Many politically active artists worked for the New Deal projects. United by a desire to use art to promote social change, these artists sympathized with the labor movement and exhibited an affinity for left-wing politics ranging from New Deal liberalism to socialism to communism. In the extreme, their art became a crude weapon aimed only at exposing capitalism's abuses and exalting the struggles of the working class. In other instances, their commitment to use art to create a better world resulted in "social realist" works that drew sensitively upon the lives of the poor or simply caught the grim reality of Depression-era America. The Federal Art Project could usually accommodate moderate social realism. But in more controversial works, especially in public art such as murals and in Federal Theatre productions, it became ammunition for the projects' enemies to use against them.

Click to print this page

Click to Close Window