“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”— Elie Wiesel
RESIST! INSIST! PERSIST! explores the intersection of art and activism. Drawn primarily from the Fleming Museum’s collection, the exhibition features the work of historical and contemporary artists who have countered adversity and hardship with empowerment and expression. This show was curated by UVM students in the Fall 2018 class Art History 282: Museum Studies, taught by Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio, Professor of Art History and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Art has always had the power to evoke a strong emotional response from viewers. As it became easier and cheaper to produce and circulate art in prints and photographs, artists seized the opportunity to spread imagery that gives voice to marginalized groups and brings injustices to light.
Artists in the exhibition include Francisco de Goya, William Hogarth, Pablo Picasso, Lewis Hine, Diego Rivera, the Guerrilla Girls, Kara Walker, Alison Saar, Glenn Ligon, Sabra Field, and Mildred Beltré, among others. Their subjects range from racial violence, to state oppression, to the underrepresentation of women in the art world, and more.
The show’s student curators write: “In investigating these issues, we will encounter some controversial and distressing images and ideas, but we must not shrink from them. As citizens of this messy world, we have a duty to address our past, ugly as it might be, and use what we learn to shape a better future for ourselves and those who succeed us.”