Essay Draft -29-11-2013 a critique of the Exhibition

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Essay Draft -29-11-2013
A Critique of the Exhibition Art Under Attack

How is the act of Protest Represented in Art and Design?
In this essay I will critique the exhibition, Art under Attack at Tate Britain, and through evaluating the curatorial role in communicating the mood, content and ideas portrayed through the exhibition, in terms of the display methods used, the style of/ lack of music chosen to create the atmosphere and the ‘type’ of the other people viewing the exhibition.
I have chosen to look at this exhibition to analyse the effect that protest and propaganda has had on art. The secondary sources of research I will use are books, films and online resources of past exhibitions, which have already taken place that were relevant to my essay theme. I will gain knowledge on leading revolutionists who have fought for liberation in books and through watching films. I will research artists who use the notions of protest and attack in their artwork.
Summary of Essay content

  • Art Under Attack is an Exhibition of historical British attacks on the paintings and sculpture/artwork of iconoclasm.

Selected pieces of art from the exhibition that illustrate the context of the exhibition

  • It was the first exhibition to explore the damage inflicted on fine/decorative artwork over the last 500 years in Britain with refrerence to religion, politics and aesthetics.

  • Using the scratched out religious text on the church Triptych, the upturned Oliver Cromwell portrait and smashed Rockebury Venus painting as examples I will discuss in my essay how the historical attacks on art for one of the reasons above have developed throughout the 20th century from movements such as Dada and Contructivism to those used in the black Panther propaganda to the Punk fashions pioneered by designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexander Mcqueen and Martin Margiela.

Discuss the effect that protest and the ‘liberation’ or civil rights movement has had on the art world and particular artists who have used this theme within their work.

As Emory Douglas did in the posters he produced to support the Black Panther movement in the 1960’s, because in lecture 4 we learned that “Protest has always been part of the art and design makeup’”

  • I will analyse the effect of destruction and protest on the artworks themselves, as portrayed in the exhibition, but also the use of artwork as propaganda or a method of protest in itself.

  • I will also examine whether the exhibition and curator take the position of defending the art under attack or promote the idea of ‘the attack’ on art as a style in itself, (the same way that the Dada movement was) I have also thought about how successfully the exhibition portrayed the ideas and notions behind the work which was displayed.

  • I will compare the exhibition with others, such as Art Turning Left at Tate Liverpool and TMT The Midas Touch, Luton.


  • The exhibition at Tate Britain made me think about the importance of making my show accessible to a wide range of cultural fields and different people, regardless of their age, gender, religion or abilities, but also to appeal to a range of the different five senses, rather than just that of sight. And hearing?

Short list of References/ Bibliography

  • Llewellyn, R, (2008) SOLD OUT How I Survived a Year of not shopping, Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd.

  • Kreitzman, L (1998) The 24 HOUR SOCIETY: Profile Books Ltd.

  • Sinclair, A, (1968) Viva Che! The strange death and Life of Che Guevara: Sutton Publishing Ltd.

  • Vulliamy, E, (2010) AMEXICA: War Along The Borderline: The Bodley Head.

  • Bourdieu, P and Darbel, A, (1991) The Love Of Art: Polity Press.

  • Mann, S (2011) Study Skills for Art, Design and Media Students: Longman

  • Hadid, Z (2010) Art of The Middle East: London, New York, Merrell

  • Brent Place, S, (2006) Blasphemy That Offends: Black Dog Publishing Ltd.

Raymond Williams?

file:///Users/franceslakin/Desktop/Art%20under%20Attack:%20Histories%20of%20British%20Iconoclasm%20%7C%20Tate.webarchive, file:///Users/franceslakin/Desktop/Tate%20Liverpool%20%7C%20Art%20Turning%20Left.webarchive, file:///Users/franceslakin/Desktop/Shubbak:%20Culture%20in%20Defiance%20:%20Rich%20Mix., revolution in art


CHE: Part One: A Revolutionary Life, 2009, Steven Soderbergh.

Radio 4, The Reith Lecture by Grayson Perry, 29th September 2013

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