Skip to Main Content

Social Justice Art: Cooperatives, Groups & Movements

The Adbusters Media Foundation is a Canadian-based not-for-profit, pro-environment  organization founded in 1989. As anti-capitalist or opposed to capitalism, it publishes the reader-supported, advertising-free Adbusters, an activist magazine devoted to challenging consumerism.
Excepted from "Adbusters" Wikipedia. BQP 28Oct2022

Conflict Kitchen
Conflict Kitchen is a restaurant that serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict. Each Conflict Kitchen iteration is augmented by events, performances, publications, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with the culture, politics, and issues at stake within the focus region. The restaurant rotates identities in relation to current geopolitical events.

General Idea
General Idea is the collective project of artists Jorge Zontal, AA Bronson, and Felix Partz. Between 1969 and 1994, the trio transformed their life together into a “living work of art,” which they presented in performances, objects, videos, and publications. In doing so, they forged a complicated theory about how visual forms operate in society, best summarized in their motto “image is virus.”

The Guerrilla Girls
The Guerrilla Girls are anonymous artist activists who use disruptive headlines, outrageous visuals and killer statistics to expose gender and ethnic bias and corruption in art, film, politics and pop culture. They believe in an intersectional feminism that fights for human rights for all people. We undermine the idea of a mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair. They have done hundreds of projects (street posters, banners, actions, books, and videos) all over the world.

The Social Justice Sewing Academy
Founded in 2017, the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) is a non-profit organization that aims to empower individuals to utilize textile art for personal transformation, community cohesion, and to begin the journey toward becoming an agent of social change.  

The Yes Men
The Yes Men are a culture jamming activist duo and network of supporters created by Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos. Through various actions, the Yes Men primarily aim to raise awareness about problematic social and political issues.


Brandalism and Subvertising

Brandalism (combination of 'brand' and 'vandalism') and Subvertising (combining 'subvert' and 'advertising') are anti-advertising movements that use creative activism to spoofs or parody corporate and political advertising.  The ads are spoofs or parodies of advertisements displayed in public areas or replacing/ altering actual ads.  Works may be a new image or an alteration to an existing image or icon, often in a satirical manner. 


Subvertising manual : what you need and how to do it.
[London] : Brandalism, [2018?]
Art Library, Limited Access Minis, N7433.4.B712 S83 2018  


Mail Art / Correspondence Art Movement

The longest lived, global, modern art movement that no one knows anything about, Mail Art is a community of artists worldwide, sharing art and ideas through government postal systems.  It is a readily available venue for artists that rcumvents the restrictions of the art world and government censorship.  Mail Art is an anti-consumerism, anti- bureaucratic, anti-hierarchic, anti-historicist, trans-national, global counterculture. The Oberlin College Mail Art Collection, housed in the Clarence Ward Art Library, contains an estimated 25,000 items by almost 1,900 artists from 70 countries.  

There are many mail artitsts speak out on social, environmental, human rights and other social concerns. For some, living under brutal dictatorships and heavy censorship, Mail Art was a vital link to the world, and art, outside.

Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Argentina

Pawel Petasz, Poland

Clemente Padin, Uruguay 

Justseeds Artists' Cooperative

A decentralized network of 41 artists committed to social, environmental, and political engagement. Working in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, Justseeds operates both as a unified collaboration of similarly minded printmakers and a loose collection of creative individuals with unique viewpoints and working methods. We believe in the transformative power of personal expression in concert with collective action. To this end, we produce collective porfolios, contribute graphics to grassroots struggles for justice, build large sculptural installations in galleries, and wheatpaste on the streets – all while offering each other daily support as allies and friends.  The Clarence Ward Art Library has several Justseeds portfolios; ask at the desk or set up an appointment:

1. Justseeds retrospective box set collection.   [Pittsburgh, PA]: Justseeds Artists' Cooperative, 2012. Art Library Flat: N7433.4 .A36 2012.      Images

2.  Iraq Veterans Against the War.  Celebrate people's history: Iraq Veterans Against the War: ten years of fighting for peace and justice.
Published by Brooklyn Artists Alliance (Brooklyn, NY);  Civilian-Soldier Alliance (No location given);  Iraq Veterans Against
the War (New York, NY);  Justseeds Artists' Cooperative (Pittsburgh, PA); Repetitive Press, (Toronto, Canada): 2014. Art Library Flat: N7433.38.A36 I73 2014       Images

3.  MacPhee, Josh. God Bless Graffiti Coalition box set. [Brooklyn, NY : God Bless Graffiti Coalition : Booklyn, Inc., 2018].  Art Library Flat: N7433.38.A36 M33 2018.     Images