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View Magazine and the Mass Visual Culture of World War II

Department of Art and Art History, Knox College, 2 East South Street, Galesburg, IL 61401-4999, USA
Received: 1 January 2020 / Revised: 2 March 2020 / Accepted: 5 March 2020 / Published: 26 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue World War, Art, and Memory: 1914 to 1945)
Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the American government impressed upon the media industry and corporate advertising the cooperative need to boost morale and enlist nationalist support for the war effort. Public opinion was shaped through an active campaign of visual propaganda and media censorship in which the social trauma of war, in particular, representations of death and destructive disorder, was erased from official news reports. However, avant-garde art and writing in View magazine during the early 1940s can be analyzed as a radical form of counter-discourse that challenged the media’s representation of the war. View had been founded in 1940 by the poet Charles Henri Ford, who vowed to create a magazine devoted to what he called the “new journalism”, a form of international reporting by poets and visual artists that would provide visionary critical insight on the forthcoming political catastrophe in Europe. Lacking their own publishing forum, a number of Surrealist émigrés and American adherents of Surrealism gravitated towards View. As this article will examine, Surrealist imagery and prose in View evoked a profound sense of the bodily trauma and physical destruction omitted from mass media, subverting the government’s highly sanitized and ideologically manipulated representations of World War II. View Full-Text
Keywords: World War II; surrealism; media censorship; war propaganda; Charles Henri Ford; Pierre Mabille; Roger Caillois; Kurt Seligmann; Joseph Cornell; André Masson World War II; surrealism; media censorship; war propaganda; Charles Henri Ford; Pierre Mabille; Roger Caillois; Kurt Seligmann; Joseph Cornell; André Masson
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Gilbert, G. View Magazine and the Mass Visual Culture of World War II. Arts 2020, 9, 41.

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