Graphic Witness: social/political art bibliography
to home page
Bibliography
1 general anthologies, websites
2 books written and/or illustrated by individual artists
3 books without pictures (mostly)
general anthologies

websites, on-line exhibitions / essays

select image to enlarge


engraving of a letter Q, c. 1467
by Master E.S., as reproduced in The Indignant Eye.
When the elephants fight, the grass suffers. -- African proverb

Shikes explains that this image is "part of a 'Grotesque Alphabet' in which letters are formed by groupings of human figures and animals.
What distinguishes this particular engraving is that it is one of the first sharply barbed social comments in the history of prints.
It depicts two heavily armored knights slashing at one another while two unfortunate peasants are trampled beneath their horses."
[Ralph Shikes, The Indignant Eye]
The artists included in Graphic Witness have had their illustrations published on newspaper editorial pages, in partisan journals, and popular magazines; in underground comics and the Sunday "funnies;" in union newsletters and in political posters. Their paintings, prints and drawings are included in the exhibitions and collections of museums and art galleries. The list of books and artists at this site is by no means exhaustive; the history of political and social caricature and cartoons is vast, and constantly growing.

general anthologies

Baigell, Matthew and Julia Williams, editors. Artists Against War and Fascism: Papers of the First American Artists' Congress, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1986. Originally published under the title Papers of the American Artists's Congress, 1936.

Becker, Heather and Peter J. Schulz (photographer). Art for the People: The Rediscovery and Preservation of Progressive and WPA-Era Murals in the Chicago Public Schools, 1904-1943. Chicago: Chronicle Books, 2002.

Brown, Joshua. Beyond the Lines: pictorial reporting, everyday life, and the crisis of Gilded Age America, University of California Press, 2002.

Bruckner, D.J.R., Seymour Chwast, and Steven Heller. Art Against War: 400 Years of Protest Art, New York: Abbeville Press, 1984.

Buhle, Paul and Nicole Schulman, editors, WOBBLIES!, A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, London | New York: Verso, 2005. Brilliant!

Cushing, Lincoln and Timothy W. Drescher. American Labor Posters. Ithaca, London: ILR Press, an imprint of Cornell University Press, 2009. "American labor posters are widely scattered, difficult to locate, and rarely archived. . ." This book has gathered and organized into a rich compendium of 'activist graphic media,' images that illustrate the diversity of labor history in the United States.

de Carvalho, Fleur Roos Rosa and Marije Vellekoop. Printmaking in Paris: The rage for prints at the fin de siècle. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 2012. A beautiful catalog that captures the passion for experimentation with print techniques between 1890 and 1905. Many of these artists contributed their work to the European illustrated journals of this period.

Donald, Diana. The Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III. Yale University, 1996. James Gillray and others captured the social, technological, and political revolutions of their day.

Dunitz, Robin. Street Gallery: Guide to 1000 Los Angeles Murals. Los Angeles: RJD Enterprises, Box 64668, Los Angeles CA 90064, 1993. See also the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles and Mary Lackritz Gray, A Guide to Chicago's Murals (below).

Eisenman, Stephen F. The Abu Ghraib Effect, London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 2007. A cogent art historical analysis: "The Abu Ghraib photographs ... are not works of art, but the materials and tools of art history are essential to understand them and counter their effect." Reaktion Books

Fitzgerald, Richard. Art and Politics, Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1973. Analysis of the work of 5 artists: Maurice Becker, K.R. Chamberlain, Robert Minor, John Sloan and Art Young

Goldstein, Robert Justin. Censorship of Political Caricature in Nineteenth-Century France, Kent Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1989.

Gray, Mary Lackritz. A Guide to Chicago's Murals, with a forward by Franz Schulze. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. Includes maps to mural locations, artist biographic information, and historical background on each mural. See also (above), Robin Dunitz, Street Gallery: Guide to 1000 Los Angeles Murals.

Guibert, Emmanuel and Didier Lefèvre (photographer)The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders , First Second Books, 2007. http://www.firstsecondbooks.com

Heintz, James and Nancy Folbre, and the Center for Popular Economics. The Ultimate Field Guide to the U.S. Economy: a compact and irreverent guide to economic life in America. New York: The New Press, 2000. This is a handsomely illustrated*** book, and viewers can get updates and corrections on-line at www.fguide.org, as well as subscribe to and contribute to a list of Econ-Atrocities.
***illustrations by Nicole Hollander, Gary Huck, Mike Konopacki, Richard Mock, Tom Tomorrow, Dan Wasserman and Matt Wuerker, among others.

