Rosenbergs: Collected Visions of Artists and Writers

Rob A. Okun, Other Universe Publishing(NY) $27.5 (160p) ISBN 978-0-87663-543-8
A catalogue for a traveling exhibition, this assemblage of paintings, sculpture and writings from the last several decades is, in effect, a documentary in art of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who were executed in 1953 for espionage, and of the dangers of the paranoia that Joseph McCarthy and others inspired during that decade. For the most part, the works depict the brutality of the executions and suggest that the Rosenbergs were scapegoats or martyrs. Disappointingly, many of the paintings are rendered in a style where jumbles of visual rhetoric combine with crude brush strokes for a jarring effect; the art loses its surprise through repetition of images. Okun, publisher of Workplace Democracy magazine, also includes a few pieces, like Fernand Leger's silk screen Liberty, Peace, Solidarity and Allen Ginsberg's stormy poem ``Television Was a Baby Crawling Toward That Deathchamber,'' that speak eloquently and capture the incredulity surrounding the events. This book invokes the esthetic questions of the deliberate marriage of politics and art as it sheds the light of conscience on a dark era of American history. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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