The deadliest World War was coming to an end, with over ten million casualties from innovations in military weaponry: formidable tanks, machine guns, and chemical warfare. Railroads crisscrossed the United States making transportation faster than ever. The population in New York City had more than doubled within the last 30 years. Advances in printing technology propelled a mass media boom. Assembly line production was in full swing, generating the American automobile empire. In 1918, the United States was on the verge of its most prosperous decade (Scholes 28-9). This year also marked the birth of the Machine Age, an era that soon dominated American life (Wilson 23).
Amid the excitement of increasing industrialization, artists reacted to the rise in population, the developing industrial spaces, the geometric lines of city skylines, as well as the sophisticated order and internal operations of machines. “[For] the creative individual, the machine age offered the chance to invent a singularly American art,” Wilson argues, and consequently, the machine aesthetic emerged (23). The initial chaos of the industrial landscape distilled into linear simplicity and a new sense of beauty (Wilson 30).
One group of artists, the Precisionists (retroactively named in 1927 by MoMA director Alfred H. Barr) adopted the machine aesthetic as a driving influence in their works. Precisionism was a primarily American phenomenon that began in the early 1920s, with a focus on geometric forms and simple structures that emulated the machine (Murphy 1). Many Precisionist artists also used mechanized modes of production like lithography (Adams 83). With lithography, “They could control the flawless finish they sought; and through the use of the crayon in the classic manner they could erase all evidence of the physical processes through which their work had been created” (Adams 83). In short, Precisionist artists created works that simulated mechanical production. But Precisionism’s political views on the rise of the machine were not as clear. Jessica Murphy notes the general existence of “two opposing views of the machine’s place in contemporary American society,” and that Precisionist art embodied both views: “One view was the utopian ideal of technology bringing order to the modern world [….] The opposing view stressed the dehumanizing effects of technology [….] Occasionally, these two attitudes coexisted in an ambiguous tension within a single work of art” (1). Precisionism’s “ambiguous tension,” therefore, allows for the context to dictate how the reader interprets any given piece of art.
The Machine Aesthetic
Given Precisionism’s multifaceted celebration of the machine, it is surprising that the aesthetic appears on the pages of the debut May 1926 issue of New Masses. This publication ran for about twenty years as a leftist, Communist little magazine dedicated to the workers the machine threatened to replace. In New York City, leftist editor Michael Gold wanted to revive the politically charged spirit of The Masses magazine—which shut down after financial struggles created by the New York post office in 1917—in this new publication New Masses (Muller and Cunningham). Precisionist artwork mingled with Communist-charged articles throughout the new magazine’s pages. When Michael Gold became the sole editor-in-chief in June 1928, the magazine shifted towards a more labor-centric and politically-driven agenda. The “avant-garde style of the magazine was gradually subdued” and the number of “semi-abstract or futurist drawings disappeared in favour of political cartoons” (Tadie 847).
For example, in Louis Lozowick’s drawing of a water tower, we can see how Michael Gold’s editorial and political priorities coalesced with the Precisionist aesthetic. Featured in the January 1931 issue of the New Masses, and during Michael Gold’s push towards more politically-driven content in the magazine, Lozowick’s drawing forces the Precisionist aesthetic with Marxist politics together. Precisionist aesthetics—smooth, printed, and repeated geometrical shapes—dominate the upper three-quarters of the scene. Elements of the machine also dominate the image—a distinctly Precisionist trope—that can be traced with the crane, telephone wires, concrete industrial buildings, and the foregrounded water tower with its repeated industrial shapes and lines. Overwhelmingly, the vocabulary in the upper parts of the image remain Precisionist.
But Lozowick’s vocabulary in the bottom quarter of the drawing suddenly turns political, exhibiting the pro-Marxist content that shaped much of New Masses post-June 1928. In the image a solitary figure walks between the towers and concrete factories. This isolated figure passes through almost unnoticed—blending into the shadows cast down by the industrial and, by implication, capitalist surroundings. As Karl Marx writes, within the capitalist labor system, “Alienated labor hence turns the species-existence of man, and also nature as his mental species-capacity, into an existence alien to him… It alienates his spiritual nature, his human essence, from his own body and likewise from nature outside him” (291). In other words, within the context of Lozowick’s drawing, the isolated figure is alienated from “nature outside him” as he blends into what Marx does not consider nature: the mechanized, machine environment.
