Truth and Beauty … and social realism

This is from the most recent newsletter sent from the Executive Director of Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Stefano Catalani.  He recently met with painter Max Ginsburg in New York.

“At 86, Ginsburg, who was raised in the ebullient milieu of the New York Jewish Left of the 1920s and 1930s, is a living monument to social realism. Mind you, I am not referring to the hollow social realism of the Soviet experience—mere propaganda in service of ideology. I am talking about the empathetic gaze, painting as act of resistance and revelation, and the agency of art for change. For nearly 50 years, Ginsburg’s realist paintings have explored the human experience, captured the beauty of everyday life, and offered warmhearted and passionate commentary on class, gender, and race.”

“In the artist’s words: “With regard to these themes, I have been inspired by Old Masters such as Caravaggio, Goya, Kollwitz, and Picasso. I choose to paint realistically because I believe realism is truth and truth is beauty. I derive an aesthetic pleasure in skillfully done realistic drawings and paintings. I believe that realism can communicate ideas strongly and it is this communication that is extremely important to me.” “