Installation view of Sue Coe: Graphic Resistance on view at MoMA PS1 through September 3, 2018. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo by Matthew Septimus.
  • MoMA PS1

Since the 1970s, Sue Coe (British and American, b. 1951) has worked at the juncture of art and activism to expose injustices and abuses of power. Protesting various forms of exploitation and violence, she tackles issues of sexism, racism, economic inequality, xenophobia, and animal cruelty. Graphic Resistance highlights these concerns in a selection of drawings, prints, and large-scale collages, as well as illustrations that Coe produced for newspaper opinion pages.

Art’s persuasive power has long been understood by rulers and rebels alike. Situated in a lineage of socially-engaged artists from Francisco Goya and Käthe Kollwitz to Leon Golub, Coe harnesses this capacity in works that depict suffering to call her audiences to action. She challenges complacency by spotlighting subjects that are typically relegated to the margins of attention, demanding that the vulnerabilities she pictures be not simply seen, but felt. “Neutrality,” she has stated, is “no longer a position we can afford.”

The trajectory of Coe’s practice, which responds to current events, doubles as a history of sociopolitical issues and activist causes. The exhibition traces some of her concerns, beginning with a selection of works from the 1980s that address the societal and environmental effects of Reagan-era free market economic policy and social conservatism. It follows Coe’s concurrent advocacy for animal rights and passionate fight against industrialized slaughter—which remain among her primary targets today—and includes works that confront the first Gulf War, the devastations of Hurricane Katrina, and escalating xenophobia in recent politics.

Sue Coe: Graphic Resistance is organized by Peter Eleey, Chief Curator, with Josephine Graf, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1.

The exhibition is made possible by Lawrence B. Benenson.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.