According to Marx, as a result of being alienated from nature, the lone figure’s “species existence”—or rather, “his spiritual nature” and “his human essence”—too becomes alienated. In the drawing, the body becomes alienated and separated from his “species-existence” when it is nearly absorbed into the mechanized, capitalist infrastructure. Lozowick’s 1931 drawing embodies the transition—determined and drawn by scholars—in the post-June 1928 editions of New Masses in which the aesthetic increasingly turned political.
They say, We say
Entering the Scholarly Conversation
We look specifically to Virginia Hagelstein Marquardt who recognizes the shift between the aesthetic and the political in the New Masses. She writes: “innovative, semi-abstract art [.…] appeared regularly in the New Masses during its first two years of publication,” and the labor focused art “without preoccupation with technique” became prevalent in the 1930s editions (Marquardt 62, 64). Marquardt accounts for this difference as a “conflict between political content and innovative style [that] was decided in favor of social content when Michael Gold became editor-in-chief in June 1928” (Marquardt 64). According to her, Gold privileged the political over the aesthetic. Marquardt continues: “New Masses [.…] artists largely failed to achieve their goal of combining political activism with technical skill and artistic merit” (75). Marquardt’s claim implies that within the artwork in the New Masses, the aesthetic and the political remain largely separate enterprises and that attempts to integrate the two consistently failed.
Helen Langa also notices this separation of the aesthetic and political in her analysis of New Masses artwork, writing: “Gold rejected former tolerance of modernist experiments in both writing and art, and envisioned a journal based on the contributions of the workers themselves” (Langa 25). Like Marquardt, Langa sees a shift in the quality and political tone of the artwork in New Masses after Michael Gold became editor-in-chief in June 1928. She claims that this shift came partially in response to Soviet critics at the end of the 1920s, who “attacked the journal’s essays and art images for insufficient militancy and over-absorption in formal aesthetic innovation” (Langa 31). As Langa suggests, the prevailing notion among Soviet critics, and even the magazine’s editors, was that the aesthetic, representing the bourgeois, and the political could not mesh in the artwork of New Masses. In this moment, Langa identifies modernism as art in opposition with proletarian politics.
While it may seem easy to distinguish the aesthetic from the political, the placement of politically ambiguous Precisionist imagery within the New Masses Communist pages complicates this separation. Alone, the artwork is purely Precisionist—politically indiscriminate yet reflecting and possibly glorifying the machine aesthetic. When considered within the fabric of the magazine, the artwork in New Masses by Precisionist contributors like Stuart Davis or Louis Lozowick absorbs the page’s political tone. While Marquardt and Langa find that the editors of the New Masses saw technique and political activism as separate in the magazine, the political ambiguity of Precisionist work allows for malleability of political interpretation. As a testament to Precisionism’s plasticity, Louis Lozowick—a New Masses art editor—featured artwork both in this leftist little magazine and a Lord & Taylor (a popular department store at the time) fashion show within the same year (Wilson 66). When an image seems ambiguous in its political or ideological meaning, the image is malleable. Precisionism’s plasticity then absorbs the political views of its contexts, whether that context is a capitalist enterprise such as Lord & Taylor or the Communist avenues of New Masses.
The idea that Precisionist artwork can absorb a political attitude through context is not an entirely novel thought. Sharon Corwin finds poignant visualizations of Karl Marx’s concepts of alienated labor in Precisionist artwork (Corwin 148-150). In her article, Corwin examines how images of scientific experiments in which light energy functions as a medium for image making demonstrated an aesthetic comparable to Precisionist works like Louis Lozowick’s “Machine Ornament No. 2.”
Through this lens, Corwin argues that Precisionist artwork, in its embrace of the machine aesthetic, effaces the artistic laborer (152). We will extend Corwin’s claims to analyze the Lozowick’s machine ornaments, similar to “Machine Ornament No. 2” that Corwin uses in her essay, that populate the issues of New Masses before and after 1928 (152).
