In the years before the Great Depression, the “Ashcan” school of painters rejected the cultural norms of the art market. It opted instead for an American realism that took its inspiration from the lives of dock workers, street vendors, and immigrant families in the country’s modernizing cities.
Billy Anania is an art critic, editor, and journalist in New York City.
In the 1960s and 1970s, when Detroit was home to a vibrant radical Left, photographer Leni Sinclair, cofounder of the White Panther Party and the Detroit Artists Workshop, stood at the center of a local scene where political and cultural ferment merged. We spoke to her about those years of upsurge.
Few American photographers have captured the misery, dignity, and occasional bursts of solidarity within US working-class life as compellingly as Lewis Hine did in the early twentieth century.
The 20th-century American portrait painter Alice Neel was often misunderstood by art critics throughout her career. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new Neel retrospective, “People Come First,” recontextualizes her career as a painter of the human condition whose socialist politics were central to her work.
Across the United States, museum workers, activists, and artists are forcing a conversation about the labor abuses, racism, and wealthy patrons’ “art-washing” schemes at museums.