Collection Artwork
Michael Patterson-Carver (born Chicago, Illinois, 1958)
Sometimes Demonstrations Become Celebrations
2009
ink, pencil, watercolor on paper
paper size: 15 x 20 in.
frame size: 17 x 22 x 1 1/2 in.
Gift of Ann and Mel Schaffer Family Collection
2017.22.9
Inscribed, dated, and signed, lower right: SOME DEMONSTRATIONS / BECOME CELEBRATIONS / ’09 MICHAEL PATTERSON-CARVER

Installation views

Object Label

Public pressure is always required for anything to change. So what’s missing from the equation, really, is you.
—Michael Patterson-Carver

The cartoonish figures march to demand government support for employment and to celebrate LGBTQ+ identity. Their bodies are stiff, detached; they’ve done this before. Yet they smile. Self-taught artist and political activist Michael Patterson-Carver explains, “In order to succeed at anything the first step you must take is to BELIEVE. This is the reason that everyone in my demonstration scenes is smiling—they are confident of success.”

Patterson-Carver grew up in Chicago during the 1960s civil rights movement, which was formative in his political views. Injustices of all kinds—racial, social, environmental—become subjects for his work. Even if the world has not always pivoted on the side of justice, he reminds us to protest with peaceful optimism.

From the exhibition: Give a damn. (June 30 – September 30, 2018)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

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Give a damn.
Exhibition
Enlivened, Aware, Awake:
Symbols of Activism
Exhibition
i
Pattern by Abby Fuess ’18
Inspired by the exhibition Other Side: Art, Object, Self
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.