In the December 1927 issue of New Masses, for example, two Precisionist, machine-ornament pieces, called “decorations,” appear on page twenty-four. Both are abstract, geometrical depictions of machines, drawn by New Masses art editor Louis Lozowick. Despite the distinctly Precisionist aesthetic, these two images appear to bear no other relation to each other, besides their placement on the same page accompanying the story “Terrible News” by Alexander Neverov (New Masses 3.8 [Dec. 1927]: 24). When seen within the full context of the page, as shown below, the images appear to be placed at without much intention; the image in slide 1 occupies the upper right hand side of the page, and the image in slide 2 rests in the lower center section of the page. There is no obvious reasoning behind the images’ positions, other than a seemingly decorative function to break up the dense text. The images then simply exist as literal ornaments.
The decorative functions of the two machine ornaments align well with Marxist interpretations, as Corwin notes in her analysis of similar image “Machine Ornament No. 2.” We want to extend Corwin’s Marxist reading of “Machine Ornament No. 2” to the decorations created by Lozowick featured in Volume 3, Issue 8. In his theory of alienated labor, Marx writes that the product “exists outside [the laborer] independently, alien, an autonomous power, opposed to him” (288).
Indeed, for Louis Lozowick, his machine ornaments contain what Corwin terms the “imperceptible brush work”—signifying the lack of the artist’s human touch—that manages to widen the gap between Lozowick, the human creator, and his product, which contains little human influence (Corwin 150). The precise, simple, and mechanized aspects of the decoration allow for easy plugging and printing within the magazine, which manages to further distance Lozowick from his work, as his artwork takes on a more alienated, independent, and decorative power that the editor controls.
The lack of title and artist accreditation in Figure 2 also fits into this notion of the alienated laborer, as Lozowick becomes distanced, or alienated, from his artwork, which fits neatly with Marx’s claim that, “the greater this product is, the smaller he is himself” (288). In this case, Lozowick’s accreditation with his product becomes so small that his title, and signature, become negligible. This alienation of Lozowick from his works in New Masses is especially ironic because the magazine, in its May 1926 manifesto, positions itself as “a monthly mosaic of American life,” but New Masses erases the artist’s life-giving hand (New Masses 1.1 [May 1926]: 3). Machinery instead of humanity decorates the pages. By examining the machine ornaments and their role within the larger context of the page and New Masses, the Precisionist images can take an indirectly political, and distinctly Marxist meaning.
Reading Art and Text
The juxtaposition of Precisionist artwork and Marxist editorial pieces presents an unusual cognitive experience. This clash between the aesthetic content of the Precisionist artwork and the highly politicized text of New Masses persists throughout many issues of the magazine from 1926 to 1928. Albert Margolis’s short story “Good Morning,” for example, which exposes the attitude that workers are disposable, appears alongside the rigid and geometrical depiction of sailors in Jan Matulka’s “Fishing Boats” in the December 1927 issue of New Masses, producing a perplexing portrayal of the laborers’ status.
The degree of editorial license seems to extend beyond the actual artwork and into the larger format of the magazine. To better understand the ways in which the image informs the text and vice versa, George Bornstein’s methodological approach provides an analytical framework for reading these bibliographic codes.
In “How to read a page: modernism and material textuality” George Bornstein presents a model in reaction to the “sophisticated eclecticism and naive reductionism” that pairs “‘text’ merely with words or linguistic code” (8). He argues that “any material page on which we read any poem is a constructed object that will encode certain meanings even while placing others under erasure” (31). In short, the materials upon which the text appears, the way the page is printed, and all the printed and physical material around that text can be used for analysis just like evidence in the text itself.
Uncovering the ways in which the “material page” becomes a “constructed object” requires attention to the “bibliographic codes” of a work, which can include “cover design, page layout, or spacing, among other factors” (Bornstein 6). He later states, “Tracing the multiple sites of the poem reveals alternate material components of meaning. Those meanings are carried by bibliographic codes as well as by linguistic ones, which is why paying attention only to the words in re-printings erases other meanings” (31). By acknowledging the other “sites” of a work, with the works of this study being Precisionist art, readers can see how its “meanings” might change depending upon the placement within a particular publication. Bornstein’s method appreciates and then extends beyond the typical method of New Criticism, which dissects the text or images in isolation.
For our investigation, we apply this same methodological framework to the visual Precisionist works on the pages in New Masses to make sense of the clash between written narratives and their corresponding images. With the assistance of the E.H. Little Library of Davidson College, we examine a collection of original copies of New Masses printed before the 1930s and investigate their artwork by deconstructing their bibliographic codes.
