Cold War, media, and popular culture

Artists during this period asserted their individual identity, but also brought mass produced objects and mass media into their art.

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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.

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

A portrait of a president transformed by tragedy.

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.

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.

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.

Icon and irony: Jasper Johns, <em>Flag</em>
Icon and irony: Jasper Johns, Flag

The American flag is a potent symbol that has different meanings for different viewers.

From wire to weightlessness: Ruth Asawa, <em>Untitled</em>
From wire to weightlessness: Ruth Asawa, Untitled

Asawa was interned in World War II, but we must be careful about interpreting her artworks as related to that trauma.

Mass Consumerism, Warhol, and 1960s America
Mass Consumerism, Warhol, and 1960s America

Warhol’s art celebrates the consumerism and advertising that inundated American culture in the 1960s.