Artists have politics on the brain these days (just like the rest of us). That’s good news for people looking for ways to explore art in the run-up in to the presidential election. Here’s a look at metro Phoenix murals, exhibits, and art happenings with a political twist.
Dozens of metro Phoenix artists created works for "Roadside Attraction: Now It’s Political," a collaborative project that includes temporary art installations placed around metro Phoenix. There’s an online map you can use to find the artworks, which include several noted below. You can up the fun factor by printing out a "Roadside Attraction" bingo card before you go.
Saskia Jorda responded to her own anxieties and fears about the country’s future by creating a work called Prayer for America. The piece will include 50 American flags bound into oversized prayer beads intended to convey both the idea of America “curled up in a ball against its own force” and the concepts of “contemplation, penance, and hope.” She’ll be doing a performative binding of flags at ASU Art Museum this weekend, then showing the completed piece at Walter Gallery in November.
Jorda is also doing an ongoing project called When there are nine, which comprises street art inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s iconic lace collars. So far, she’s spray-painted collars at women-owned businesses that include Barrio Café, Changing Hands, Desert Crafted, Hazel & Violet, MADE, and Practical Art.
Patricia Sannit built a ceramic speaker’s platform called We the People, which includes bricks carved by community members. The piece is installed in an interior courtyard for SMoCA, where it serves to remind viewers of the importance of civil dialogue and shared civic responsibility. Museum-goers can stand on the platform to speak their own words about matters of civic life.
Christopher Jagmin created a sound work titled Political Party, which will play continuously outside the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) entrance for the rest of October. The piece features more than 80 political characters in a cacophony designed to mirror museum openings and highlight the prevalence of anxiety in contemporary life.
Seventh Avenue and I-10
Jeremie “bacpac” Franco painted a mural on Seventh Avenue near the I-10 exit, taking her inspiration from young Latinx voters, Muslim women in the Middle East, and American suffragettes. “How shameful it is,” she says, “that these women stood up to declare their rights, and we just take it for granted and don’t bother to vote.”
La Morena worked with several artists to create a voting theme mural on the front of The Hive, a creative mixed-use space in the Coronado neighborhood, and area that’s also home to the Oak Street alley filled with murals by dozens of local artists. The mural features the text “Vote Out Hate” and images celebrating diversity.
Grand Avenue Arts and Historic Preservation District
Look for a variety of politically-themed art posters along Grand Avenue, including wheat paste works by Shepard Fairey, the New York-based artist who created the iconic image of Barack Obama used in the 2008 presidential campaign. His works are part of a national initiative called "Remember What They Did."
Lisa Sette Gallery
More than a dozen artists explore themes related to politics and civic life in this group exhibition at Lisa Sette Gallery. It’s one of several exhibitions curated by Sette to reflect both the historical and contemporary landscape in America political, social, and cultural life. The exhibit includes several artists based in metro Phoenix, including Alan Bur Johnson, Annie Lopez, Matt Magee, and Carrie Marill. Viewing is by appointment. The exhibit continues through January 2, 2021.
Fine Art Complex 1101
This group exhibition featuring works in diverse mediums from photography to fiber art addresses issues at the heart of the election season. The Fine Art Complex 1101 exhibit is designed to raise uncomfortable truths, prompt new perspectives, and create conversations. The opening reception takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on November 1.
Several artists are making political works and posting them on social media. Follow Eric Cox to see works portraits of political figures, and Carolyn Lavender to see works inspired by Donald Trump. (Look for one of Lavender's political works in the Eye Lounge retrospective.)
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
Saturday, October 17
Artists Gloria Martínez-Granados and Joan Baron, whose collaborative work titled Good Trouble Bucket was inspired by civil rights icon John Lewis, will be presenting an installation and video projection at the Carver Museum from 7 to 10 p.m. Jon Linton will be on site with his Let’s Be Better Humans bus painted by metro Phoenix artists.
ASU Art Museum
Saturday, October 17
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Head to the parking lot at ASU Art Museum to see videos with a political twist from 7 to 9 p.m., plus a 6 p.m. performance by Saskia Jorda for her Prayer for America project. Video artists include Estrella Esqualín, Miguel Angel Monzón, Gregory Sale, and others. Admission is free.
Virtual Exhibit Opening Reception
Saturday, October 24
Karen Fiorito, the California-based artist who has created several billboards with political themes, including the iconic anti-Trump billboard previously on view on Grand Avenue in Phoenix, is curating a group show filled with artworks that elevate human, civil, and voting rights amid the backdrop of division and social injustice. Take a virtual tour during the opening reception from noon to 3 pm MST.