History: Learning From Dark Moments

On March 30th, The Art Ready group was given the opportunity to view artwork at the Brooklyn Museum’s Agitprop! Exhibition.  With the help of our guide, Noe Gaytan, we learned that the very term, “agitprop” was a combination of the two words, “agitation” and “propaganda.” This meant that the artwork shown in this exhibit was meant to stir a reaction out of its viewers about the formation of our society and highlight the flaws in the ways our society work and how other societies work across the world. The first works of art we viewed were nearly a hundred years old and were inspired by Soviet Russia and how women were treated poorly and were not protected by labor laws. This caused the group to think critically about how the art was made and what the goal of the artwork was and how a work of art can get a reaction out of society. We also viewed art that was focused on how American society and its flaws, such as how the country was founded through violence and enslavement. The artwork that made us start thinking critically at a higher level was Otabenga Jones’ work that was inspired by the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast program and how the FBI sabotaged it. To us, it was highlighted that our history is quite dark and that things around us need to be watched. The Art Ready group also had the pleasure of talking to an artist whose work is featured in the exhibit, Dread Scott. Dread Scott has a unique style that is focused on political and social aspects of today’s world. The piece that Dread Scott presented to us were performance stills from, “On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide”  where Dread Scott stood in front of fire hose to reenact the actions taken by police when African Americans marched in the Birmingham Campaign. Personally, I found his work to be inspirational and would love to talk with him more about his photography one day. The Art Ready students enjoyed the trip and wanted to see even more artwork from the exhibition but unfortunately our time there was short. We thank Noe for the lovely tour and Dread Scott for spending time with us. 





About smartready

Mentorship Program Manager, Smack Mellon
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