The Ornament, Politics, and The Page
This untitled drawing by Louis Lozowick appears in the first issue of the magazine, and it clearly exhibits the same aesthetic qualities as the machine ornaments analyzed earlier. The black image areas work in combination with the negative space on the page to create the full figure. This particular ornament depicts a reference to a steamship departing from an industrial setting. A mechanical infrastructure reaches up and away, hanging over the ship. The harsh angles of the black shapes surrounding the ship help produce a sense of movement for this vessel, though it’s not entirely clear if it is departing from or arriving at the port. Much like the machine ornaments that populate the pages of New Masses, there is no explicit political intent.
This reading of Lozowick’s drawing changes entirely once it is recontextualized within the page as a whole. This ship interrupts Robert Dunn’s review of a publication by Scott Nearing and Joseph Freeman entitled $ Diplomacy $. Dunn summarizes the publication as “a cool and crisp exposure of the way our business concessionaires carry on overseas” (New Masses 1.1 [May 1926]: 23). Dunn applauds Freeman and Nearing for “describ[ing] America as she is, the American Empire,” which operates “With a billion dollars going abroad annually to bolster up republics and social democracies and [text break where Drawing by Louis Lozwick appears] naval and military dictatorships, [….] imperialism with Wall Street at the apex, is no figure of speech” (New Masses 1.1 [May 1926]: 23). The column continues with fierce criticism about the use of the American Navy for commercial and political means abroad in countries like Haiti or Santo Domingo. Lozowick’s image suddenly shifts its weight, dramatically to the left. It becomes difficult to view this ship as a simple depiction of nautical mechanics; now the vessel might appear to be a commercial trade liner or a ship from the American Navy to further commercial and capitalist agendas.
While the image alone does not actually communicate political criticism, new meanings unfold by the image’s placement on the page. The context does not change the artist’s political intentions when he initially created the work, but the insertion of Lozowick’s image in this book review produces a critique of commercial enterprises and growing global markets.
Machine ornaments are not the only type of Precisionist imagery that populate the early pages of New Masses. Louis Lozowick also contributed several larger-scale images throughout the magazine’s pages. When examined in isolation, Lozowick’s “Steel Girders” depicts a series of vertically and diagonally positioned steel beams that form the skeleton of a new building. The diagonals create a sense of movement in the piece, and the network of vertical beams and lines of buildings in the background channel the movement upward. The printing methods bear no evidence of the artist’s hand. Lines are straight-edges, and Lozowick builds the mass of the foreground beams through changing tonality rather than forceful mark making. “Steel Girders” features harsh intersections of diagonal beams in the foreground, yet the artist conveys a depth and space, extending this industrial scene, using a key tool of lithography he called “infinite gradation” (Lozowick 286). Lithography removes the human presence from the image, and the cityscape remains. Lozowick’s work belongs to the Precisionist camp; he erases the people and populates the image with clean lines and precise, ordered architecture. The image does not seem political, yet the tone changes to an ominous one when placed back into its context on the page.
The New Masses editors situated Lozowick’s image just above a short story titled “Coal is Cheaper Now” by Art Shields. Shield details the story of a blonde, doting wife whose husband, once “the best coal loader in the pit” now suffers from a rotting, dislocated backbone (New Masses 1.1 [May 1926]: 21). Shields relates that the man wears a steel jacket to keep his spine in place and winces as his energetic son grabs his arm. The two-year old injury caused by a lack of safety materials still pains him. Under threat of losing his company-supplied house, the unnamed husband must shovel coal in his condition without aid. The foreman calls him replaceable, and the doctor describes his injury as “nothing much” (21). Shields reveals the stories of the man’s neighbors, each of whom have a connection to a man irreparably injured by a large corporation. The title of the story ignores, belittles, and discounts the horrors within. “Coal is cheaper now” serves as a synecdoche for the capitalist system and alienates the laborer. By association with the short story, Lozowick’s image shifts from a study of clean lines to an erasure of the laborers that slaved over the material demands of modernity. Lozowick’s image becomes the product of an industry that ignores the human carnage. “Steel Girders,” while purely aesthetic in isolation, reflects the distance between workers, superiors, and corporations in the context of “Coal is Cheaper Now.”
