Pub. Date:
University of California Press
Radical Art: Printmaking and the Left in 1930s New York / Edition 1

Radical Art: Printmaking and the Left in 1930s New York / Edition 1

by Helen Langa


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During the 1930s, the era of the Depression and the New Deal, American artists transformed printmaking into one of the decade's most exciting forms of art. As a cheap, vital, and egalitarian means of artistic expression, prints came close to realizing the ideal of creating "art for the millions."
In this dynamic book, Helen Langa shows how innovative printmakers developed "social viewpoint" works that focused on contemporary issues of labor justice, antiracism, and antifascist activism. Discussing artists such as Aaron Douglas, Mabel Dwight, Boris Gorelick, Harry Gottlieb, Elizabeth Olds, Harry Sternberg, Joseph Vogel, and Hale Woodruff, Langa explains how they developed new types of meaningful content, worked in modern, yet accessible, styles, invented new technical processes, and sought fresh strategies for distributing their work to the public. Many, but not all, of the artists she considers worked for the Federal Art Project at the Graphic Arts Division workshop; each struggled to resolve the conflicting goals of reaching a mass audience while also critiquing social injustice and promoting radical idealism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520231559
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 03/25/2004
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Helen Langa is Associate Professor of Art History at American University.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Social Viewpoint Prints, Cultural Democracy, and Leftist Politics

I. "Art for the Millions": Printmaking in New York in the 1930s
II. Modern Styles, Radical Themes
III. Imag(in)ing Labor: Fine Prints and Their Historical Contexts
IV. Protesting Societal
Injustice: Antiracism in 1930s Prints
V. Horror and Outrage: Printmakers against War and Fascism
VI. Transient Opportunities: Cultural Politics and Social Viewpoint Prints

Appendix: Brief Biographies of the Artists
Selected Bibliography
List of Illustrations


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