Heller, Steven. Man Bites Man, New York: A&W Publishers, 1981.

Heller, Steven (editor). War Heads: Cartoonists Draw the Line, New York: Viking/Penguin, 1983.

Heller, Steven (editor). Innovators of American Illustration, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1986.

Heller, Steven and Gail Anderson. Savage Mirror: The Art of Contemporary Caricature, New York: Watson-Guptil, 1992.

Heller, Steven. Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State, London/New York: Phaidon Press, 2008.

Hess, Stephen and Milton Kaplan. The Ungentlemanly Art: A History of American Political Cartoons, New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1968 (revised edition: 1975).

Hogarth, Paul. The artist as reporter. London: Studio Vista; New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1967. From medieval times through 1966, a well illustrated, wide ranging and fascinating view of art 'based on the artist's response to his [or her] times'.

Horn, Maurice [editor]. The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons. New York/London: Chelsea House Publishers, 1980. Extensive biographical information on numerous artists, with essays on the worldwide historical development of caricature, including journals that publish(ed) graphic political and social commentary, like L'Assiette au Beurre.

Jacobs, Karrie and Steven Heller. Angry Graphics: Protest Posters of the Reagan/Bush Era, Layton, UT: Gibbs-Smith, nd (o.p. 1994).

Katz, Harry L. (editor), with essays by Bernard F. Reilly, Jr., and Garnet McCoy. Life of the People: Realist Prints and Drawings from the Ben and Beatrice Goldstein Collection, 1912-1948, Washington: Library of Congress, 1999. exhibition catalog

King, David and Cathy Porter. Images of Revolution: Graphic Art from 1905 Russia, New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.

Kraus, Jerelle. All the Art that's Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn't): Inside The New York Times Op-Ed Page, forward by Ralph Steadman. Columbia University Press, 2009.

MacPhee, Josh. Stencil Pirates: A Global Study of the Street Stencil, Brooklyn: Soft Skull Press, 2004.

MacPhee, Josh. editor. Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today, Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2009 [www.pmpress.org].

MacPhee, Josh., editor, with forward by Rebecca Solnit. Celebrate People's History: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution, New York: The Feminist Press, 2010 [www.feministpress.org]. One hundred posters designed by over eighty artists celebrate important acts of resistance -- events and individuals working toward racial justice, women's rights, queer liberation, labor struggles, and innovative activism.

McQuiston, Liz. Graphic Agitation: Social and Political Graphics Since the Sixties, London/New York: Phaidon Press, 1993.

McQuiston, Liz. Suffragettes to She-Devils: Women's Liberation and Beyond, London: Phaidon Press Ltd. 1997. "...a sourcebook of some of the world's most arresting graphic images....reflecting the ways in which women of all ages and cultures...have fostered social change...through their powerful graphic expression."

Nevins, Allan and Frank Weitenkampf. A Century of Political Cartoons: Caricature in the United States from 1800 to 1900, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1944.

Lerman, Louis, text with forward by Franz Boas. Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against the Schools, with full page illustrations by Raphael Soyer, Philip Evergood, Hugo Gellert, William Gropper, Rockwell Kent, William Steig, Art Young and more.

See also The Struggle for Free Speech at CCNY, 1931-42

Okun, Rob A., editor. The Rosenbergs: Collected Visions of Artists and Writers, a catalog accompanying the traveling exhibtion, Unknown Secrets: Art and the Rosenberg Era. New York: Universe Books, 1991.

Philippe, Robert. Political Graphics: Art as a Weapon, New York: Abbeville Press, 1980.

Platt, Susan Noyes. Art & Politics in the 1930's: Modernism -- Marxism -- Americanism. A History of Cultural Activism During the Depression Years, New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1999.

Prager, Arthur. The Mahogany Tree: An Informal History of PUNCH, New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1979.

Reilly, Bernard. Drawings of Nature and Circumstance: Caricature since 1870, an exhibit at the Library of Congress, Washington DC: Library of Congress, 1979.

Resnick, Elizabeth, Chaz Maviyane-Davies, and Frank Baseman curated and organized the exhibition, The Graphic Imperative: International Posters for Peace, Justice and the Environment, 1965-2005.; catalog essays by Steven Heller and Carol A. Wells. Boston: Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 2005. additional information. Exquisite catalog of a beautifully curated exhibition.

