Art for the Millions: American Culture and Politics in the 1930s

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This publication examines the search for artistic identity in the United States from the stock market crash of 1929 that began the Great Depression to the closure of the Works Progress Administration in 1943 with a focus on the unprecedented dissemination of art and ideas brought about by new technology and government programs. During this time of civil, economic, and social unrest, artists transmitted political ideas and propaganda through a wide range of media, including paintings and sculptures, but also journals, prints, textiles, postcards, and other objects that would have been widely collected, experienced, or encountered.

Insightful essays discuss but go beyond the era’s best-known creators, such as Thomas Hart Benton, Walker Evans, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O’Keeffe, to highlight artists who have received little scholarly attention, including women and artists of color as well as designers and illustrators. Emphasizing the contributions of the Black Popular Front and Leftist movements while acknowledging competing visions of the country through the lenses of race, gender, and class, Art for the Millions is a timely look at art in the United States made by and for its people.

Written by Allison Rudnick with contributions by Kirsten Pai Buick, Max Fraser, and Rachel Mustalish. Published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2023. Hardcover, measures 10.3 x 9 inches, 208 pages. ISBN 9781588397690

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