Thursday, July 20, 2017
New Deal Recycling and Refuse Art (4/5): "Junk Yard"
Above: "Junk Yard," an oil painting by Aaron Bohrod (1907-1992), created while he was in the WPA's Federal Art Project, 1939. In 1984, Bohrod recalled the tough times of the Great Depression: "my wife, in the thick of Depression, wasn't being paid by the Chicago Board of Education, but she got what was called scrip, which means that they would pay at a future date." Fortunately, the WPA gave him a job: "And I felt it was a great job. It didn’t pay as much money as I got when I was a worker for the Fair Department Store, but it paid something like $24 a week." Bohrod also won three commissions with the New Deal's Treasury Section of Fine Arts and painted murals for the post offices in Clinton, Galesburg, and Vandalia, Illinois (see "Artists: Aaron Bohrod," Living New Deal). During World War II, Bohrod was sent to combat zones by the Army and by magazines (e.g., LIFE) to paint what he observed, and later said: "As wars go, it was a good war. It was a war that had to be fought; it was a war that had to be won... and that was of course the last good war." Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.