Social RealismJESSIKA ANDERSON ANNIE PERKINS JORDAN BAER
Introduction Focused on the reality of the life of the working class and the poor. Aimed at social change. Defined primary by the message and political meaning, not style.
Introduction Real life images. Can be in the form of paintings or photography. Usually painted in a naturalistic, descriptive style. Typically convey a message of social or political protest.
Major Artists Dorothea Lange Grant Wood Ben Shahn Jacob Lawrence
Dorothea Lange Photographer Most famous image was Migrant Mother. During World War Two she documented the interment of Japanese Americans in camps. Focused on women and minority groups at work in shipyards.
Dorothea Lange Her work reflects insight, compassion, and empathy for her subjects. Documented the suffering of the dispossessed in breadlines and labor strikes. Worked for the Farm Security Administration as a part of a team who documented the impact of federal programs in improving rural conditions.
Grant Wood Most famous painting is “American Gothic”. Drew pictures of things and people that he knew. His paintings show the love that he had for people and the customs of Midwestern united states.
Grant Wood During the depression, people liked to look at his paintings to make themselves feel better. Started an art colony and designed one of the largest stained glass windows ever. Paintings had a fairytale look about them.
Ben Shahn Immigrated here from Lithuania in 1906. Developed a keen sense of observation. He witnessed many social problems and experienced some himself because he was Jewish. Assistant of Diego Rivera.
Ben Shahn Held strong socialist views. Often inspired by news reports. Joined the Public Works of Art project and completed many murals that dealt with anti- semitism and working conditions. Produced pictures for the office of war information and the congress of industrial organizations.
Jacob Lawrence Favored abstract models of expression. Depicted the African American experience. Images reflect his keen observation of the sights and sounds of Harlem. Used simplified forms, patterns, repetition, and bold color to express mood and meaning.
Origin Ashcan School Painters- American realist painters based in New York City. Depression Era- artists began to grapple more with jobs, poverty, political corruption, injustice, labor management, and conflict. Closely related to American scene painting and regionalism styles.
Background Dates back to the Realist movement in French art during the mid-1800s. Many early artists were painters with socialist political views. Not an official art and allows room for subjectivity. Socialist realism is a specific branch of social realism.
Background Expresses emotion The movement occurs during the Great Depression. Focus of the artist is to show the working class as heroes. Artists pledged to fight the beautiful art, which was anything that appealed to the eye.
Influences Great Depression Mexican Revolution Industrial Revolution- urban cities grow and class distinction. Developed as a reaction against idealism and the exaggerated ego created by Romantism.
Influences Realism- style painting that depicts the actuality of what they eyes can see. Imagery appears in magazine advertisements and children books. Eventually falls out of favor as more edgy art styles take over.
Continued Themes Allows political message Social Realism movies such as “Dead End”. (East side of Manhattan living in mansions while the poor people live in the streets below). Discards superstition and mysticism.
Purpose Aimed at social change. Ways to deal with social problems and all of the suffering occurring during the time. Highlight social problems and attack social injustices within the American society.
Purpose Display the plights of laborers and disenfranchised individuals. Inspired Americans to reflect on their heritage of revolution, hard work, and religion. Attempt to bring back prosperity.
Recognition Associated with the hard edged muscular forms popularized by Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. Most common in big cities such as New York, Detroit, and Chicago. Many artists adopted elements from the work of the Mexican muralists.
Theme/Style Depicts social issues. Struggling social class Everyday life Poverty Emotions
Connected Movements Regionalism- A realist modern art movement where artists shunned the city to focus on the scenes of rural life. Cannot be confused with the Russian Socialists Realism movement. Some artists fall under the category of both social realism and regionalism.
Connected Movements The works the stress local and small town themes are American Regionalism. Those depicting urban scenes are social realism.
Public Reactions Outraged because they did not know how to look at it or what to do with it. Created a new sense of social awareness.
Summary Focuses on the ugly realities of contemporary life and sympathized with working class people and the poor. Response to the desperate economic and social conditions. An accurate depiction of reality.