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Give a damn.

Give a damn. presents art from the Tang Teaching Museum collection by artists who, quite simply, give a damn about the world around them and the people in it. Not all artists included in the exhibition identify as activists, but through their art and its interpretations, they become advocates for freedom, equality, justice, and understanding.

The exhibition connects many media including painting, textile, photography, and drawing by 20th- and 21st-century artists diverse in race, sexual orientation, gender, age, and nationality. Many recent acquisitions are being shown at the museum for the first time, including work by Dawoud Bey, Jeffrey Gibson, Jane Irish, Zanele Muholi, Deborah Roberts, Wendy Red Star, archive material related to the Black Panther Party, and more. Recently conserved, Los Angeles–based artist Lari Pittman’s seminal Once a Noun, Now a Verb #1, 1997, is a large-scale, intensely intricate four-panel painting made in the height of the AIDS crisis that celebrates and examines what the artist has called the “bittersweet nature of life.”

Give a damn. is more than a sentence, more than an exhibition title: it is a call to action. In the first gallery space, a 1969 Corita Kent print asks, “Why not give a damn about your fellow man?” In the moments filled with the passion art stimulates, visitors are encouraged to take action by writing postcards to their political representatives about issues meaningful to them. The museum provides postcards and pens and pencils as well as guidance on finding representatives to contact about different issues; it will stamp and mail all postcards in support of an ideal democratic process in which all voices are heard and all voices are equal. 
Exhibition Name
Give a damn.
Exhibition Type
Group Exhibitions
Malloy Wing
Jun 30, 2018 - Sep 30, 2018
Give a damn. is curated by Mellon Collections Curator Rebecca McNamara.
Dawoud Bey, Syd Carpenter, H. Christoph, Alfredo de Batuc, Emory Douglas, Sam Durant, Jeffrey Gibson, Daniel Gonzalez, Nancy Grossman, Group Material, Ed Haun, Jane Irish, Corita Kent, Jack Lenahan, Leo Limón, Danny Lyon, Donald Moffett, Zanele Muholi, Catherine Opie, Michael Patterson-Carver, Lari Pittman, Wendy Red Star, Deborah Roberts, Self Help Graphics & Art, Stephen Shames, Laurie Simmons, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Rirkrit Tiravanija, Garry Winogrand, Allen Zak
Student Staff
Sophie Heath
Curatorial and Collections Assistant
Magden Gipe
Registrarial Assistant
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