Shepard Fairey, Marilyn Minter, and other artists are putting out a barrage of election-themed art.
Artnet News, October 28, 2020
Kayla Mahaffey's graphic for When We All Vote initiative.
I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but there is a very important election coming up in the United States early next month. And the nation’s artists very, very much want you to know about it.
In the final weeks, creative get-out-the-vote efforts are shooting up to huge levels, with artists from Mark Bradford to Kara Walker to Shepard Fairey (so much Shepard Fairey!) pumping out posters, graphics, murals, and more, all to mobilize voters to get to the polls.
Some are straightforward pleas to vote. Some are deliberately targeted at swing states or specific demographics. Some seems fairly random (we’re not sure what’s going on with Tavares Strachen’s pro-Emperor Haile Selassie graphic as a 2020 GOTV message).
Here’s a guide to some of the most notable artistic voting messages, including links to sites where you can print out or purchase versions of them—there’s still time. Voting, meanwhile, has already begun.
Vote.org and a huge array of partner museums have come together for PlanYourVote.org, a get-out-the-vote initiative tapping a host of big name visual artists to create graphics. All are available as a public library of downloadable images online at the PlanYourVote website, which also features resources on how and where to vote.
Sanford Biggers for PlanYourVote.org.
Laurie Simmons for PlanYourVote.org.
Wangechi Mutu for PlanYourVote.org.
American Artist for PlanYourVote.org.
Robert Longo for PlanYourVote.org.
Sam Taylor Johnson for PlanYourVote.org.
Guerrilla Girls for PlanYourVote.org.
Image by Hank Willis Thomas/For Freedoms for PlanYourVote.org.
New York Magazine’s Artist-Designed Voting Stickers
With so many people casting their ballot by mail this year, New York mag had the idea to reimagine the “I Voted” sticker you get when in-person voting. In partnership with Iamavoter.com, a non-partisan movement/line of merch, the magazine tapped some 48 artists to make their own spin on the stickers. The results, displayed on four different covers for their October 26 issue, include works from the likes of Shepard Fairey, Amy Sherald, David Hammons, KAWS, and many more.
New York magazine cover with artworks by Derrick Adams, Katherine Bernhardt, Bisa Butler, Tawny Chatmon, Nancy Chunn, Alfred Conteh, Ashley Dreyfus, Shepard Fairey, Baron von Fancy, Zaria Forman, Julian Gaines, and Rico Gatson.
New York magazine cover with artworks by David Hammons, Votan Henriquez, Deborah Kass & Pulp Ink., KAWS, Christine Sun Kim, Yashua Klos, Barbara Kruger, Adam J. Kurtz, Sean Landers, Glenn Ligon, Yeni Mao, Jennifer Kinon & Bobby C. Martin Jr.
New York magazine cover with artworks by Shantell Martin, Shaina McCoy, Julie Mehretu, Duane Michals, Marilyn Minter, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Peter Paid, José Parlá, Adam Pendleton, Stephen Powers, Duke Riley, and Deborah Roberts.
W Magazine’s “New Kind of Political Poster“
Throwing its very stylish hat into the ring, fashion magazine W worked with 18 artists of color for election-themed images that, it writes, offer “a unique distillation of our current moment.” All are available to be printed out as posters from the W site for your display—though some are more abstract in concept than others, and you might need to explain what specifically they have to do with the election to a neighbor.
Kara Walker, The Territorial Treadmill for W magazine.
Mark Bradford, 2020 © Mark Bradford, Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Mark Bradford.
Charles Gaines for W magazine. © Charles Gaines, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.
Jacolby Satterwhite, American Dream for W magazine.
Tavares Strachan for W magazine.
Shahzia Sikander for W magazine.
Downtown for Democracy’s “Vote Him Out” Initiative
The political action committee known as Downtown for Democracy (or D4D) is out to unseat Trump by funding “targeted digital media by renowned female creators.” Most notably, it has created this spot titled MY VOTE, conceived by painter Marilyn Minter and starring Aquaman actress Amber Heard.
Mana Urban Arts Initiative’s Project 270
Project 270 is a street art, poster, and billboard campaign intended to excite torpid millennials about voting via the magic of street art. It has commissioned 50 state-specific works, plus works in Puerto Rico and DC. Again, all are available online.
Bob Faust & Nick Cave for Project 270.
Edgar Heap of Birds for Project 270.
Lady Pink for Project 270.
Chor Boogie for Project 270.
Ron English for Project 270
Maya Hayuk for Project 270.
“Artists Band Together”
As an unconventional GOTV initiative for an era of plague and protest, 15 blue-chip artists have created special, extra-stylish election-themed bandannas. You can buy your favorites or collect the whole set via Ebay for Charity, with proceeds going to voter-registration organizations Rise, Mijente, and Woke Vote.
Shepard Fairey’s scarf for Artists Band Together.
Jenny Holzer’s scarf for Artists Band Together.
Juliana Huxtable’s scarf for Artists Band Together.
Luchita Hurtado’s scarf from Artists Band Together.
Alex Israel’s scarf for Artists Band Together.
Rirkrit Tiravanija’s scarf for Artists Band Together.
Barbara Kruger’s scarf for Artists Band Together.
When We All Vote x Goldman Global Arts
Michelle Obama’s voting organization, When We All Vote, has teamed with Goldman Global Arts, which does the Wynwood Walls mural farm in Miami and the Houston Bowery Wall in New York City. The result is get-out-the-vote-themed artworks by street artists that are spotlighted on “digital murals” at stadiums from Cleveland to Miami as well as in Times Square.
Buff Monster for When We All Vote.
Kayla Mahaffey for When We All Vote.
HUEMAN for When We All Vote.
Greg Mike for When We All Vote.
Aside from general GOTV messages, there seems to be far, far, far more anti-Trump messaging than pro-Biden messaging. Case in point: “Remember What They Did,” a national campaign targeting “African American, Latinx, and young voter neighborhoods.” It has focused on funding billboards by Shepard Fairey, Swoon, and more, each reminding the public of one of the many outrages of the last four years.
Here’s Fairey’s billboard in Cleveland:
Claudio Martinez’s billboard in Cleveland:
Swoon’s billboard in Detroit:
Justin Hampton’s billboard in Youngstown, Ohio
Robert Russell’s posters in Pittsburgh: