Modern Times

  • Ralph Fasanella, Modern Times, 1966, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © 1966, Estate of Ralph Fasanella, Gift of Maurice and Margo Cohen, Birmingham, MI, 2002.10

Exhibition Label

By the mid-1960s, Fasanella was disheartened by the arrogance and self-centeredness that, to him, defined the counterculture movement. Modern Times proposes a futuristic urban scene in which an impersonal and technological society has displaced one of humanity and unity.

Fasanella completed this work following Pope Paul VI’s 1965 visit to Yankee Stadium. In it he contrasts humanistic subjects such as the papal visit, images of workers, protesters, strikers, and returning soldiers with the detached, intellectual side of society—the worlds of science, technology, and fine arts. Fasanella felt the elitist art world had pigeonholed him as “primitive and stupid.” He ardently believed that art didn’t have to be aloof or conceptual; it was a tool to be wielded like a hammer.

Modern Times
On View
Not on view.
49 3/4 x 104 in. (126.4 x 264.1 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Maurice and Margo Cohen, Birmingham, MI

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Cityscape – imaginary
  • Figure group
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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