All art is political in the sense that it engages society in some way, either influencing or influenced by it. But some works speak more directly to concerns relating to human rights, corruption, the distribution of class, wealth or power—not every artist is moved by beauty. At times, these more political works are lacking of the awareness of political directives but cause a stir. Or perhaps a work is directly aimed at a political cause, an endorsement, or message. Then again, the medium or risk of a particular artwork can be political as well, directly or subversively. If this all sounds convoluted, it is—but that’s indicative of this culturally confusing time we live in. Not to worry. We’ve parsed out The 50 Most Political Art Pieces of the Past 10 Years from our favorite artist-activists. Paint is power!

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