Social Realism


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Social Realism is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts social and racial injustice, economic hardship, through unvarnished pictures of life's struggles.

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Social Realism

  1. 1. Social Realism(1930’s-1960’s)<br />Presented by:<br />Victor Hicks & Erin Spencer<br />
  2. 2. What is Social Realism?<br />Definition: the movement that depicts social and racial injustice, economic hardship, through pictures of life struggles.<br />Prominent during Great Depression (1930’s)<br />Working class looked at as heroes<br />
  3. 3. Theme/Style<br />Theme: struggling, working class, everyday life poverty, and these emotions<br />Style:<br />Photography<br />Dorothea Lange<br />Walker Evans<br />Paintings (American scene paintings)<br />Murals by Rivera & Orozco<br />Portraits by Ben Shahn and Soyer Brothers<br />
  4. 4. Influences on Social Realism<br />Great Depression<br />Mexican Revolution<br />Industrial Revolution<br />American Gothic (Icon)<br />
  5. 5. Great Depression and the Mexican Revolution (1930’s)<br />Inspiration for most social realist works, especially in the U.S.<br />Social realism is seen as a form of social protest during the great depression<br />Government funded New Deal organizations hired many artists<br />Mexican Revolution was a revolt of the middle class<br />Turned into a very chaotic and politically charged time in Mexican history<br />
  6. 6. Industrial Revolution<br />Urban centers grow<br />The difference between lower and upper class grows<br />This allowed social realism to focus on the harsh realities of modern life and portray the working class<br />Social realism portrayed this in a detached and honest manner<br />
  7. 7. American Gothic (Icon)<br />Grant Wood (1931)<br />Part of Regionalism, considered icon for Social Realism paintings<br />Traditional roles of men and women<br />Colonial style dress & typical rural home<br />Gothic theme (pitchforks)<br />Symbolized hard work & intelligence in the working class<br />
  8. 8. Grant Wood – American Gothic (1930)<br />
  9. 9. Grant Wood’s Sister and his Dentist<br />
  10. 10. Connected Movements<br />Regionalism<br />Idealism<br />
  11. 11. Regionalism<br />Coexisted as another main art movement with social realism.<br />Major artists include Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry<br />“Artists should paint out of the land and people he knows best” – Wood<br />Painted local scenes while capturing universal significance of the subject.<br />Social realism holds more lasting influence<br />
  12. 12. Thomas Hart Benton—Ballad of the Jealous Lover (1934)<br />
  13. 13. Social Realism v. Idealism<br />Developed as a response to Idealistic thought, beliefs<br />Idealism: experience is ultimately based on mental activity<br />Focused more on perfection, excellence<br />Social Realist artists focused on:<br />Struggle, poverty<br />Working class<br />Everyday life<br />
  14. 14. Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive – William F. Buckley, Jr.<br />
  15. 15. Photography<br />Dorothea Lange<br />Walker Evans<br />
  16. 16. Dorothea Lange<br />Profoundly influenced the development of photography<br />Polio as child, compassion for those who were suffering, poverty<br />Her talent was that she was always in the right place at the right time<br />General themes (no date, time, or location)<br />Quote: You know there are movements such as these, when time stands still, and all you do is hold your breathe and hope it will wait for you.<br />
  17. 17. Dorothea Lange – Migrant Mother (1936)<br />
  18. 18. Florence Thompson and her Family<br />
  19. 19. Dorothea Lange – White Angel Breadline (1933)<br />
  20. 20. Walker Evans<br />“Fine photography is literature, and it should be.”<br />Went to school to try and become a writer<br />Photos reflect his literary background<br />Hired by the WPA during the Depression <br />Photography is pure record, not propaganda with no politics whatsoever<br />Biggest work includes photographing tenant farmers during the depression<br />
  21. 21. Walker Evans—Tenant Farmers Wife (1936)<br />
  22. 22. Walker Evans—Easton Pennsylvania (1935)<br />
  23. 23. Mexican Muralist Movement<br />Diego Rivera<br />José Orozco<br />
  24. 24. Diego Rivera<br />Gifted & curious as a little boy, learned to read/write @ age 4<br />Dad helped him learn to paint (artistic)<br />Mexico’s similarities to Detroit<br />Helped ppl see genius in engineering & portrayed working class as heroes<br />Fresco process<br />Integrated working class, religion and race into his murals<br />(1932) Painted Detroit Industry Murals<br />
  25. 25. Diego Rivera – South Wall of Detroit Industry (1932)<br />
  26. 26. Diego Rivera – North Wall of Detroit Industry (1932)<br />
  27. 27. José Orozco<br />Inspired by the Mexican revolution and political turmoil in Mexico<br />Wanted to show gaps between social ideals and reality<br />Had belief that historical events run in a never ending repeating circle<br />Emphasis on nationalist themes not universal<br />
  28. 28. José Orozco—House of Tears (1916)<br />
  29. 29. José Orozco—Catharsis (1934)<br />
  30. 30. Ben Shahn<br />Believed art was “one of the last remaining outposts of free speech”<br />commissioned by the FSA to paint the Jersey homestead murals<br />Work often inspired by news reports<br />Expression of Jewish experience in America<br />Did some photography for the government during the depression era<br />Helped Rivera with Man at the Crossroads<br />
  31. 31. Ben Shahn—Jersey Homesteads (1937)<br />
  32. 32. Ben Shahn—Scotts Run, West Virginia (1937)<br />
  33. 33. Moses Soyer<br />Aschan School of Art<br />Learned about “realistic, unglamorous” representations of everyday life<br />Early in career: murals<br />During G. D. he was asked to paint murals for WPA Art Project (New Deal)<br />After WWII, focused on female figures & ballet dancers<br />Not a follower of A. E.<br />
  34. 34. Moses Soyer—Seven Dancers (1941)<br />
  35. 35. Raphael Soyer<br />Art Students League (Charles Daniel)<br />Joined brother in WPA Arts Project<br />Champion social justice<br />Changed from urban environment to interior scenes (women)<br />Taught class @ ASL , working with oil and lithography<br />Lithography: low, cost method of printing using lime stones or metal plates<br />
  36. 36. Raphael Soyer—My Friends (1948)<br />