By Ariella Budick
The second world war left Italy in a shambles that proved fruitful for art. A republic was born amid the rubble and, after decades of fascist mythmaking, a new artistic frankness thrived. Yet one form of stylistic narrowness gave way to another — novelists, film-makers and photographers subscribed to the tenets of neorealism and united around a common project: to portray their devastated country unsparingly, with all its squalor, toughness and hope.
The Grey Art Gallery has gathered the work of dozens of photographers in NeoRealismo, an exhibition that draws on journalism, propaganda and even, at times, art. The show begins at the height (or depth) of the fascist era, and picks up momentum after the war.