AP Art Gallery

Ai Weiwei's Study of Perspective depicts the artist raising his middle finger in front of multiple well known buildings around the world, such as Tiananmen Square and The White House. Ai's rebellious gesture illustrates his disdain for authority and governments around the world. 
The painting’s subjects are portrayed with loneliness and indifference-commenting on the human condition of isolation in the United States during the 1940’s. The subjects are at the same time protected and vulnerable. The florescent-lit café appears welcoming against the dark street, but the light and extensive windows also expose the people inside to those on the street.
The Columbian artist, Fernando Botero's uses humorous, satirical, and robust depictions of political leaders, such as in El presidente, to condemn militarists' morals in Columbia.
Dorothea Lange took black and white photos documenting the impact of the Great Depression on families in America, such as the mother and children living on a neglected pea-picking farm depicted in this image. The mother's desperate gaze and gestures sparked an emotional response from audiences and still serves as an iconic image of the Great Depression.
For this work, Barbara Kruger appropriates Michelangelo's Creation of Adam, however placing vertical bands of text on top of the image. Kruger uses the art of typography, and as a feminist artist, criticizes the patriarchal culture in the west and poses the question "Why did God create man first?"
Francisco de Goya created this series consisting of 80 etchings, depicting the struggles between the Spanish and French during the early 19th century. Goya's prints illustrate the gruesome consequences of the Peninsular War as well as the brutal guerilla warfare itself. Due to the horrifying nature of his etchings as well their challenge to authority, which include scenes of torture and other brutalities of war, the series was allowed to show only after Goya's death.
During the period Millet painted this work, the mindset of the middle and upper class French citizens was to be concerned only with themselves. The peasants were looked down upon, treated terribly, and the practice of gleaning was popular. Therefore, Millet depicted three laboring peasant women dominating the canvas to show respect and honor to the poor working class. The women appear humble while their hands, shoulders, and bent backs highlight the painstaking task.
Painted two years after Millet's Gleaners, Breton's Calling in the Gleaners addresses the same social problem in France. Unlike Millet, Breton's painting depicts the women after a day of labor at dusk. The women's worn out feet, and hands illustrate the difficult job, but they still possess an air of nobility.
Rivera, an artist whose goal was to create art for his people’s needs, depicted many popular themes that reflected Mexico’s history and aesthetic nature. Cabbage Seller, for example, depicts the work and struggle of a street vendor, walking through the markets and selling his products.
Thomas Hart Benton puts a twist on the classical Greek myth of Achelous and Hercules to relate to problems in the west during the 1940's. During that time, the Missouri River was flooding tremendously and The Army Corps of Engineers started putting in efforts to control the flooding. This is similar to the Greek myth when Hercules defeated Achelous, the river god who caused destruction during the flooding seasons. Benton wished for the waterways to be tamed which would in return allow better harvests.
Nalini Malani was born a year before the partition of India, when the country split into India and Pakistan, forcing her family to flee the country. Living as a refugee, Malani was inspired to create art that condemns nationalism as well as cultural stereotypes in India. She often uses expressionistic forms and luminous colors to highlight her figures and the background. 
Hirsch’s painting is a reaction to the prejudice and violence of Black people in the United States at that time. The painting depicts the tragedy of and harshness of lynching, which had become a popular form of racial disturbances in the South. The mother, a survivor of lynching, holds her child as she covers her face in anguish. The background highlights the family’s pain as well. 
Le Nain, famously known for his genre scenes, depicts the dignity of the working class in his painting. The groups of peasants have an air of serenity which is silent except for the sound of the flute. The painting reflects the thinking of the 17th century in France, where the virtue of peasants was celebrated.  The stoic and resigned look on the family members’ faces show their hardships from working the soil and living in bad conditions every day.    
Jacob Lawrence lived during the Harlem Renaissance and was a prominent African American artist during that time. His series, The Builders, depicts both white and black men working together to create a new society. He targets racial inequality by illustrating the groups of men interacting with each other instead of segregated, depicting racial harmony and nation building. Lawrence's paintings highlight the struggles of the black community to overcome racial barriers and social injustices.