Scully, Richard and Marian Quartly, editors. Drawing the Line: Using cartoons as historical evidence. Victoria, Australia: Monash University ePress, 2009. available for download or read online.

Shikes, Ralph E. The Indignant Eye: The artist as social critic in prints and drawings from the Fifteenth Century to Picasso, Boston: Beacon Press, 1969.

Shikes, Ralph E. and Steven Heller. The Art of Satire: Painters as caricaturists and cartoonists from Delacroix to Picasso, New York: Pratt Graphics Center and Horizon Press, 1984.

Sorin, Gretchen Sullivan and Helen M. Shannon; created and developed by Gary Miles Chassman. In the Spirit of Martin: the living legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Atlanta: Tinwood Books, 2001. Catalog of the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, "...is the first book to demonstrate through the visual arts, the enduring influence and importance of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr....large format, 224 page, richly illustrated book with more than 180 artworks, all reproduced in full color, including more than forty works that were not available for the exhibition." Order from Kepler's Books

pica.don, the Stanford University Graphic Novel Project. The 2009 project: Virunga: Africa's Oldest National Park. Their 2008 project was Shake Girl. Their project for 2012 is From Busan to San Francisco, 'the story of Mido, a victim of international sex trafficking.' Check out their reading list as well.

Stewart, Virginia. 45 Contemporary Mexican Artists, Stanford University Press: 1951. Included is the artist Leopoldo Mendez

Toll, Nelly. Without Surrender: Art of the Holocaust, Running Press, Philadelphia: 1978.
Graphic art made in concentration camps during World War II. The fact that the art survived the camps is rare enough; rarer still, the survival of the artists: most did not live to be liberated. See also Yad Vashem on-line exhibitions of art in response to the Holocaust

West, Richard Samuel. Satire on Stone: The Political Cartoons of Joseph Keppler, University of Illinois Press: 1988. "Keppler was the art director, chief cartoonist and publisher of Puck, America's first successful humor magazine."

Wright, Micah Ian.YOU Back the Attack! WE'LL Bomb Who We Want! Remixed War Propaganda, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2003. With forward by Kurt Vonnegut, introduction by Howard Zinn and commentary by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Invaluable, scary, funny, informative.

Tyler, Linda and Barry Walker, editors. Hot Off the Press, The University of New Mexico Press: 1994. Included is an interview with Eric Avery, a physician as well as an artist and a printmaker, currently working with AIDS patients.

Zeitlin, Marilyn,A. editor; essays by Noam Chomsky, Jon Cortina, Angela Sabrano, Eduardo Sancho and Marilyn A. Zeitlin. Art Under Duress: El Salvador 1980-present, a catalog accompanying the traveling exhibition, Tempe AZ: Arizona State University Museum, 1994.
For copies of the catalog, contact ASU Nelson Fine Arts Museum catalog sales

Zurier, Rebecca. Art for The MASSES:A Radical Magazine and Its Graphics, 1911-1917, Temple University Press, 1988.


websites, on-line exhibitions / essays

Comrades in Art, revolutionary art in America 1926-1938. On-line narrative with links to over 40 artists, their images accompanied by folk/labor music and electronic speech, created by Francis Booth / Web Design by Paul Squire

The Library of Congress in Washington DC maintains an inexhaustible supply of graphic treasures, among them WPA posters, Spanish Civil War posters and British cartoon Prints as well as free public exhibitions of their collections, also digitized and available on-line, for example,
Cartoon America, a Library of Congress Exhibition: The Ungentlemanly Art: Political Illustrations. Catalog of Cartoon America published by LOC.

ColdType: Writing Worth Reading from Around the World: this particular link goes to essays by Joe Bageant. All work on ColdType.net is available for free download in pdf format.

Heagney, Brian. ABC's of Anarchy, viewable online pre-publication. Not to be missed.

Regina Holliday's Medical Advocacy Mural Project and blog. Highly recommended. An eloquent voice for social justice.

Lorne Bair Rare Books, where you may search the inventory by topic or browse the informative catalogs. Categories in American Social History include Radical Movements, Labor History, Literature of the Left, as well as Fine Press Books and History of Science, Medicine and Technology.

JEMA: The John Erickson Museum of Art is a unique museum, changing both exhibitions and locations, as well as maintaining its on-line presence -- "On July 25th 2003 at 2:40pm JEMA celebrated its Grand Opening in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum. Openings at JEMA are scaled down in duration appropriate to size. The opening lasted two minutes." Check it out and prepare to be fascinated and delighted.

