allows folks who control the media to cash in on subculture. Andy Warhol made a joke of it, but Keith Haring turned the tables. When this Graffiti artist lifted his brush to the walls of subways and plastered canvases with cartoon figures he made a point: art is for everyone. You can pay big bucks if it makes you feel hip, but at its greatest, art is both social and accessible. To Haring, there was no difference between the drawings he did for free and the art he sold for thousands of dollars. Haring's work put social issues at the forefront while celebrating love and life. In 1979 he designed, printed and distributed posters for an antinuclear demonstration in Central Park. His vibrant compositions feature heavily outlined figures with no race or gender. His figures danced despite the downfall of civilization and Reagan-era politics. Celebration for celebration's sake became a very political message. Haring was committed to making his art available to everyone. He painted anti-drug messages on buildings and subways, and mass produced novelties that featured his ecstatic figures. Shortly before he died of AIDS he used his funds and notoriety to create the Keith Haring Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to provide assistance to other nonprofits through the sale of his work.Francis Bacon is an artist that has been misunderstood by the public. When I first viewed his work in a museum in La Jolla, I too got the wrong impression, yet he is still one of my favorite artists. Crucifixion scenes are among Francis Bacon's earliest paintings. Permeating into his work as a whole, the crucifixion became an omnipresent element in his art. Only in one case do these works touch on the theme of the Crucifixion: in the 1954 Figure with Meat. The Holy Father is seated on his ceremonial throne in a slaughter house. Immediately behind his head the split halves of a beef carcass dangle from the ceiling. Why one may wonder, is the Pope screaming? Is he protesting against the fact that the Crucifixion has become part of everyday life, as an endlessly repeated act of torture? Or does he merely wish to be relieved of the burden of witnessing the agony. In Pope Innocent X he reworked a famous...

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