Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Art, Culture, and Politics


“AFRICOBRA,” an artist’s collective founded in Chicago in 1968, stands for “African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists” and developed out of the earlier group, OBAC or “Organization of Black American Culture,” a multidisciplinary group of writers, historians, and artists. The group of artists—who were painters, photographers, print-makers, fiber artists, and sculptors—included Jeff Donaldson (1932—2004), Wadsworth Jarrell (1929-), Barbara Jones-Hogu (1938-), and others. It emphasized collaboration and explored African American identity and artistic heritage in work that was often brightly colored, figurative, and focused on social themes. Donaldson, Jarrell, and other members of OBAC worked together to create the Wall of Respect, a mural painted on the south side of Chicago in 1967 to promote civil rights and community involvement. In 1973, the city of Chicago razed the building upon which the mural was painted, but the work spurred on similar politically-minded mural projects both in the city and internationally.

Barbara Kruger’s powerful photographic works rely on the strategies of advertising to make their bold statements. Pieces such as You Can’t Drag Your Money into the Grave with You (1991) merges image and text, which is broken up into red blocks, pulling the viewer’s eye across the picture plane. (Art courtesy Mary Boone Gallery, New York / The Bridgeman Art Library, © Barbara Kruger.)


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