It is a common misconception that art is a luxury afforded in only economically and socially stable times and places. Throughout history, as William Cleveland points out in his latest book, Art and Upheaval (New Village Press), artists have been active and outspoken at least as much or more so in authoritarian, repressive, and difficult times. In the book, Cleveland brings us the stories of art and specific artists whose voices were formed in times of upheaval in Northern Ireland, Cambodia, South Africa, the U.S. (Los Angeles), Australia, and Serbia. "[I]f you scratch the surface of a human disaster you will find creators responding to the most difficult circumstances, making art to live, to eat, to kindle the human spirit, to bring peace or to resolve conflict. In these circumstances, you will also find art makers manifesting beauty in the face of horror, and revealing the ugly truth in the face of denial. They are doing this to rally, or bring order, to educate and inspire, to entertain, to heal, but most of all, to tell the story—the hidden story, the story denied."
Tue., Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2008