While deferential to corporate interests and the need to sell a product, Golden embraced both abstract form and Social Realist aesthetics in many of his campaigns, repeatedly commissioning his friend Ben Shahn, one of the most politically outspoken artists of his time. The socially engaged content of many of Golden’s campaigns speaks to the political dimension of his work, one that was nevertheless compatible with the corporate ideals of postwar mass culture.
Installation view, Revolution of the Eye, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, UMBC, September 2016.
(On left) Ben Shahn, James Frederick Douglass, 1965. Silkscreen on Paper. Private collection.
Ben Shahn’s painting and prints were characterized by strong social and political point of view. In this silkscreen print, he celebrates the African-American orator, social reformer, and activist, Frederick Douglass. After escaping from slavery, Douglass emerged as a central voice in the struggle for black freedom and equality. Known for his commanding oratory and anti-slavery writings, Douglass became a leader of the abolitionist movement.
Ben Shahn, Artist/William Golden, Art Director, Print advertisement for CBS, The Empty Studio, 1959
Ben Shahn, Artist/ William Golden, Art Director, Hamlet, 1959
Ben Shahn, proof for newspaper insertion on CBS program Fallout, 1958
Ben Shahn, Artist/William Golden, Art Director, Print advertisement for CBS, The Big Push, 1960