Art in North America Several different movements were sweeping through North America before and after WWI, leading up to WWII: 1. The Ashcan School (The Eight) (George Bellows) 2. American Regionalism (Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper) 3. American Modernism (Georgia O’Keeffe) 4. Mexican Socialism (Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo)
American Regionalism • The American Regionalist movement began in the late 1920's and continued through the Great Depression. • Artists of this period relied heavily on government work programs. The most famous of these is the Works Projects Administration or WPA: Created a variety of large scale projects and employed Americans throughout the years of the Great Depression. Federal Art Project also ran from 1935 – 1943. FAP artists received the famous salary of $23.86 per week at a time when a Woolworth's clerk earned $11 per week Spoke of the importance of Art to the United States • Artists focused on depicting rural subject matter, often described as the “Heart of America.” • Painters from the time include Grant Wood, Edward Hopper, and Thomas Hart Benton.
Grant WoodAmerican Gothic1930 “I realized that all the really good ideas I ever had came to me when I was milking a cow. So I went back to Iowa.” Grant Wood
Thomas Hart Benton The Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley 1934
Dorthea Lange Migrant Mother1936 "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."
American Modernism • Gallery 291, opened in part by Alfred Stieglitz in 1905, served as the center point of Modern and avant-garde exhibitions. • Exhibited many of the greatest European modernists: Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Braque, and many more… • The Armory Show in 1913 split open the American conception of art, creating great controversy. 75,000 people attended the exhibition in NY, 200,000 in Chicago.
Georgia O’Keeffe Radiator Building Night, New York 1927
Mexican Socialism In 1920, the Mexican government decided that public works of art should play an important role in restoring a nation tattered by civil war. Abandoned the solemn and detached art of Europe and instead embraced bold New World imagery full of color and human activity in a “muralist movement”. In spite of her preference for personal rather than overtly political themes, Frida Kahlo’s work formed a central part of the Mexican Renaissance in its employment of native Mexican elements.