Arizona Author Series: Betsy Fahlman
Arizona’s Art History is emblematic of the story of the modern West, and few periods in that history are more significant than the era of the New Deal, whose programs operated in every state between 1933 and the end of World War II in 1945. The works of art produced during this period remain significant exemplars of federal art patronage and offer telling lessons positioned at the intersection of community history and culture. This chronicle includes post office murals, Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information photographs, and the Navajo Nation Council Chamber whose murals were executed by Gerald Nailor. Fort Huachuca was the surprising site of a remarkable story of African American art during World War II. Arizona painter Lew Davis produced a stunningly original mural for the Black officers’ club titled The Negro in America’s Wars, which represented African American participation in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War I. Davis then produced a series of morale-building posters with African American faces. Finally, Davis helped organized an exhibition of eighty-six works by thirty-seven African American artists. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1942 WWII Executive Order 9066 forced the removal of nearly 125,000 Japanese-American citizens from the west coast, incarcerating them in ten remote internment camps in seven states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Artists made powerful records of camp life. Arizona’s two camps (Gila River, Poston) were among the largest, and this chronicle illuminates an important episode of state history, one grounded in national agendas driven by prejudice and fear.
Betsy Fahlman is Professor of Art History at Arizona State University. An authority on the art history of Arizona, her books include New Deal Art in Arizona (2009) and The Cowboy’s Dream: The Mythic Life and Art of Lon Megargee (2002). She is the author of two essays in catalogues published in 2012 by the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff: “New Women, Southwest Culture: Arizona’s Early Art Community” (in Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton: Artist and Advocate in Early Arizona) and “Making the Cultural Desert Bloom: Arizona’s Early Women Artists” (in Arizona’s Pioneering Women Artists: Impressions of the Grand Canyon State).
Join author Betsy Fahlman as she discusses her work and the process of research. This free talk is part of our 2018 Arizona Author Series, hosted from February--July by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Arizona Secretary of State.
- Friday, July 6, 2018
- 3:00pm - 4:00pm
- Polly Rosenbaum History and Archives Building -- 1901 W. Madison St. Phoenix, AZ 85009