John Steuart CurryU.S. 1897-1946
The Fugitive 79.0044
No artist could live in the New York City of the 1920s, as John Steuart Curry did, without being affected by the vitality of the Harlem Renaissance and the shifts in the awareness of how African Americans were depicted in movies, in the theater, and in print media. Curry put his art to the service of social justice in the 1930s by attacking the prevailing but denigrating images of black Americans. He embarrassed his fellow Kansans in 1931 by depicting a Kansas lynch mob in the painting Manhunt. He also participated in the exhibition The Social Viewpoint in Art and in the exhibition An Art Commentary on Lynching organized in 1935 by NAACP Secretary Walter White, which was to open on the day that Congressional hearings on anti-lynching legislation were to begin. Opposition to this exhibition forced it to move to another gallery, which hosted it for two weeks. More than three-dozen artists contributed works, including Thomas Hart Benton, Isamu Noguchi, Reginald Marsh, and José Orozco. The exhibition also included work by the late George Bellows. The cover of the catalogue featured Curry's The Fugitive.
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