Sunday, January 15, 2012

American Gothic

Migrant Mother photo by Dorothea Lange
 Who has not seen this photograph? This is Dorothea Lange's work, during the great depression she documented it's impact on America. We have these images because of the FSA. A work program called the Farm Security Act. This is something we could not have today, a person taking photographs of American's suffering because of economic hardship. An artist paid by a government program, to make work. Underneath Dorothea's work is an example of Grant Wood's work. He is an American master, also paid during the great depression to paint murals, among other things, by the Public Works Art Project. Another program, paid for by the government. To support artists and to boost American morale, in order for American citizens to believe that better times were coming.
I was reading The Guardian today, this article was on the front page:
 Many Americans gave up hope last year – 2012 will be worse | Business |
In this article Joseph Stiglitz talks about the year 2011, the year American's gave up hope. People in 
                                                                    their fifties being unemployable, spending everything
American Gothic Grant Wood
they've saved to survive, they have been forcibly retired.
Young adults graduating from college with crushing student debt, and no jobs available. 7 million Americans have lost their homes.
According to Mr Stiglitz, the "good news" is with "progressive taxation" we could generate revenue to finance public investment. I think it's a great idea. But it's not going to happen. With a government that's gridlocked until the next election. A government and it's politicians, owned by corporations.
I too, have very little hope.
It's sad that I am looking to the past, to the years Roosevelt was in office, for a leader who actually took on the banks and did something for the people who elected him. That's not happening in 2012. The article by Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University, was not on the front page of the New York Times, but on The Guardians front page. Because I am thinking, we are not supposed to give up hope.
Maybe we should give up hope, that things will ever get better. Then maybe we should get really angry that people are suffering, and very little, the bare minimum, is being done to help people who have become victims of the system.
In art school there is a saying, "you have to break it down, to build it up again." I think that is what should happen to this system we have now. Tear it down and rebuild. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to have  few artists involved in the process.
Do we really want to go back to this?

1 comment: