Benton is generally known for being the crusty anti-Modernist teacher of Jackson Pollock, so it's somewhat ironic that his epic 10-panel mural, America Today, was commissioned in 1930 by New York’s New School for Social Research for the boardroom of its International Style building on West 12th Street. Even more ironic is the work's depiction of life during the country's explosively modern Jazz Age, though the painting was created at the onset of the Great Depression. Nevertheless, it is a classic of the mural form and one of Benton's masterpieces. For years, the work was installed in the lobby of the old Equitable Building on Seventh Avenue; it was recently donated to the Met by the AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. It makes its debut here in its new, and presumably permanent, home.
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