Institutionalizing Protest Art: Agitprop and OFF-Biennále Budapest

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Social Practice Art in Turbulent Times: The Revolution Will Be Live


Over the last decade, an increasing number of art institutions worldwide have showcased exhibitions of protest art. In 2016, the globally ambitious exhibition Agitprop at the Brooklyn Museum offered a look back at the early twentieth-century struggle for social justice in Europe and the United States. Across the Atlantic, the OFF-Biennale Budapest was inaugurated in 2015 as a curatorial initiative to combat the stronghold of the current Hungarian national conservative government by refusing any support or affiliation with governmental offices and organizations. Using these examples, this chapter seeks to explore what constitutes activist art in specific cultural, social, and political contexts, and whether exhibitions in museums and art institutions provide a valid platform for furthering the activist causes underlying socially and politically committed art practices.