Seeing America Culture and Society How have ideas, beliefs, and art shaped the United States? Teaching Guides Questions for looking closely and thinking critically, images to download, and more. Aaron Douglas, AspirationEdward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom all videos + essays for this theme A beacon of hope, Aaron Douglas's Aspiration One of two panels to survive the Texas Centennial, pointing to a future free of racism. American Kabuki Teraoka draws on Japan's brilliant history of art and kabuki theatre to create beauty from heartrending tragedy Hicks’ The Peaceable Kingdom as Pennsylvania parable The Peaceable Kingdom as Pennsylvania parable, a tale in the construction of history An African muslim among the founding fathers, Charles Willson Peale’s Yarrow Mamout How a portrait of an African muslim came to hang side-by-side with the founding fathers in one of America's earliest museums. Clovis culture The first clear evidence of human activity in North America are spearheads used to hunt large game. Cheap thrills: Coney Island during the Great Depression According to the artist (Reginald Marsh), at Coney Island, “The best show is the people themselves.” Terms and Issues in Native American Art Too many assumptions persist about Native American arts and cultures—start here to disentangle fact from fiction. An architect of the Enlightenment, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello In addition to being an politician, Jefferson was an ardent supporter and practitioner of classical architecture. About geography and chronological periods in Native American art “Native American” is a broad term encompassing many diverse groups. Premonition or memory? George Grosz’s Remembering Nazi violence forced many artists and intellectuals to leave Germany in the 1930s, and like Grosz, many came to the United States. Two sides of Lakota life on a beaded suitcase This one-of-a-kind suitcase tells the surprising story of an artist, a wedding, and a people. Thought the Puritans were dour? Think again! We think of Puritans aesthetics as restrained and humble, but this elaborate cupboard proves otherwise. 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, Ambulance Call Lawrence captures the vitality of Harlem and highlights the issues around access to medical care for people of color. 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? Wartime alienation in Edward Hopper's Nighthawks Hopper gives us a window into the urban isolation and anxiety of WWII-era New York. As contested as the nation: understanding American Gothic Though often thought of as a simple image of American values, this painting resists easy interpretation. Heavyweights: illicit boxing and racial tensions in New York City The violence and physicality of this boxing match reflect contemporary racial tensions in pre-WWI New York. Henry Ossawa Tanner: the first African-American celebrity artist Tanner studied in Philadelphia and Paris, and his style combined elements of American Realism and the Old Masters. Unveiling 19th-century American values in The Greek Slave Though at first glance this nude seems plucked from classical antiquity, it actually alludes to modern politics. Dignity in the face of injustice: The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas This dignified portrait of a Native leader belies the cruel treatment he endured at the time of its painting. Becoming a city: daily life in 1820, Brooklyn This snowy image of a bygone Brooklyn is sprinkled with farm animals, townspeople... and casual racism. A portrait and a poem: the making of Paul Revere's fame Well known in his own day as a silversmith, Revere is shown in casual attire, with a teapot brimming with meaning. Were they Freakes? The quiet ostentation of the early Puritans Forget what you think you know about Puritan fashion and get ready to Freake. Chaco Canyon: urban center of the Ancestral Puebloans Located in a high desert, Chaco’s residents dedicated much of their energy to controlling water for crops. Mesa Verde: carving a home from the cliffs Remarkable structures in the American Southwest were home to cliff-dwelling farmers until around 1300. 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. 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. Essay coming soon!