Feature Themes MMoCA Collects

Social Commentary

José Clemente OrozcoThe Rear Guard / Retaguardia, lithograph, 1929.


Art as social commentary is a major theme in modern and contemporary art. The artist assumes the roles of reporter and analyst in an exploration of the nature of society. Subjects range from momentous historical events to everyday activities. Always at stake is the artist's wish to uncover the workings of society and draw conclusions for understanding it more effectively. Art that falls within this theme is often critical of political structures seen as harmful, but it also celebrates the achievements of human communities and can poeticize everyday life. Its ultimate ideals are to preserve what is good and to condemn what is threatening in hope of a better society.