In Ben Shahn’s grisly painting The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti (1931–32), a trio of stone-faced Massachusetts bureaucrats stands over the corpses of two Italian-American anarchists recently executed on dubious murder charges. For a friend of mine, the deathly history painting suggested the opportunity for some lively quarantine family fun. She restaged the composition as a tableau vivant. In an image of the result she posted online, she and her young daughter (joined by their cat in the tell-tale red collar of Shahn’s central figure) don mustaches and dark clothes while presiding over stuffed animals–cum–martyred radicals in storage boxes repurposed as coffins.

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The Painter Lee Krasner Has Long Been Eclipsed by Her Much More Famous Artist Husband. Now, a New Book Is Rewriting Art History on Her Terms

In this excerpt from the book More than a Muse, which highlights creative women who have been overshadowed by their more famous spouses, see how the artist Lee Krasner worked her way up to the apex of New York’s art scene, only to often find herself reduced to the role of Jackson Pollock’s wife.

Coming up as an artist during the Great Depression was a crippling financial struggle for Krasner, as she came from a working class background, there was no family money to fall back on. Even if she could get a gallery show, people could barely afford to buy bread, let alone an oil painting. Her hours as a nightclub waitress and model didn’t provide enough to get by, so she took a job with the Federal Art Project, part of the United States Government’s New Deal.

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