Identity Politics


The legacy of major identity-based political movements in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s led many artists, such as Adrian Piper, David Hammons, Eleanor Antin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jimmie Durham, and Coco Fusco, to use their art to critique the systematic oppression of people based on race, gender, and sexuality. These artists often interrogated the relationship between identity (real or imagined) and its visual representation, engaged with political theory related to social injustice, or confronted ideologies and institutions of identity-based discrimination. Key exhibitions associated with identity politics are the 1993 Whitney Biennial; Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in American Art (1994), at the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in the 1980s (1990) at the New Museum; Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965–1985 (1993), at the Wight Art Gallery; and Asia/America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art (1996), at the Asia Society Galleries.

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