[expositie] Sue Coe – Cruel

Sue Coe: Cruel
by Jessica Rosen

Sue Coe is known for using her graphic illustrations to fight for social justice, specifically addressing sexism, racism, economic inequality, xenophobia, and animal cruelty, as well as advocating for the rights of marginalized people. Coe was born in 1951 in England, and raised near a slaughterhouse. Witnessing the violence of the slaughterhouse instilled in her a passion for animal rights and activism, which has defined her career as an artist and author. She studied at the Chelsea College of Arts and Royal College of Art in London, and then moved to the United States in 1972 with only $100 in her pocket. Coe worked as an illustrator for many publications, including The New York Times, The Nation, Rolling Stone, and many others. However, Coe became frustrated with the corporatization of the publishing industry and began to create her most provocative work independently. 

Coe’s work responds to current events and calls her audiences to action. Coe works in multiple mediums, including both drawing and printmaking. Her bold graphics are typically black-and-white, occasionally featuring striking red, and often include words and symbols that allow them to be easily interpreted. Coe refuses to shy away from topics that many turn a blind eye to, addressing topics such as AIDS, prison conditions, and police brutality. Coe is determined to highlight the brutal conditions that capitalism generates and the unequal statuses of its citizens, as well as motivate her audience to to engage in activism and social justice causes.