"Swing Landscape" by Jennifer McComas

Swing Landscape Stuart Davis and the Modernist Mural Jennifer McComas, Jody Patterson

Publication date:
08 Sep 2020
Yale University Press
164 pages: 279 x 241mm
78 color + 63 b-w illus.

In 1936 the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project commissioned Stuart Davis (1892–1964) to paint a mural for the Williamsburg Houses, a New York City housing project. Though the mural, Swing Landscape, was never installed in its intended location, it survives today as a testament to Davis’s energetic brand of abstraction and the progressive politics that animated it. This study explores the painting, one of the greatest of 20th-century America and arguably Davis’s most ambitious work.
The book challenges the tendency to separate Davis’s activism from his art and contextualizes Swing Landscape within 1930s abstract mural painting in New York. Featuring a comprehensive look at the entire Williamsburg commission, including works by Willem de Kooning and Ilya Bolotowsky, this book is an indispensable resource on interwar modernism, mural painting, and urban development.

Jennifer McComas is curator of European and American art at the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University. Jody Patterson is associate professor and Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Chair of Art History at Ohio State University.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University