Ben Shahn: New Deal Artist in a Cold War Climate, 1947-1954 (American Studies)

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9780292755383: Ben Shahn: New Deal Artist in a Cold War Climate, 1947-1954 (American Studies)

In the first, most intense years of the Cold War (1947–1954), New Deal liberals often found themselves in great disfavor. Ben Shahn's experience presents something of a paradox, however, since his paintings appealed in different ways to both liberals and conservatives. Blacklisted by CBS during the McCarthy era and yet, ironically, incorporated into presidential "campaigns of truth" aimed at improving the U.S. image abroad, Ben Shahn is a pivotal figure, revealing the complexities and contradictions inherent in this highly polarized moment in American history.

In this pathbreaking study, Frances Pohl traces the political and artistic struggles Ben Shahn became embroiled in as he tried to remain a socially concerned artist during the early Cold War period. She shows how he rejected the argument, voiced by many Abstract Expressionists, that art and politics should not mix, yet at the same time searched for a way to depict, in universal and allegorical terms, the broad human condition rather than simply specific instances of injustice. Perhaps most important, she makes critical connections between U.S. social and political history and the art it provoked, thus illuminating both the later career of Ben Shahn and the Cold War era in American cultural history.

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About the Author:

Frances K. Pohl is Dr. Mary Ann Vanderzyl Reynolds Professor of Humanities and Professor of Art History at Pomona College.

From Library Journal:

This record of Shahn's life and work during a period of anti-Communist hysteria and near paranoia in America is a document of commitment and concern that unites the social, political, and artistic events of a decade. The "credo of socially relevant content, recognizable form and active political engagement," reflecting the optimism of the New Deal, remained an essential part of the artist's life throughout the Cold War's atmosphere of repression and isolationism. Investigated and blacklisted, Shahn remained popular with groups at both ends of the spectrum, representing American art abroad and appealing both to labor organizations and big business collectors. A well-documented work that treats the artist as social critic and art as social action.
- Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum Lib., New York
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description University of Texas Press, United States, 1989. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the first, most intense years of the Cold War (1947-1954), New Deal liberals often found themselves in great disfavor. Ben Shahn s experience presents something of a paradox, however, since his paintings appealed in different ways to both liberals and conservatives. Blacklisted by CBS during the McCarthy era and yet, ironically, incorporated into presidential campaigns of truth aimed at improving the U.S. image abroad, Ben Shahn is a pivotal figure, revealing the complexities and contradictions inherent in this highly polarized moment in American history. In this pathbreaking study, Frances Pohl traces the political and artistic struggles Ben Shahn became embroiled in as he tried to remain a socially concerned artist during the early Cold War period. She shows how he rejected the argument, voiced by many Abstract Expressionists, that art and politics should not mix, yet at the same time searched for a way to depict, in universal and allegorical terms, the broad human condition rather than simply specific instances of injustice. Perhaps most important, she makes critical connections between U.S. social and political history and the art it provoked, thus illuminating both the later career of Ben Shahn and the Cold War era in American cultural history. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780292755383

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Frances K. Pohl
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Book Description University of Texas Press, United States, 1989. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the first, most intense years of the Cold War (1947-1954), New Deal liberals often found themselves in great disfavor. Ben Shahn s experience presents something of a paradox, however, since his paintings appealed in different ways to both liberals and conservatives. Blacklisted by CBS during the McCarthy era and yet, ironically, incorporated into presidential campaigns of truth aimed at improving the U.S. image abroad, Ben Shahn is a pivotal figure, revealing the complexities and contradictions inherent in this highly polarized moment in American history. In this pathbreaking study, Frances Pohl traces the political and artistic struggles Ben Shahn became embroiled in as he tried to remain a socially concerned artist during the early Cold War period. She shows how he rejected the argument, voiced by many Abstract Expressionists, that art and politics should not mix, yet at the same time searched for a way to depict, in universal and allegorical terms, the broad human condition rather than simply specific instances of injustice. Perhaps most important, she makes critical connections between U.S. social and political history and the art it provoked, thus illuminating both the later career of Ben Shahn and the Cold War era in American cultural history. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780292755383

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