Ed Murrow Slaying the Dragon of McCarthy, 1955
H.31.1 X W.24.1cm
Ben Shahn (1989-1969), Lithuanian born American
Shahn said of the black and white print “It is to art as the essay is to literature – compact, pointed, intensive.” A “protest artist,” Shahn was a devoted social activist who confronted injustice and refused to stand aside when he witnessed it.
In this print he attacks those who, because of their own paranoia, persecute innocent civilians. Edward R. Murrow, the renowned American journalist, is idolized as St. George slaying Senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1954 Murrow launched a direct assault on his television show “See it now” against McCarthy’s witch-hunt of suspected Communists. He attacks McCarthy’s use of innuendo, lies and fear to deny Americans their personal freedoms, leading to the downfall of McCarthy.
This print speaks of a dark age of American history and warns of what can happen when paranoia controls public policy.
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