ABFFE Revives BEA Tradition With Steelworkers Art

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is reviving the BookExpo America (BEA) tradition of creating a souvenir T-shirt and poster based on a famous work of art that has been humorously altered by including books. This year's art is based on the famous 1932 photograph of steelworkers eating lunch on a girder suspended high above New York City.

"We've removed their lunch and given them books to read," Chris Finan, ABFFE president, explained. The T-shirts ($15) and posters ($10) will be sold at the ABFFE booth in the Javits Convention Center's Crystal Palace Lobby. All proceeds benefit ABFFE, the bookseller's voice in the fight against censorship.

The photo was taken by Charles C. Ebbets during construction of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. It shows the steelworkers sitting 800 feet about Fifth Avenue with Central Park in the background. In place of their lunch boxes and newspapers, the steelworkers hold color versions of books and magazines with a building theme, including Three Little Pigs, The Fountainhead, House of the Seven Gables, and A Painted House. One construction worker even reads House Beautiful.

This is the first spoof of a famous photograph. Previous ABFFE convention souvenirs were based on paintings by Van Gogh, Seraut, Hopper, Whistler, and Toulouse-Lautrec.