The Black and White of New York City

An exhibition by Emma Fighera ’21 and Jesse Gross ’22

Following the economic recession caused by the Great Depression, New York City emerged as the driving force behind twentieth-century American modernism. As part of the New Deal coalition, New York politicians paid special emphasis to supporting the labor movement, and so the city began to grow to unprecedented heights. Endorsed by significant funding from Franklin D. Roosevelt, New York in the 1920s and 30s saw the emergence of various public works programs — low-cost public housing, playgrounds, parks, and airports. Modernist artists living and working in this growing metropolis had no choice but to react, both positively and negatively, to their ever-changing urban environment. “Metropolis” explores the progressive mindset of the era, highlighting the dynamic influences that helped shape New York City into the force it is today. Our objects on display are courtesy of Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, The Karen and Kevin Kennedy Collection, and The Wellin Museum.

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