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Ben Shahn: If Not Now, When?

Ben Shahn: If Not Now, When?

April 9, 2017 to August 27, 2017
On View

Lithuanian-born American artist Ben Shahn (1898-1969) was a committed activist and humanist. Using social realism to protest political attitudes of the time, his work reveals a passionate search for social justice and an engagement with questions about his spiritual and ethnic identity. He explored polemic themes of modern urban life, organized labor, immigration, and injustice.

Ben Shahn: If Not Now, When? includes one of the last projects on which Shahn worked before his death, a series of 24 lithographs illustrating a passage from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (1910).

All works in this exhibit are from the Spertus collection.

Main Image

Ben Shahn, Many Things, from the portfolio For the Sake of a Single Verse, 1968
Lithograph, 22 1/2 x 17 11/16 inches
Spertus Institute Collection
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert A. Bernhard


Join Dr. Susan Chevlowe, organizer of the Jewish Museum, New York's 1998 exhibit, Ben Shahn, Common Man, Mythic Vision, as she leads a discussion about transformative and relevant power of Ben Shahn’s art.
Sunday, April 23 at 4 pm

Exhibit Hours

Sunday 10 am- 5 pm
Monday-Wednesday 9 am- 5pm
Thursday 9 am- 6 pm
Friday 9 am- 3 pm

Spertus Institute is closed to the public on Saturdays and Jewish and secular holidays.

The Ground Level Arts Lab is made possible in part through the generous support of the Harry and Sadie Lasky and Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundations.