"An old sailor snapped in Jackson Square, New Orleans"|
by photographer Ben Shahn (1898-1969). For United States Resettlement Administration.
Some of the best known of these communist supporting artists were Alice Neel, Stuart Davis and Ben Shahn. These artists, and others, often created art in the service of the cause of communism and the Communist Party, USA.
The ideology of communism preached that art needed to be freed from its formalist “bourgeois decadence.” Nevertheless, as a codeword for cubism, “formalism” still found its way into the work of these artists, in particular, Neel and Davis. These artists never completely sacrificed their artistic intelligence on the altar of political didacticism. To a lesser extent this was also true of their fellow artists, who are much less known.
The works of about twenty of these artists are now on display, including Neel, Davis and Shahn, at a new exhibition entitled “You Say You Want a Revolution: American Artists and the Communist Party,” at the Galerie St. Etienne, which takes a little explored look at this troubled time in history.
The Galerie St. Etienne is located at 24 West 57th Street. Entrance is free. 11am-5pm every Tuesday-Saturday until February 11, 2017.