92500_ca_object_representations_media_4188_largeThomas Hart Benton and assistants restoring his mural (profile). 1968. The New School Mural Collection. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 23 Sep 2014.

The New School for Social Research opened in 1919 with courses in the social sciences, social work, and public affairs, and yet it quickly became a welcome home for leading artists in music, dance, photography, theater, painting, film, writing, design, fashion — the list is long and impressive. Martha Graham danced in the basement; John Cage taught courses in sound and mushrooms; W.H. Auden taught poetry; and Berenice Abbott directed students to photograph the city. But the school may have had an even more important role as an advocate and platform. It offered the first course on film as a genre, in 1926, one on jazz in 1941, and hosted lecture-demonstrations on the nascent modern dance in the 1930s. Many events and courses developed criticism and theory of new artistic genres, tied artistic innovation to contemporary political and social issues, and promoted the arts as a means by which to research and contribute to society. The school connected the arts to the wider world. Artists gravitated here, in a school dedicated to “social research,” to connect the arts to education, to the city, and to the wider world.


Berenice Abbott. Communications and External Affairs (CEA). New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 23 Sep 2014.

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