1945 – 1980

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videos + essays

Over the next two years, Seeing America will grow to include 100 videos, 18 essays, quizzes, discussion questions and lesson plans.

Jess, <em>If All the World Were Paper and All the Water Sink</em>
Jess, If All the World Were Paper and All the Water Sink

From the Manhattan Project to nursery rhymes, a collision of art and science.

A mine disaster and those left behind: Ben Shahn’s <em>Miners’ Wives</em>
A mine disaster and those left behind: Ben Shahn’s Miners’ Wives

An explosion in a mine kills 111, Shahn captures the devastation of those left behind.

Homage to JFK: Rauschenberg’s <em>Retroactive I</em>
Homage to JFK: Rauschenberg’s Retroactive I

A portrait of a president transformed by tragedy.

Cleaning the museum—maintenance art
Cleaning the museum—maintenance art

The artist asks us if maintaining can be as important as creating.

Making an icon: JFK and the power of media
Making an icon: JFK and the power of media

Go backstage at the 1960 Democratic National Convention with photographer Gary Winogrand.

The Berlin Wall as a political symbol
The Berlin Wall as a political symbol

This Cold War icon was much more than just a barrier between East and West.

Abstract Expressionism in Cold War America
Abstract Expressionism in Cold War America

Spirituality and transcendence were important postwar themes expressed in Rothko's work.

A Harlem street scene by Jacob Lawrence, <em>Ambulance Call</em>
A Harlem street scene by Jacob Lawrence, Ambulance Call

Lawrence captures the vitality of Harlem and highlights the issues around access to medical care for people of color.

Unlikely icon: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Unlikely icon: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

A powerful accumulation of names is inscribed on slabs of reflective stone that cuts into the earth on the Mall.

Protesting the Vietnam War, with a giant lipstick
Protesting the Vietnam War, with a giant lipstick

This sculpture, installed on the Yale campus during Vietnam War protests, was never meant to be permanent.

Transforming and honoring the environment at <em>Spiral Jetty</em>
Transforming and honoring the environment at Spiral Jetty

Drought and rain govern when this work of art in Utah’s Great Salt Lake can be seen.

Wartime alienation in Edward Hopper’s <em>Nighthawks</em>
Wartime alienation in Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks

Hopper gives us a window into the urban isolation and anxiety of WWII-era New York.