The juxtaposition of “Steel Girders” and “Coal is Cheaper Now” shows how surrounding editorial content can impact the image, yet the printing process that allows this information to appear on the page also informs the content as a whole. Bornstein’s definition of bibliographic reading limits itself to the appearance of the page, but we argue that bibliographic codes resonate in the very traces left behind by the mode of production. We next analyze how the printmaking technology influenced and shaped the Precisionist artwork printed in New Masses, with specific attention to Vladimir Bobritsky’s “Steady There!” in the May 1926 issue. Unlike the other subjects of our bibliographic analyses, the reading of “Steady There!” does not gain political significance from surrounding content because there is none—it appears alone on the page. Rather, the clash in political meanings and the overall stance on the relationship between machines and man rises from the interaction between the content and the physical printing process.
"This modern art's got me lookin' squintyeyed"
The visual content, as well as the caption, of “Steady There!” clearly reveals the piece’s overall preoccupation with the status of the laborer, but it does so using Precisionist tropes. The style of the piece is aesthetically driven. While the political undertones of Precisionism are often ambiguous, in this image, the highly structured components seem to celebrate the machine and the capacity to produce such exacting structures. The dynamic diagonal lines enliven the page and strong geometrical patterns create layers of an abstract building. Bobritsky situates the undifferentiated men within a harshly geometric and abstract landscape, where shapes and lines characterize the Precisionist aesthetic. The workers are minuscule and mechanically replicated stick figures and appear intertwined with the pulley system upon which they work. The workers seem to accompany Marx’s notion that “[alienated labor] turns others into machines” as the workers are increasingly becoming mechanized (Marx 290). The one figure that stands out appears as a black mass in the foreground, and he oversees the operation; his comparatively detailed form separates him from the other workers, and he has a pipe in his mouth because he does not need to work, only direct. The overseer, according to Marx, is “the alien being who owns labor and the product of labor, whom labor serves and whom the product of labor satisfies” (Marx 292). In other words, the workers in the image become alienated from the product and process of their labor, which instead belongs to the pipe-smoking, dictating, alien being in the form of the overseer. Bobritsky incorporates mechanized laborers and the presence of the overseer to reinforce Marxist notions of alienated labor, yet he also relies on Precisionist tropes and modernist conventions to create this oppositional stance.
The accompanying caption with “Steady There!” reads as a mini-dialogue:
On a superficial level, the caption further proves that this domineering, rigid system of work, as well as the surroundings, have rendered the laborer sick, “dizzy,” confused, and alone. The caption, however, takes on another meaning as one of the laborers not only comments on the capitalist labor system, but also comments on the state of “modern art,” when he claims that his geometrical surroundings make him “dizzy!” The image poses a self-awareness about the relationship between the art and its viewers. The relationship, it seems, is a negative one: the laborer cannot comprehend the Precisionist art that shapes his surroundings, and becomes alienated. While Bobritsky critiques the alienation of the laborer within the capitalist labor system, he also considers the complex position of the modern art in which he participates and its inaccessibility for many, or the “masses.” Overall, the content of the image, as well as the caption, together bring awareness to the position of the laborer by way of Precisionist tropes.
The content of the image clearly protests the position of the alienated laborer, but ironically the page on which the image appears is the direct result of commercial mass printing and its alienation of the laborer. While we cannot definitively pinpoint the printing method, our investigations suggest that the printers used photolithography to reproduce the artwork in the magazine and create the issue as a whole using offset lithography. The first clue toward this conclusion is that that according to the Library of Congress, “offset lithography” was the mode of production for Volume 6, Issue 11 of The Masses, predecessor of New Masses (Library of Congress). To verify this lead, we examined the composition of the prints in “Steady There!” by Bobritsky. According to Bamber Gascoigne’s diagnostic guide book, the black scattered dots are characteristic of a halftone offset lithograph (Gascoigne 53k). The use of offset printing in the New Masses is somewhat unusual given its publication year, 1926, because before World War Two, halftone relief printing dominated the book-publishing field (Gascoigne 41c). Consequently, this publication might be seen as a more innovative, technologically advanced and experimental feat in production.
The interaction of product and production serve as another bibliographic code. Marshall McLuhan argues, “the medium is the message” (7) and that “supreme quality of the print” is that “it is a pictorial statement that can be repeated precisely and indefinitely” (160). This idea applies to Precisionist art, as many Precisionist artists incorporated printmaking techniques to create and shape their works. The true irony, however, is that in order to disseminate “Steady There[’s]” mocking view of modern art and its critique of the aforementioned alienation of the laborer, the New Masses needed to print on a massive scale, which relied upon the highly mechanized process of lithography. In its protest of the machine and the position of the worker, the magazine specifically drew upon the capitalist structures that it criticized.
