Podcast: art of the 1930s American dream

Published 12 April 2017

Professor Sarah Churchwell examines the political, cultural and aesthetic contexts of the RA exhibition ‘America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s’, which includes works by Grant Wood, Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe.

  • During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States confronted for the first time the possibility that the American experiment might have failed. It was during this period that the phrase “the American dream” was first coined and became a catchphrase for debating the promises and failures of the American project. American artists responded to questions about a national or collective sense of identity with works that raised questions about history, politics, social realism and allegory, about the nation’s mythological past, its anxious present and its hopes for the future.

    Sarah Churchwell is professorial fellow in American literature and chair of public understanding of the humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

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