British artist Sue Coe is well known for her social and political paintings and illustrations, which appear regularly in such publications as the New York Times
and the New Yorker
. Her latest effort is the disturbing book Dead Meat
, a visual record of Coe's visits to 40 slaughterhouses, cattle ranches, and hatcheries to document the grisly practices of the meat-packing industry. Although she was not allowed to photograph on the premises, she was permitted to draw and sketch, and much of this work is jarringly graphic. Incorporated with the artwork are her thoughts and observations laid out in diary form. Even if you don't agree with Coe's politics, this is social and political art at its most powerful, in the tradition of Goya, Daumier, and Rockwell Kent.
From Publishers Weekly
Political artist Coe spent years visiting slaughterhouses and meat farms in the U.S., Canada and England, all the while drawing and writing about what she saw. The result is a fascinating and revealing portrait of the institutions behind the meat we eat. Coe's illustrations, which appear regularly in such publications as the New York Times and the New Yorker, have the sharply lined, affecting realism of a Diego Rivera mural. Her first-person account is matter-of-fact, thoughtful and engaging. Coe's book is political, and she clearly hopes it will make readers think twice about what they put into their mouths, but she does not preach and is unafraid to confront her own complicity: "Every dollar I get drips with blood too," she writes. Her empathetic rendering of the workers she encounters is reminiscent of Studs Terkel at his best, and the parallels she draws between society's treatment of meat animals and its working classes are disturbing and convincing. Cockburn's introductory essay traces the history of the meat industry with his customary shrewd sociopolitical insight, but without falling into polemics. Dead Meat will appeal not just to those interested in animal rights, but to anyone who cares about how society functions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.