All Good Art is Political: Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe
This crackling show, titled after a quote from Toni Morrison, displays prints and drawings by Kollwitz, a German social realist who died in 1945, and Coe, an English antiwar, anti-capitalist, and pro-animal-rights illustrator who lives in upstate New York. From opposite ends of the twentieth century, they prove the capacity of art, when both impassioned and adept, to dramatize worldly injustice with fury and flair. Kollwitz is the more appealing, with a style of masterly touch and tender pathos, notably in delicately shaded images of mothers and children indomitably bonded in poverty or facing unspecified threats. Coe makes a burnt offering of her own fine artistic gifts by cultivating an ugliness to befit the targets of her rage, including military and sexual violence and, especially, the horrors of industrial slaughterhouses, which, starting in the late nineteen-eighties, she spent several years researching in person. Both artists have assigned themselves an evergreen social mission: to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.