In the East Village in the early 1980s, the British-American artist Sue Coe showed some of the strongest political art of the day, and in the most traditional of media: figurative painting, drawing and printmaking stretching back in its influences to Käthe Kollwitz, José Guadalupe Posada and Chittaprosad Bhattacharya. In such work, reportage, advocacy and emotion are never far apart. And propelling themes — in Ms. Coe’s case, racism, war, capitalism and violence against all animals, including humans — are never in doubt.

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