The Art of Labor

April 30, 2015

Hanging on the wall above my desk as I write is a poster of Diego Rivera’s sumptuous painting, “The Flower Carrier,” with a peasant bent double, an overfilled, oversized basket on his back, packed with splendid pink and purple flowers, capturing the burdens and beauty of labor. To me, it’s hard to imagine labor or a labor movement without art—without novels like “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Hard Times,” without songs like “Joe Hill” and “Union Maid,” without paintings like Millet’s “Man with a Hoe” and Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters,” without films like “Norma Rae,” “On the Waterfront” and “Harlan County U.S.A.”

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