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Art on the Move: Protest Art from Occupy Chicago marches

Protest art, often handmade, sometimes crude, but always politically expressive is more often thought of as a tool with a message than art in and of itself.

Decades after a struggle, however, you can find remnants of those political movements in museums. The exhibition “Vision and Communism” is on display at the Smart Museum of Art. The Art Institute of Chicago is currently showing the exhibition “Soviet TASS Posters At Home and Abroad.”

But these images are removed in space and time from the events that inspired them. They have been filtered by what we decide is most iconic of an era, for the most part without the cacophony of vastly disparate approaches.

Protest art as it happens and as it is happening right now in Chicago is another beast.

It moves quickly, is difficult to ascribe and it varies in its priorities. The artists here don’t necessarily want you to know their names. Sometimes it is all you can do to snap a quick picture before they disappear into the crowd again.

In contrast to the professional posters created by institutional parties, protest art as it is currently being experienced in Chicago and other American cities can often be something as simple as a cardboard sign with a message written in sharpie and a Guy Fawkes mask or as complex as portable sculptures and choreographed performances.

There is much to see at the current wave of protests in our city. Some of it won’t be what you could consider “fine art,” but it is art being used in a tangible way with a sense of urgency for its creators. Stay tuned as SIFC brings you more in this series on the creative expression of the masses.

Learn more about Occupy Chicago by visiting the website or Facebook page.


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