Beehive Design Collective presentation All Ages Free

When: Thu., Nov. 13, 7 p.m. 2008

It’s hard to imagine a time before political fine art went conceptual and political cartoons went to crap, but visual social critique has a grand history. The ghastly morality tales in Hieronymus Bosch’s Reformation altarpieces were followed by the Enlightenment allegories of William Hogarth and Honore Daumier and eventually by the unflinching starkness of Art Young’s Depression-era cartoons and murals by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and countless others. Maine’s Beehive Design Collective has been keeping the torch of direct social pedagogy blazing since 2000. Its community-based approach has led not to sterile social-realist propaganda but to mind-blowing political art teeming with meticulous, unapologetically didactic images overflowing with exposition. In a couple of local presentations this week, Beehive members will unpack the enormous, densely detailed poster they’ve created on the issue of coal mining via mountaintop removal, a form of environmental devastation that’s leveling a great deal of Appalachia (November 14 and 15 are National Days of Action Against Coal and Coal Finance). If you see one Power Point presentation this year, this should be it. —Bert Stabler

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