If I Had A Hammer


The catalogue of The FotoFest Biennial 2022 central exhibition, If I Had a Hammer, which will take place in Houston on September 24-November 6.


ISBN: 9789053309568 Category:

FotoFest International


The FotoFest Biennial 2022 central exhibition, If I Had a Hammer, considers the ways artists utilize images to unpack the ideological underpinnings that inspire collective cultural movements around the globe. Together, the twenty-three included artists propose alternative techniques of seeing and engaging with the world, working with both conventional and new media to shed light on the systems that encourage social theories and political imaginaries to become dogma at the click of a shutter or tap of a button.

The exhibition borrows its title from Pete Seegar and Lee Hays’s 1949 protest song of the same name, which was written as a response to growing ideological divides and violence against progressive artists and thinkers in the U.S. during the era of Red Scare McCarthyism. Throughout this period, artists, activists, authors, and musicians, including Seegar and Hays, were made to testify in broadcasted congressional hearings and defend their right to free speech and protest. This exhibition uses the historical context within which “If I Had a Hammer” was written as a starting point to explore how those who assert ideological supremacy often do so by employing the very tools used by the communities and individuals they hope to suppress. They use the tools of discursive circulation: broadcast media, text, song, art, and images.

Additional information

Weight 1054 g
Dimensions 17.5 x 24.6 cm
Publisher name Schilt Publishing
Publication date 27 January 2023
Number of pages 296
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Steven Evans, Max Fields, and Amy Sadao
Dimensions 17.5 x 24.6 cm
Weight 1054 g


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FotoFest is a Houston-based contemporary arts organization co-founded by photojournalists Fredrick Baldwin and Wendy Watriss. FotoFest is dedicated to advancing photography and visual culture through the presentation of exhibitions, public programs, and publications. The examination of social, cultural, and political histories and contemporary life through the lens of photography and related media is central to FotoFest's mission. In addition to the organization's year-round programming, FotoFest organizes a city-wide biennial project in the form of large-scale central exhibitions, curated lectures, performances, a symposium, and film programs. The organization also hosts several professional development programs, including annually-held Meeting Place Portfolio Reviews, which host over 400 artists and 150 professionals working in the field of art and photography. Through its Literacy Through Photography program, FotoFest organizes K-12 classroom-based learning projects designed to encourage creativity and strengthen student writing, comprehension, and expression, reaching thousands of students. A platform for art and ideas since 1983, FotoFest is committed to promoting lasting international dialogue, cultural exchange, scholarship, and community enrichment by working with artists, audiences, academics, curators, and influential figures in art, culture, and society.