Seeing America

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.

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 advancements in medical care for and by 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.

A Landmark Decision: Penn Station and architectural heritage
A Landmark Decision: Penn Station and architectural heritage

New York put growth ahead of all else, resulting in the loss of important historic buildings, like Penn Station.

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.

Identity and civil rights in 1960s America
Identity and civil rights in 1960s America

Does the figure emerge from the stripes of the flag, or do they imprison him?