Curator Karen Gutfreund's New Book Compiles Art From 'Not Normal' Times

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • September 17, 2020

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Sara Peak Convery “Divided States of America (The FEAR Flag)”, (2019) Printed U S Flags, thread, 34 x 53 inches. Courtesy the artist.

The new book Not Normal: Art in the Age of Trump by Karen M. Gutfreund, released July 2020, documents the visual arts side of the anti-Trump movement in a curated collection featuring the work of 147 international artists. It is a lasting, eye-catching and impactful testament of the opposition movement against President Trump and the destructive climate he has created as 45th President.

Justin Hoover, Director of Collective Action Studio and independent curator, says, “Racism is on the rise and what we need from artists is a way to visualize and vocalize a counter narrative, one about love and compassion, inclusion and diversity. In 'Not Normal,' the artists’ righteous energy calls out these criminals in power and demands the public hold them accountable."

Salma Arastu “You Loot We Shoot”, (2020) Acrylics and charcoal on unstretched canvas, 40 x 58 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Artful protest, dissension and outrage is evidenced in full Technicolor display on subjects ranging from xenophobia, racism, the COVID pandemic, immigration, promotion of hatred and violence, mistrust of science and facts, government corruption and greed, the climate crisis, misogyny and women’s and LBGTQ rights. While the subject matter is serious, the art is alive with color, detail and multi-layered messages, and many are delivered with an irreverent sense of humor. 

"Hidden beneath the white noise of the 24-hour news cycle, a movement has started among the nation’s finest activist artists,” says Gutfreund, curator and author of Not Normal. “This artistic form of peaceful protest, featured in my book, showcases the quality and volume of anti-Trump activist art. As a curator, I want to exhibit these works to document this perspective and showcase this powerful form of expression.”

Holly Ballard Martz “Trophy for tyranny (tarnished reputation)”, (2019) NY Times, brass stencils, brass, aluminum rivets, 10 x 21 x 5 inches. Courtesy the artist.

This book features 350 works from artists across the United States and world. Artists use media including painting, sculpture, drawing, mixed media, digital art, photography, video, performance art and installation. While there is a great amount of diversity in the artistic styles, the artists are united in a groundswell of opposition to these “not normal” times for U.S. democracy.

“We employ artwork to fight for human rights and social justice. I created this collection because the subject matters are timely, necessary and urgently needed to be seen in this ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ world,” says Gutfreund.    

Karen M. Gutfreund is an independent curator and artist. Actively promoting the work of activist and feminist artists with national touring exhibitions, she has produced over thirty-five to date, managing all aspects from curation, artist and project management, as well as the installation. Gutfreund has worked in the Painting & Sculpture Department at MoMA, the Andre Emmerick Gallery, The Knoll Group, the John Berggruen Gallery, and is an art consultant to both corporations and individuals. Gutfreund served as the National Exhibitions Director for the Women’s Caucus for Art. In addition, Gutfreund is a member of ArtTable, the Northern California Representative for The Feminist Art Project (TFAP), and curator for She is currently writing a book on DIY Exhibitions. More info: 

Not Normal: Art in the Age of Trump is available on Amazon

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