"The Fleet's In." Paul Cadmus, '34
A few weeks ago I wrote about the mural project of the WPA under President Roosevelt. In researching for the article, I could find no compilation of all the murals or even much about the various other WPA art programs during the 1930's. Curious. Of course, many of the murals have been destroyed as old post offices and government buildings came down and new ones replaced them. But why is there no documentation of all these works of art? I would suggest that politics played a role, as we see today in ongoing the ongoing anti-National Public Radio debate.
Politicians, the morality police or aspiring mind controllers have through history, used art to illustrate the decadence of the artist mind, Bohemians all to be sure, and the immoral influence of their work. Diego Rivera's mural work in the US was extremely controversial during the thirties, as were many of the works of many American artists in the WPA projects. Some WPA mural plans were censored by governmental officials who directed the subject content be changed. Prospective murals subjects, as well interpretation, were indeed reviewed before the artist could actually paint!
Pictured here is one such such mural depicting sailors wolf whistling at some pretty girls who in turn were enjoying the attention. Artist Paul Cadmus's "The Fleet's In" is an oil on canvas, painted in 1934. The painting was selected for inclusion in show of PWAP art the Corcoran Gallery of Art, prompting a viewer to write an irate and indigent letter to The Evening Star (WDC). "It reflected unfairly on the men of the navy," said the Secretary of the Navy in response and "The Fleet's In" was removed from the exhibition. The painting was "stored" in various places, certainly not in public, until 1981 when the Navy had it restored. (Find an interesting chronology of this episode at http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/cadmus/cadmus.htm.
In fact, President Roosevelt's detractors used the immorality of the arts created in the WPA project as anti-Roosevelt campaign fodder. Didn't work though.Comment on or Share this Article →
Walnut Street Gallery, Ankeny Iowa, in conjunction with the Ankeny Chamber of Commerce is hosting an evening at the Gallery with local artists, great music and yummy foods too! Join us Thursday, June 9th, 4-6 pm at 301 SW Walnut Street in Ankeny, IA.
I am very pleased to be represented by Walnut Street Gallery and participating in this event. Seven area artists will be on hand to talk with visitors about their artwork. Come and see some fantastic artwork in different mediums, meet and talk with the artist too. Represented are Angela Meron, Bonnie Samuel, Doug Fletcher, Liz DeCleene, Mark Stoltenberg, Michael Glaser, Noelle Gibbons. Come and enjoy the arts! Some fabulous door prizes too.Comment on or Share this Article →