Art for the Masses: A Radical Magazine and Its Graphics, 1911-1917

Rebecca Zurier, Author, Leslie Fishbein, Designed by
Rebecca Zurier, Author, Leslie Fishbein, Designed by Temple University Press $29.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-87722-513-3
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
As the preeminent left-wing American magazine in the years before WW I, the Masses was not only a forum for writers (John Reed, Carl Sandburg, Sherwood Anderson, Walter Lippmann), but also a ``museum without walls.'' Drawings and cartoons by Ashcan School realistsGeorge Bellows, John Sloan, Robert Henri, etc.vented moral outrage over war, the abyss between rich and poor, slums and bad working conditions. Artists such as Pablo Picasso and Arthur B. Davies occasionally contributed apolitical sketches. But the standouts in this intriguingly illustrated study are political cartoonists like Robert Minor and Maurice Becker whose timeless protest images, blazing with raw power, would enliven the pages of any newspaper editorial page today. As for feminism, the Masses never went beyond the gentle satires of Cornelia Barns; and Stuart Davis's caricatures marred by overt racial stereotypes are offensive. But overall, this album documenting a 1985-86 Yale University exhibition is a wellspring of inspiration for activists and artists. (August)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!