We Fight to Build a Free World prompts the question of whether political artworks can truly convey their own radicalism within the halls of an Upper East Side museum.
Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern takes a close look at a period when patriotism was distinct from nationalism, populism did not equal demagoguery, and left-wing radicalism was the coin of the aesthetic realm.
Although the US Postal Service is now being forced to scrap its plan to end Saturday mail delivery, it’s still looking for ways to cut costs. Selling buildings is one option, and in February, the organization put forward a proposal to sell the Bronx General Post Office, a Depression-era building from 1935. Erected as part of a federal program to employ out-of-work architects, engineers, and artists, the block-long building was designed by Thomas Harlan Ellett and includes exterior sculptures by Henry Kreis and Charles Rudy. It was landmarked in 1976, which means it would be preserved from destruction in the event of a sale; however, that landmark status does not apply to the interior — and it just so happens that 13 murals by artist Ben Shahn cover the walls of the lobby.
If the contemporary side of the Armory is flashier with its glamor and energy, this is the tried and true historical wing that presents a more reserved modernist face but not one without a lot of seduction. Here are some of my picks for what to see if you visit.