About John Murphy
John Murphy, curator — Gallery Talk for Blacklisted: William Gropper’s Capriccios (Block Museum of Art)
I have a PhD in Art History from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). My research interests include American and European Arts and Crafts, decorative arts, modernism, printmaking and the history of socialist art. My dissertation investigates the socialist-utopian dimensions of early 20th century American Arts & Crafts communities. I was a Dissertation Fellow at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Wilmington, DE and a 2014-2015 ACLS/Luce Fellow in American art. With Dr. Jill Bugajski I co-curated The Left Front: Radical Art in the “Red Decade, 1929-1940 (Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 2014; traveled to New York University’s Grey Gallery in January 2015). I also curated an exhibition of William Gropper’s Capriccios (a portfolio of 50 lithographs inspired by Gropper’s having been “blacklisted” during the McCarthy era) for the Block Museum’s Katz Gallery in the spring of 2013. Curating those exhibitions, along with reading William Morris’s impassioned essays about art and socialism, have inspired my own interest in the history and theory of “socialist” art—what it is and what it might look like.