Wonders of our Time
Not on view
Sheet: 16 1/8 × 23 5/8in. (41 × 60 cm) Image: 11 9/16 × 15 1/16in. (29.4 × 38.3 cm)
Published by WPA/FAP--New York Project
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Print Committee
Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate
Social realist Ida Abelman worked throughout the Depression for the Works Progress Administration, completing lithographs and larger public murals. Much of her deeply political work presented glimpses of the urban poor, among whom she counted herself. Her art also incorporated architectural elements excerpted from New York’s landscape, including the Brooklyn Bridge, subway platforms, and the elevated train tracks that rose above downtown streets. Wonders of Our Time shows a mob rushing into and out of a crowded subway car, with the irony of the work’s title forcefully conveyed by the collapsed man at the image’s center. Influenced by Surrealism, Abelman imbued this everyday scene with a dreamy sense of foreboding and aggression, as human bodies strain against the mechanization and progress such technological advances were meant to bring.