The shift from a small scale critique to commercial distribution gained particular traction in Walter Benjamin’s specific exploration of artworks produced in the mechanical age, which flourished at the time New Masses began printing. First, Benjamin differentiates between what he terms the “cult value”—or art for art’s sake, which is art divorced from any political value—and the “exhibition value”—as art exists solely for others’ consumption, which entails viewing and eliciting a response (7). When “the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility,” meaning that as art hits the commercial market, it takes on a new function—the “exhibition value”—as the audience consumes the printed product (Benjamin 7).
The images in New Masses, in line with Benjamin’s argument, can take on a commercial and capitalistic agenda by virtue of the reliance upon the machine to produce a heavy volume of publication. The editors brag that that their first issue, in which “Steady There!” appeared, was “completely sold out” and professed that they were “doubling our print order for the June issue—we hope that will not be enough” (New Masses 1.2 [June 1926]: 2). The speed of offset lithography facilitated this capitalist desire to disseminate a communist message, and art, according to Benjamin, is then produced exclusively for distribution and consumption. The inclusion of “Steady There!” in the first issue of New Masses, designed to reach the masses, cannot divorce from its commercial influences. Indeed, Bobritsky’s commentary on the inaccessibility of modern art can resonate with many readers, and perhaps as a result, the editors decided to include the image in the first issue.
Printed in 1926, Bobritsky’s “Steady There!” and his Precisionist aesthetic easily fall into the aesthetic-focused framework of art as noticed by Marquardt and Langa. But at a closer inspection of the content and its method of production, we find not only a political Marxist meaning, but also commercial and capitalist motives integrated into the page itself.
Precisionist artwork in New Masses prior to 1928 appears to denounce a political reading and at times even celebrates the modernity—and its machine aesthetic—that the magazine often rejects in its embrace of Communist doctrine. Scholars Marquardt and Langa notice the more aesthetic orientation of the artwork in these early issues as they distinguish them from the more overtly politicized artwork that dominates the later issues of the magazine. When we apply George Bornstein’s methodology of reading the bibliographic codes to these images within the context of the page, however, we find that Precisionist art can, and does, takes on a more targeted political tone. The editors of the magazine often positioned the malleable—and politically ambiguous—Precisionist imagery next to politically charged pieces on the pages of the Communist magazine. As a result, these artworks absorbed the political fervor that surrounds them on the page, skewing the ambiguity to serve their own needs within the publication. In the cases of “Water Tower” (which was printed in 1931) and “Steady There!” it appears that certain artists would incorporate Precisionist techniques and tropes to elicit political and social commentary within the image itself. As a result, these images shifted from a politically ambiguous stance to adopt a more direct, politicized message.
Yet, as we apply bibliographic code readings with attention to the production process behind these images, we further complicate and extend the level of political and commercial meanings that Precisionist art can contain within the pages of New Masses. The commercial purposes and industrialized techniques of printing left traces in the Precisionist artwork as the images take on a more commercial and capitalistic agenda. The coding of the printing process of Precisionist artwork and the reliance upon industrial equipment, however, is likely unintentional on the magazine’s part, because it promotes the very things New Masses critiques. In this way, modernity and the Machine Age provided not only the subjects for Precisionist artwork, but also facilitated its reproduction, and, like an artist, shaped its very meaning. Yet, that artistic hand disappears within the pages of the New Masses. The magazine meant for laborers by laborers erases and isolates the worker in its images with its lack of brushstrokes, as well as evidence of the human artist. The text echoes that isolation, and the Communist magazine ironically leaves its people behind.
Adams, Clinton.”The 1920s: Europe and America.” In American Lithographers 1900-1916: Artists and Their Printers. Albuquerque: UP of New Mexico, 1983. 71-120. Print.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” ed. by Hannah Arendt, trans. by Andy Blunden (Los Angeles, California: Shocken/Random House: 2005) pp 1-21. Web.
Bobritsky, “Steady There!” New Masses 1.1 (March 1924): 24. Print.
