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“Ralph Fasanella: Lest We Forget” Exhibition opens Tuesday, Sept 2 in New York

(Sep 01, 2014)

The self-taught artist Ralph Fasanella (1914-97), born in the Bronx to Italian immigrants, believed that painting could be a form of labor advocacy. He worked as an ice delivery man, a truck driver, a gas station owner and a union organizer, all the while developing his colorful and detailed scenes of working-class life (as in “Family Supper,” which shows his mother, a garment worker, taking her second shift at a crowded dinner table). He also made historical paintings, like the mid-1970s series of canvases documenting the 1912 “Bread and Roses” strike in Lawrence, Mass.

The exhibition “Ralph Fasanella: Lest We Forget,” organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, opens on Tuesday at the American Folk Art Museum. It includes the panoramic painting “New York City” (1957), a sweeping, elevated look at tenements near the Queensboro Bridge that does not neglect stoop-side gatherings, curtains in lit windows and other social and communal touches. (Through Nov. 30, 2 Lincoln Square, 212-595-9533, folkartmuseum.org.)--from The New York Times