Visual Aesthetics In Social Realism Essay

994 words - 4 pages

The gallery that I visited in the Museum of Modern Art focused on Social Realism, which consists of artwork created between the two World Wars. This period was defined by international political turmoil as well as the difficulties of a global economic depression. A number of artists in both Mexico and the United States used art to respond to these conditions; they created issue-oriented art that summoned awareness to the unfortunate and bleak circumstances that bounded them. Rather than abstraction they relied on realism to tackle the diminishing conditions of the poor and working class as well as to confront the political and social systems they believed were culpable. This style was ...view middle of the document...

Another painting Siqueiros has in this gallery entitled The Sob shows a working class woman with her head in her hands crying; the piece is a testament to the struggle of the working class. David Siqueiros painting, Ethnography shows a Mexican peasant whose face is a Pre-Columbian mask; the man is looking through unseeing eyes out of a formalized face to represent that the past is still part of him. The piece depicts that the traditional cannot be destroyed because it will come back to haunt you like a ghost. The same artist painted Echo of a Scream, one of the most powerful and well-known pieces in the gallery. Siqueiros’s Echo of a Scream was inspired by his own experiences from war and the suffering he observed; the baby highlights the internal suffering of the Revolution’s innocent victims. The painting is a metaphor for the endless distresses of war.
Jose Clemente Orozco’s painting Barricade depicts the peasants fighting in the Mexican Revolution. The Subway by Jose Clemente Orozco was intended to capture his early experience of New York as well as his pessimistic and depressing view he had on mankind. Orozco used a sympathetic image of an ordinary moment to express his feelings of loneliness and the uninviting and cruel conditions he witnessed in New York City.
Jacob Epstein used his bronze bust sculpture of Paul Robeson, a popular African American singer and film star, to monumentalize him as a Civil Rights activist. The sculpture shows Robeson looking up with a look of hope in his eyes, possibly hopes for a better future. Pugilist, a granite sculpture by Ahron Ben Shmuel, is ironically just a bust but the face is tough and appears to have a willingness to fight against a suppressor. Emma Lu Davis’ sculpture, Chinese Red Army Soldier, depicts a Communist soldier as a hero. Medal for Dishonor: Death by Gas by David Smith is a response to fascism; the piece shows that military decoration and...

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