Sea Rescue in the Dark
This 1997 painting has been compared to "The Raft of the Medusa," a French painting from 1818. Note the through line starting in the lower left with the man's arm, continuing through the rope to the upper right, and crossing a line set by the waves. Also note: multiple artists' signatures in the bottom left corner, showing this was a collaborative work.
This North Korean Art Is More Than Propaganda
Socialist Realism isn’t just pictures of happy workers and brave soldiers.
It’s a little unexpected to find yourself staring at a work of North Korean propaganda in Washington, D.C. It’s even more unexpected to find the artistry of the work completely transfixing.
A new show of North Korean Socialist Realism paintings at American University rewards long, close looks. Approaching the work, there’s the initial feeling of being overwhelmed by the size—many are more than 10 feet wide. Then there’s the puzzlement that comes from seeing scenes that, to anyone outside of North Korea, seem either overly melodramatic or entirely implausible—workers smiling as they tap water from a dam, a soldier on horseback leaping over a burning railroad bridge, a man holding onto a boat ready to fire his pistol at an