Prints and Politics
By the late fifteenth century, mechanically reproducible images were reshaping the social world. Connecting new audiences across geographies through access to the same visual information, prints launched propagandistic missions, fomented rebellion against authorities, and built networks of progressive thinkers who could envision alternative futures. Prints played a key role in developing what constituted news. Mass-distributed images delivered the mistreatment of the “Indians” by the Spanish and portrayed the packing of Africans on a slave ship. Goya’s etchings protested the repression of the Second of May uprising, while the silkscreens of Andy Warhol repeated the image of police dogs attacking civil rights activists in Birmingham. Covering a five-hundred-year history, this course will focus on how printed images created communities and acted as exclusionary devices. We will train our eyes on examples from local collections.