Bornstein, George. “How to read a page: modernism and material textuality.” Material Modernism: The Politics of the Page. NY: Cambridge UP, 2001. 5-31. Print.
Brooker, Peter, and Andrew Thacker. The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Vol. 2. 847-851. Print.
Corwin, Sharon. “Picturing Efficiency: Precisionism, Scientific Management, And The Effacement Of Labor.” Representations 84.1 (2003): 139-165. Art Abstracts (H.W. Wilson). Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Cunningham, Scott. “New Masses: Description.” Index of Modernist Magazines. Davidson College, 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://sites.davidson.edu/littlemagazines/>.
Gascoigne, Bamber. How to Identify Prints: A complete guide to manual and mechanical processes from woodcut to ink jet. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986. Print.
Gold, Michael, et al. New Masses. New York, 1926. Print.
Lambert, Susan. “Planographic processes” in Prints: Art and Techniques. New York: V&A, 2001. 70-82. Print.
Langa, Helen. “”At Least Half the Pages Will Consist of Pictures”: New Masses and Politicized Visual Art.” American Periodicals: A Journal of History, Criticism, and Bibliography 21.1 (2011): 24-49. Print.
Lozowick, Louis. “Lithography: Abstraction and Realism.” Space 1.2 (March 1930): 31-33. Reprinted in Survivor from a Dead Age: The Memoirs of Louis Lozowick. Ed. Virginia Hagelstein Marquardt. Washington: Smithsonian IP, 1997. 285-287. Print.
Marquardt, Virginia Hagelstein. “‘New Masses’ and John Reed Club Artists, 1926-1936: Evolution of Ideology, Subject Matter, and Style.” The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts 12 (Spring 1989): pp 56-75. JSTOR. Web.
Marx, Karl. “Alienated Labor.” Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society trans. and ed. by Loyd D. Easton and Kurt H. Guddat (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1967) pp. 287-301.
McLuhan, Marshall. “The Medium is the Message.” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: Mcgraw Hill, 1964. 7-21. Print.
—. “The Print: How to Dig It.” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: Mcgraw Hill, 1964. 157-163. Print.
Muller, Simone.”The Masses: Description.” Index of Modernist Magazines. Davidson College. Web. 16 Nov 2015. <http://sites.davidson.edu/littlemagazines/>.
Murphy, Jessica. “Precisionism”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/prec/hd_prec.htm (June 2007)
Scholes, Robert and Wulfman, Clifford. “Modernity and the Rise of Modernism.” Modernism in the Magazines: an Introduction. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010. 28-30. Print.
Tadie, Benoit. “The Masses Speak.” The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines Vol. 2. Ed. Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. 831-856. Print.
“The Masses, entire issue for August 1915, vol. 6, no. 11 (issue no. 51).” n.d. Lib. of Congress. Web. 29 Oct 2015. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004679125/>.
Wilson, Richard Guy et al. “America and the Machine Age” The Machine Age in America, 1918-1941. New York: Brooklyn Museum in association with Abrams, 1986. 23-42. Print.
We created this collaborative undergraduate project for our English Seminar 486: Modernism, Magazines & Media taught by Suzanne Churchill at Davidson College in Fall 2015. This was written in compliance with Davidson College’s Honor Code. For more information on this class or this project, please contact Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The material used for this project has been gathered for academic purposes according to fair use standards with full citations of all sources. Whenever possible, we have attempted to secure permissions for any material that exceeds “fair use” standards. For our source material, we primarily drew from the archived copies of New Masses from the E.H. Little Library at Davidson College. Because of the ephemeral nature of little magazines, it is often difficult to determine who, if anyone, holds the rights to materials published therein. In such an instance, text and images will be considered on loan until someone objects.
This project was an interdisciplinary endeavor made possible by the help and dedication of Davidson College faculty. We would like to sincerely extend our thanks...
To Jan Blodgett and Sharon Byrd, archivists and librarians in the E.H. Little Library- for your archivist expertise, for your help with archival scans, and your patience.
To Tyler Starr in the Art Department- for your help in mediating lithography debates and for sharing your knowledge on all things printed.
And to Suzanne Churchill in the English Department- for your thoughtful edits, encouragement, and critique.
This project would not have been possible without you.
Ryan, Hannah Grace, Ellie, Sophia, and Scott.
Davidson College, Class of 2016