ALEX POTTS is Max Loehr Collegiate Professor in the Department of History of Art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is author of the books Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History (1994 and 2000), The Sculptural Imagination. Figurative, Modernist, Minimalist (2000), and most recently Experiments in Modern Realism: World Making, Politics and the Everyday in Postwar European and American Art (2013). His is currently working on the picturing of the social in 19th-century art.
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Art as protest can take two rather different forms. It can be an intervention which makes an explicitly political statement. As such it needs to be immediately recognized by its audience as registering opposition to some aspect of the dominant social and political order and as offering a provocation to its ideas and attitudes.