168-1 Ars Politica

The Lively Politics of 1930s Art

At In These Times, Alex McLeese writes:

During the Cold War, much of the political art of the 1930s was overlooked, overshadowed by other artistic movements like Abstract Expressionism. Now, however, the period is receiving more attention.

The Art Institute of Chicago is showing America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s. The exhibition, which includes 53 paintings, is advertised as featuring Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe and Grant Wood. Audiences will also encounter less well-known artists, some of whom made strong political statements.

While not all of the exhibit’s paintings engage directly with the era’s pressing social issues, much of America after the Fall reminds us of the power of political art. Although some art historians In These Times spoke with wished the exhibit included more background on the period’s radical politics, the show does the public service of inviting the viewer to look at past — and present — political art anew. After the show’s run at the Art Institute, which ends on Sunday, the show will travel to the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris and to London’s Royal Academy.



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Chicago Democratic Socialists of America

The Chicago Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, 3411 W. Diversey, Suite 7, Chicago, IL 60647

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