Sunday, December 18, 2011

Same as it ever was:
The Jewish Museum New York |
Art Exhibition | The Radical Camera:
New York's Photo League, 1936-1951

The Jewish Museum New York | Art Exhibition | The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951

The exhibit is very well curated and documents the story of those artists caught up by radical politics and the backlash after WW-II. The presentation is fair and, while sympathetic to the sincerity of the photographers and the reality of the conditions they believed they were struggling against, allowed an observer to note the changing sympathies of the Left towards the War depending on the interests of the USSR. The subsequent protests of the Photo League that they were never acting as a front organization come off as Clintonian. The slogans of the demonstrators in the 1930s, for wages without coerced labor or guaranteed government work to be payed for by "Capital", would have been right at home with Occupy Wall Street or many of the Congressional Democrats, or members of the Obama Administration.

Most notable to me was the New York Times front page from November 05, 1947. That was the day that the Democratic US Attorney General released a list of Communist Front organizations, including the Photo League. Except for that singular item, so unlike anything we would expect from any Democrat or Republican in the last 50 years, every headline displayed could have been in today's paper. The topics included Arab terror against the Jews, pressure to remove religion from the public schools, and financial or political stories that would not now seem out of place.

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