October 23, 2008, New York, NY: The current exhibition at Forum Gallery, New York focuses on works ‘made in America’ by seventeen Artists, including Willem de Kooning, George Grosz, and Raphael Soyer, all of whom immigrated to the United States from their countries of origin. Made in America is a reflection of the deep-rooted American spirit that inspired these Artists to settle in this country, seeking opportunity, diversity, and freedom; an America perhaps somewhat eclipsed recently by political differences, market pressures, and greed. In our complex contemporary society, the art these artists created serves to reaffirm the global imperative and inspiration that America was, is, and can again become.
George Grosz’s Standing Figure (image of war and peace) from 1935, is a fundamental example of art as political activism, and an image that would have been banned in Grosz’s native Germany. The piece depicts a man with two very different sides: on the left he is a simple man with a curious smile and on the right he is a Nazi soldier, tight-lipped with bloodied knife in hand. In 1924, Grosz said “I drew and painted from a spirit of contradiction” (Kunstblatt); he was deeply affected by his experiences with War and applied his feelings of contradiction, anger, and outrage to his work.
Having immigrated to the U.S. as a child from Lithuania, Ben Shahn used his talent to make art that explored the social virtues of America and decried injustice. In All That is Beautiful from 1965, Shahn illustrates a bustling city on the rise, with his inspiration being “the pain of seeing the city I grew up in being covered by the new wave of concrete and glass.” His always compassionate representations of modern American society are poignant reminders of the universal promise America holds.
In the hauntingly beautiful painting Veronica and her Daughters from 1952, Raphael Soyer, born in Russia, captures an intimate moment between a mother and her children. A master of Social Realism, Soyer poignantly depicts the struggle of day to day life in America through the eyes of the eternal Mother. Seated and clutching her youngest, she looks away, possibly contemplating the bleak outlook for her and her daughters; while one of the girls gazes directly out, confronting the viewer and, conceivably, her own future.
The works included in this exhibition offer reassurance that America is and has been in dynamic forward motion, continually enduring and overcoming challenges. Our history unfolds in the images and subjects included in Made in America.
Made in America includes works by Alexander Archipenko, Oscar Bluemner, Ilya Bolotowsky, Konrad Cramer, Willem de Kooning, John Graham, Chaim Gross, George Grosz, Henry Koerner, Gaston Lachaise, Louis Lozowick, Elie Nadelman, Jules Pascin, Ben Shahn, Raphael Soyer, Oleg Vassiliev, and Max Weber.
The exhibition opens to the public on Tuesday, October 28, 2008, in the 4th floor gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, New York.
Location: New York 4th Floor