book review: Visual Culture Impacts US History: What Is Seen and What Is Erased?

SNCC poster, Come Let Us Build a New World Together, 1962, photograph by Danny Lyon. (Credit: Copyright Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos; image reproduction: Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Michigan)

SNCC poster, Come Let Us Build a New World Together, 1962, photograph by Danny Lyon. (Credit: Copyright Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos; image reproduction: Joseph A. Labadie Collection, University of Michigan)

 

“Nicolas Lampert’s A People’s Art History of the United States is a fascinating, if anecdotal, look at the ways activist art propels and augments social change movements. It makes no bones about the fact that it is not an all-encompassing survey of progressive art but is instead a look at the ways specific activists have used visual media – broadly defined to include everything from installations and street theater to painting, sculpture, puppetry, poster-making and photography.

Along the way Lampert interrogates how imagery has been used to promote rebellion against the British; support abolition; boost woman suffrage; honor Chicago’s Haymarket martyrs; contest lynching; oppose World War I; publicize the World War II-era incarceration of Japanese citizens and US-born Japanese Americans; support civil rights and, later, build the Black Panther Party; push museums and galleries to feature more women and people of color; oppose nuclear power; support People with AIDS; and build a more peaceful and egalitarian world.”

 

full review posted on Truthout.