From its beginnings, the printmaking department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison embraced social commitment. Its founder Alfred Sessler said, “I have always been a fighter for the underdog.” The faculty and students that joined the department over the years regularly expressed similar sentiments in their art, particularly in the 1960s and ’70s when Americans came to blows with each other over race, poverty and the war in Vietnam. Prints made during that era to rally support to political ideas reflect the concerns of the times. Although they are sometimes harrowing and sardonic, at their best the prints represent ideals of justice and free speech still relevant today.
IMAGE: Warrington Colescott, (American, b. 1921), Out My Garden Window, 1969, color intaglio, 18 3/8 x 21 5/8 in., gift of Mark and Helen Hooper, 1981.87