"All artists want to change the world, usually just by making it take special notice of them, but now and then they do so out of a devotion to larger hopes. “The Left Front: Radical Art in the ‘Red Decade,’ 1929-1940,” a fascinating scholarly show at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, on Washington Square, illustrates the most sustained convergence of art and political activism in American history."
The Left Front: Radical Art in the “Red Decade,” 1929–1940, a major exhibition devoted to American art during the decade following the stock market crash of 1929, opens on January 13, 2015, at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University. With some 100 works by forty artists, The Left Front examines the crucial moment in American history when artists took to their printing presses (and brushes and cameras) amid the economic and social devastation brought on by the Great Depression. Joining forces with writers and intellectuals, these men and women—who came together at the progressive John Reed Club, founded in New York City directly after the crash—were dedicated to creating work that tackled a range of socially conscious themes, including class struggle, labor organizing, immigration, socialist mysticism, utopian communities, racial justice, and the Spanish Civil War, among others.
"The Grey Art Gallery can’t engineer a resurgence, but at least it’s honouring a moment when art was suffused with a moral clarity it never regained."