1980 to now

It's never been harder to define "art" than it is today, but one thing is certain — artists are always having a conversation with the time they live in.

videos + essays

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

Turning Uncle Tom’s Cabin upside down, Alison Saar’s Topsy
Turning Uncle Tom’s Cabin upside down, Alison Saar’s Topsy

A Greek myth and the American anti-Slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin combine to upend our own contemporary myths

An unflinching memorial to Civil Rights martyrs, Thornton Dial’s <em>Blood and Meat</em>
An unflinching memorial to Civil Rights martyrs, Thornton Dial’s Blood and Meat

An unflinching memorial to civil rights martyrs by the contemporary artist Thorton Dial

The landscape remade, Thiebaud’s <em>Ponds and Streams</em>
The landscape remade, Thiebaud’s Ponds and Streams

Can the commonplace working farmland of California's Sacramento River Valley be a place of of breathtaking beauty?

American Kabuki
American Kabuki

Teraoka draws on Japan's brilliant history of art and kabuki theatre to create beauty from heartrending tragedy

Light, time, and transcendence in James Turrell’s <em>Skyscape</em>
Light, time, and transcendence in James Turrell’s Skyscape

A viewing station for sunrise and sunset, Turrell’s work manipulates light, time, and perception.

The Culture Wars and Richard Serra’s <em>Tilted Arc</em>
The Culture Wars and Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc

Who should be the arbiter of taste—the person on the street, the artist, the courts?

“That’s the deal you gave us,” trade myths and native land
“That’s the deal you gave us,” trade myths and native land

Smith created this in 1992, responding to the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in North America.

Television nation—Nam June Paik’s <em>Electronic Superhighway</em>
Television nation—Nam June Paik’s Electronic Superhighway

The “father of video art” argued that electronic communication, not transportation, unites the modern world.

Carrie Mae Weems, <em>Untitled (Woman Feeding Bird)</em>, from <em>The Kitchen Table Series</em>
Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled (Woman Feeding Bird), from The Kitchen Table Series

Weems confronts identity, family, and the myth of home in this iconic series of photographs.

The Trail of Tears, Titus Kaphar’s <em>The Cost of Removal</em>
The Trail of Tears, Titus Kaphar’s The Cost of Removal

Kaphar takes a violent history and renders it visible in this modified portrait of Andrew Jackson.

Nari Ward, <em>We the People</em> (black version)
Nari Ward, We the People (black version)

Hundreds of shoelaces form just three words. Here, the artist takes an abstract idea and makes it immediate.

Speaking to past and present, Clarissa Rizal’s Resilience Robe
Speaking to past and present, Clarissa Rizal’s Resilience Robe

This prestigious garment follows a traditional design passed down through generations of indigenous Alaskans.