Apr 12–May 2, 1942

War Art

From the exhibition announcement:

The Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago announces its next exhibition WAR ART, assembled by the School of Design in Chicago and the W.P.A. Illinois Art and Craft Project.

This will be a demonstration of new developments in art in their application to war activities. It will consist of work done by the School of Design of Chicago and the W.P.A. Illinois Art and Craft Project, the two organizations in Chicago which have focused art activities on actual war needs.

From the School of Design we will show camouflage demonstrations and models, charts of airplane runways, an infra red oven, a shock-proof helmet, a new type of barbed wire, and other objects of a practical nature which have tested the skill of the modern designer and craftsman.

The Art Project will contribute mural sketches, “History of Aviation,” by Mildred Waltrip, “Introduction of the Recruit,” by Ralf Henricksen, the originals of both of which are now installed at Scott Field; Marine posters, wood carving “Parachutist Cardplayers,” also for Scott Field, and various designs and displays.

The work done by the Project of a technical nature, and now in use throughout the state in army, navy and air training bases, such as visual education charts for camouflage and mechanical teaching aids, however, are subject to censorship and will not be included.

The exhibition, as a whole, will serve to acquaint us with the contribution of the creative artist and the craftsman as he adapts himself to the urgent needs of the day.

Organizer László Moholy-Nagy wrote:

In a country at war, education and vocational training are faced with the problem of achieving maximum results in minimum time without sacrificing the objectives of general education. The School of Design in Chicago- because of its past educational policy- has readily adapted its program to the requirements of the present emergency.

Its class room and workshop training, the coordination of hand and brain, helps to make the individual resourceful and inventive. He knows from direct experience how to handle the tools of the craftsman, the basic machines of industry and the problems of contemporary science and art. With such an integrated training of art, science and technology, the students of the school were able to attack civilian and military tasks with courage, achieving surprising results, many of which may have good possibilities.