An Incomplete History of Protest

by Joseph McKeown

Constitution III  by Mark Bradford

Constitution III by Mark Bradford

An Incomplete History of Protest, an ongoing exhibition at the Whitney Museum, examines how artists from the 1940s to the present have reacted to and protested the political and social issues of their time. Whether by protesting the Vietnam War or combating the AIDS crisis or fighting for civil rights or representation, the featured artists in the exhibit "see their work as essential to challenging established thought and creating a more equitable culture." Mark Bradford's Constitution III (above) looks at first like an abstract painting, but it contains excerpts from the US Constitution. The text along with the rough surface suggest the founding document is living, "subject to modification and debate." Overall, the exhibit shows how the artists attempted to "play a profound role in transforming their time and shaping the future."