Active from 1940 to 1948, PM was a progressive New York City daily tabloid newspaper committed to the politics of labor, social justice, and antifascism—and it prioritized the intelligent and critical deployment of pictures and their perception as paramount in these campaigns. With PM as its main focus, Artist as Reporter offers a substantial intervention in the literature on American journalism, photography, and modern art. The book considers the journalistic contributions to PM of such signal American modernists as the curator Holger Cahill, the abstract painter Ad Reinhardt, the photographers Weegee and Lisette Model, and the filmmaker, photographer, and editor Ralph Steiner. Each of its five chapters explores one dimension of the tabloid’s complex journalistic activation of modernism’s potential, showing how PM inserted into daily print journalism the most innovative critical thinking in the fields of painting, illustration, cartooning, and the lens-based arts. Artist as Reporter promises to revise our own understanding of midcentury American modernism and the nature of its relationship to the wider media and public culture.
Jason E. Hill is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware. He is the coeditor of Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of News.
“Jason E. Hill approaches this great topic with masterful intellect and knowledge of PM, the historically exceptional newspaper. Such a book is long overdue and will be energetically studied not only by the old-timers who still recall the paper, but also by a new generation who have been inspired by fairly recent Occupy protests and now the very considerable numbers drawn to the anti-establishment.”—Sally Stein, Associate Professor Emerita, Department of Art History and PhD Program in Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine
“This exceptional book will make a significant contribution to scholarship on the history of photography and will reinvent the burgeoning field of periodical studies. By looking closely at the realm of mass culture that some critics at the time (and today!) dismissed as kitsch, Jason Hill has found photographic, graphic, and textual experimentation rivaling that of contemporary artists in its sophistication.”—Andrés Mario Zervigón, Associate Professor of the History of Photography, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey