Social Practice Art

Social Responsibility is a process, with the purpose to genuinely interact, to assist those less powerful. The arts have the potential to communicate, inform, and create an experience. Creative projects and programs are a foundation of engagement that educate and draw attention to social issues. Art assignments can teach ethics, empathy, and respect. Students involved in community and collaborative activities encourage an optimistic outlook for change. Expressive arts can positively influence our society through awareness and action.
Below is a growing directory of projects, artists, examples, film, and lessons devoted to social commentary. Central to the work are aspects made public, participatory, interactive, community-based, message-based, archiving our surroundings, produces beauty, and germinates the growth of constructive ideas.


One Million Bones
Aids Quilt
Clothesline Project
Keepers of the Water
The Green Museum
World Rivers Project
You Are Beauitful
Sharing Your Work
The Beehive Collective
Just Seeds
Projects by Candy Chang
Secret Message Child Abuse Billboards
Dig art
Social Issues in American Culture
Imagine Bus Project
Many Ways To See The Sun
Art For The People
Incredible Art 
Children and the Arts
International Child Art Foundation
Genius Olympiad
Mentoring Peace
Teacher Hub
Social Justice Art
Diversity Web
Emory EDU Ethics
Agakhan Acedemies
Getty Education

HOW DO ARTISTS ADDRESS SOCIAL ISSUES? Every person decides what to do with his or her power. The responsibility of art is first to be art. Artists define their own expression and practice. Intrinsically, art is part of a historical process that has been sensitive to current affairs, curious about the status quo, responsive to conflict. Whether political implications are intended or not, most art joins a discussion. Inherently, art is a powerful tool that wields influence and becomes social commentary.
Today, as we witness the fragility of our world and the globally problems we face, works of art can transcended barriers and provoke new perspective to bring forth change. Below are films about creative people through history whose art or lives, directly or indirectly, comment on issues of human rights, social justice, the environment, poverty, addiction, illness, disabilities or other human conditions.


Cady Noland
Franke James
Shepard Fairey
Kay Rosen
Jenny Holzer
Barbara Kruger
Sue Coe
Anna Boghiguian
Robert Montgomery
Kara Walk
Bruce Newman
Ed Ruscha
Luba Lukova
Yoonjin Lee

LUST FOR LIFE directed by George Cukor and Vincente Minnelli, 1956 biography
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
THE HORSE’S MOUTH directed by Ronald Neame, 1958 comedy
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
MODIGLIANI OF MONTPARNASSE directed by Jacques Becker and Max Ophüls, 1958 biography
THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY directed by Carol Reed, 1965 biography
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
THE HAND (RUKA) directed by Jiří Trnka, 1965 animation
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
ANDREI RUBLEV directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966 biography, Soviet Union
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
HUNGER (SULT) directed by Henning Carlsen, 1966 drama, Sweden
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES (SAYAT NOVA) directed by Sergei Parajanov, 1968 biography, Russia
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
F FOR FAKE (VÉRITÉS ET MENSONGES) directed by Orson Welles, 1973 documentary, France
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
EDVARD MUNCH directed by Peter Watkins, 1974 biography, Norway
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
CAMERA BUFF (AMATOR) directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1979 drama, Poland
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
THE DRAUGHTSMAN’S CONTRAC directed by Peter Greenaway, 1982 drama, United Kingdom
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
MY LEFT FOOT directed by Jim Sheridan, 1989 biography
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
VAN GOGH directed by Maurice Pialat, 1991 biography, France
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
BEATRICE WOOD: MAMA OF DADA directed by Tom Neff, 1993 documentary
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
CRUMB directed by Terry Zwigoff, 1994 documentary
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
BASQUIAT directed by Julian Schnabel, 1996 biography
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
ARTEMISIA directed by Agnès Merlet, 1997 biography, France
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
PRETTY AS A PICTURE: THE ART OF DAVID LYNCH directed by Toby Keeler, 1997 biography
IMDb Trailer
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT PBS directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, 1998 biography
IMDb Trailer
POLLOCK directed by Ed Harris, 2000 biography
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
RIVERS AND TIDES directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, 2001 biography
Wikipedia Rivers and Tides Website IMDb Trailer
FRIDA directed by Julie Taymor, 2002 biography
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
PAINTED FIRE (CHI-HWA-SEON) directed by Kwon-Taek Im, 2003 biography, Korea
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
JUNEBUG directed by Phil Morrison, 2005 drama
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
ANDY WARHOL PBS directed by Ric Burns, 2006 documentary
GOYA'S GHOSTS directed by Miloš Forman, 2006 biography, Spain
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS directed by Steven Shainberg, 2006 biography
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
ALICE NEEL directed by Andrew Neel, 2007 documentary
Wikipedia Alice Neel Website IMDb Trailer
CARAVAGGIO directed by Angelo Longoni, 2007 biography, Italy
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
SÉRAPHINE directed by Martin Provost, 2008 biography, France
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
WASTE LAND directed by Karen Harley, João Jardim and Lucy Walker, 2010 documentary, Brazil
Wikipedia Wasteland Website IMDb Trailer
GERHARD RICHTER PAINTING directed by Corinna Belz, 2011 documentary
Wikipedia Gerhard Richter Painting Website - IMDb Trailer
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORR directed by Alison Klayman, 2012 documentary
Wikipedia Never Sorry Website IMDb Trailer
BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING directed by Neil Berkeley, 2012 documentary
Beauty is Embarrassing Website IMDb Trailer
RENOIR directed by Gilles Bourdos, 2012 drama, France
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915 directed by Bruno Dumont, 2013 biography, France
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
BIG EYES directed by Tim Burton, 2014 biography
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
MR. TURNER directed by Mike Leigh, 2014 biography, United Kingdom
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
THE SALT OF THE EARTH directed by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders, 2014 biography, France
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
SURVIVING PICASSO directed by James Ivory, 1996
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer
Wikipedia IMDb Trailer