Working in America: Images of Labor, 1930 - 1950
Work is a central part of our everyday lives. To a great extent, the labor we engage in, paid or unpaid, determines how other people see us, as well as how we see ourselves. But our understanding of the significance of particular types of labor, and of the importance of our own work in relation to that of others, is historically and socially constructed. It is the result of the material organization of labor, on the one hand, and, on the other, the cultural images of labor that circulate throughout society in books, magazines, movies, television, computers, and works of art. This exhibition presented a selection of such cultural images of labor in the form of paintings, prints, photographs, and posters produced in the United States between 1930 and 1950, drawn from the Pomona College and other local collections. Curated by Frances Pohl, Professor of Art History, it complemented the adjacent exhibition of Depression-era photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum.