and persuasive, art can have a social function, challenging our understanding
of the world in which we live and how we operate within it. Artists are
reflectors, translators, and mediators of societal issues, including racial and
gender equality, civil rights, sexual politics, cultural and social identity,
and globalization. Often driven by personal convictions, artists at times
create works that act as windows, providing insight and focus on complex
subjects, offering unique interpretations, and raising difficult questions for
In Tulsa, for
example, photographer Larry Clark documents his own violent, drug- and
sex-fueled world. This harrowing photo collection, taken between 1963 and 1971,
is a time capsule of his personal experiences, but one that resonates with the
aimless drug use and violence in the United States today.
artists in Art as Social Commentary include
Vito Acconci, Sarah Emerson, Keith Haring, Tom Otterness, Angela Strassheim,
and Kara Walker, among others.