The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2021

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FEB 2021 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: New York

36. (West 43rd Street)

In the winter of 1936, an American Artists’ Congress Against War and Fascism is held at two venues, Town Hall and the New School. Over the course of three days, some 34 speakers address the hundreds of attendees. The keynote address, delivered at Town Hall by a visionary writer whose goal is nothing less than the reconstruction of the modern world, includes the following observations: “In a Fascist form of government some one person, usually with a silly face, a Hitler or a Mussolini, becomes the model which every subject must imitate and salute … Anyone who laughs at those stupid mugs, or incites other people to laugh at them, is a traitor. I think that is the reason why dictatorships fear artists. They fear them because they fear free criticism … The irrepressible impulse of Art may upset the whole Fascist program … The time has come for the people who love life and culture to form a united front against them, to be ready to protect, and guard, and if necessary, fight for the human heritage which we, as artists, embody.”

(Lewis Mumford)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2021

All Issues