Shake Girl, the 2008 production of the Stanford Graphic Novel Project. The project is using the true story of Shake Girl to create awareness about the issues of violence against women, specifically, the phenomenon of acid attacks in Cambodia that take place within the context of strong family bonds, political corruption, poverty and powerful men in the wake of the Khymer Rouge genocide. For these same reasons, we are publishing Shake Girl for free on the web. Subsequently, the class published Virunga, 2009; Pika-Don, 2010; From Busan to San Francisco, 2012 and A Place Among the Stars: Thirteen Women and their Quest for Space, 2013.

The Ship of Fools, on-line at the University of Houston, this timeless medieval satire of Sebastian Brant includes work attributable to Albrecht Dürer. Please note reproduction rights and permissions.

The Real Cost of Prisons Project seeks to broaden and deepen the organizing capacity of prison/justice activists working to end mass incarceration. The Real Cost of Prisons Project brings together justice activists, artists, justice policy researchers and people directly experiencing the impact of mass incarceration to create popular education materials and other resources that explore the immediate and long-term costs of incarceration on the individual, her/his family, community and the nation.
One of three comic books available from the Real Cost of Prisons Project is Prison Town: Paying the Price by Kevin Pyle and Craig Gilmore. Available on-line as a PDF file (3.6 MB -- not recommended for dial up connection). This comic book, illustrates how the financing and siting of prisons and jails effects the people of rural communities in which prisons are built. It also tells the story of the how mass incarceration effects the people of urban communities where the majority of people who are incarcerated come from. Included in the comic book are alternatives to the current system.
The stories and statistical information in each comic book are thoroughly researched and documented. As of October 2006, 125,000 copies of the comic books have been printed and more than 75,000 have been sent to families of people who are incarcerated, people who are incarcerated and to organizers and activists throughout the country. The demand for them is constant and the ways in which they are being used is inspiring.

The Never-Ending Wrong: The Execution of Sacco and Vanzetti -- artists respond, with work by Fred Ellis, Hugo Gellert, William Gropper, Louis Lozowick and others. From the Syracuse University Library Special Collections Research Center.

An index of on-line exhibitions of art in response to the Holocaust, from the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem.

Another Voice: Political Illustration from The Progressive, 1981-1999. Curated by Patrick JB Flynn.
Essays by Flynn, Steven Heller and Whitney Sherman. A must see!

The Struggle for Free Speech at CCNY, 1931-42, curated by Carol J. Smith. See also a related site, Winter Soldiers.

Turning the Pages, an award winning site where the viewer can 'turn the pages' of treasures from the British Museum, including Leonardo's notebook, the Lindisfarne Gospels, etc. Macromedia Shockwave version 8.5 required, and available for free download from the site.

Latin American Graphic Arts, curated by Dr. Patrick Frank, an extensive look (in Spanish and English) at rarely seen, primarily 20th Century prints from Latin and South America, including detailed works by Leopoldo Méndez, and a reading primer published by LEAR. Don't miss "making faces at the enemy".

Caricatures from the French penny press during The Siege and the Commune of Paris, and other photographic and documentary materials of the period (1871) in the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University.

Representing America: The Ken Trevey Collection of American Realist Prints, organized by University Art Museum, University of California at Santa Barbara

Images in Practice, a portal to design and illustration projects from around the world, based in the UK.

Atlantic Press, an independent press based in Cornwall publishing first books by authorial illustrators and artists.

Chagoya, Enrique. In the Light of Goya (traveling exhibition); essay by exhibition curator, University of California at Berkeley, 1995-1996.

Blair, Sarah. Message Art, AOI (Association of Illustrators) November 2002. "An illustrator with a mind to do so can make work which may radically enhance the possibility for debate in this superficially democratic but indisputably poorly-informed western society of ours."

Heller, Steven. Graphic Intervention, no date; previously unpublished article made available on-line by Typotheque, a type foundry based in The Netherlands.

Heller, Steven. Drawn and Quartered, Mother Jones, November/December 1996.
"A little blood always gets spilled when political cartoonists skewer public figures. Here, the New York Times senior art director tells us what makes caricature flourish, picks his 20 favorite examples of recent years, and reveals the stories behind the art."

books written and/or illustrated by individual artists
Please note: All images in Graphic Witness are for personal enjoyment or educational use. Any other use is prohibited.

top of this page | Comments or questions? graphicwitness AT gmail.com | Graphic Witness home page
Last update: 13 October 2014