Romare Bearden, another African American artist, focused on unity within the black community and advocated for civil rights. He often used collages including bright foils and patterned fabrics which he called "collage-paintings." He depicted daily life in his community, African American heritage, as well as the slave trade and social inequality.
Edward Burtynsky's industrial landscape photograph, "Shipbreaking #3" comments on this new and dangerous industry. The process of shipbreaking is the dismantling of ships, by hand,  for scrap metal. The workers are constantly exposed to chemicals and must carve out tons of rusted metal by hand. His series questions the low labor costs and extremely dangerous conditions of this industry. Burtynsky's photographs target international toxic waste issues and worker health and safety issues.
Henry Moore drew his "Shelter Drawings" series during the London blitz in 1940. Moore's own studio was destroyed in 1939 and he was unable to sculpt anything until 1942. During the series of bombings, the poor, unaccessible to raid shelters, fled to the underground tube stations for refuge. Moore saw the scenes of overcrowded platforms and decided to take notes and create sketches documenting the episode. His drawings include anonymous and massive forms of people trapped in the underground tunnels. His illustrations express the bleak mood of the war and are "deeply sympathetic images of war."
Van Gogh favored the depiction of the working peasants over the bourgeois art for his impressionist paintings. In his work, he depicts a humble and hard-working family of peasants who have large hands and faces, presumably due to their back-breaking toil. The atmosphere is grave, emphasized by the toned down colors, as well as excited, because the subjects appear content by their simple meal of potatoes and coffee.  The painting sympathizes with the peasants who work hard every day to provide meals for themselves as well as others.    
Thomas Kennington was an English genre and social realist artist. His paintings depict the harsh conditions for the poor in Britain, such as his paintings The pinch of poverty and Orphans. In the painting, a mother sits on the corner of a street with her three children. They carry sober expressions as the young daughter approaches the viewer and tries to sell flowers. The painting plays with the viewer's emotions and highlights the difficult life of the poor.
Honore Daumier's Third-Class Carriage also depicts the plight of the working class. Daumier is able to capture a quiet moment their lives and identifies them by their worn out clothing and weary postures. The third-class family turns away from the rest of the passengers, isolating them from society. The light coming from the windows highlight the poor family and contrasts the overall sober atmosphere. Daumier is able to evoke sympathy for the family and shows the wide separation between the poor and the rich. 
The Laundress is another artwork about the peasants and working class. The colors are toned down and the two figures dominate the composition. The mother helps her daughter with tenderness, but also weariness and holds a beater in her left hand. This shows the repetitive toil of labor as the daughter will one day take her mother's job as a laundress. The painting focuses on the humble working class and evokes sympathy for the figures depicted.
Although Daumier portrayed the working class in his paintings, he was also a political satirist. In the lithograph, Le Ventre Legislatif  translated to "The Legislative Belly," Daumier ridicules the government, depicting the members of the Chamber of Deputies as bloated with their greed and are dozing. The work reflects the state of corruption in the government at that time. 
Daumier also represents the uprising of 1848, when Luois-Philippe's monarchy was overthrown. Daumier expresses the passion of the highlighted figure and the the fervor of revolution. The shadowed figures in the back follow the wave of the mob and the main figure raises his hand in rebellion.
Jacques-Louis David, a political and social artist, created this piece in honor of Jean-Paul Marat's death. A close friend to David, Marat was an editor-in-chief of l'Ami du Peuple who wrote during the French Revolution. He was assassinated for his rebellious actions in his bath, which is illustrated in David's painting. The lighting illuminated the victim's body and expresses the compassion and outrage David felt towards this event.
David was also extremely involved in politics and was recruited by Napoleon to paint propaganda for his uprising against the revolutionary government. This portrait exemplifies Napoleon's power and authority, depicting the general striding on a rearing white stallion. Napoleon and his horse dominate the space and his billowing cloak echos the landscape and adds to the drama of the portrait. Overall, the painting was created to celebrate the achievements of the general and shows the amount of admiration David had for Napoleon.
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