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American Art

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    Women's Rights Movement in the U.S.

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    American Civil War

  • Brady: Dunker Church and the Dead

    Brady: Dunker Church and the Dead
    Made in the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, this photograph shows how visual documentation took on a new level of authenticity with the arrival of photography. So fearsome was the fighting that in one nearby cornfield “the green corn that grew upon it looked as if it had been struck by a storm of bloody hail.”
  • Homestead Act enacted

    A homestead act is one of three United States federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title to an area called a "homestead" – typically 160 acres (65 hectares or one-fourth section) of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River.
  • Battle of Gettysburg

    The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's invasion of the North.
  • O'Sullivan: July 4th, 1863

    O'Sullivan: July 4th, 1863
    Slowly, over the misty fields of Gettysburg--as all reluctant to expose their ghastly horrors to the light--came the sunless morn, after the retreat by [General Robert. E.] Lee's broken army. Through the shadowy vapors, it was, indeed, a "harvest of death" that was presented; hundreds and thousands of torn Union and rebel soldiers--although many of the former were already interred--strewed the now quiet fighting ground, soaked by the rain, which for two days had drenched the country with its fit
  • Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    The assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln took place on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, and his battered Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Potomac.
  • Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On December 18, Secretary of State William H. Seward, in a proclamation, declared it to have been adopted. It was the first of the Reconstruction Amendments
  • Thomas Edison invents the light bulb

  • Muybridge: The Horse in Motion

    Muybridge: The Horse in Motion
    Sequence photography proved the ability of graphic images to record time-and-space relationships. Moving images became a possibility.
  • Sherman Antitrust Act enacted

    The Sherman Antitrust Act requires the United States federal government to investigate and pursue trusts, companies, and organizations suspected of violating the Act. It was the first Federal statute to limit cartels and monopolies, and today still forms the basis for most antitrust litigation by the United States federal government. However, for the most part, politicians were unwilling to refer to the law until Theodore Roosevelt's presidency.
  • Stieglitz: The Terminal

    Stieglitz: The Terminal
    Stieglitz took this picture using a small 4 x 5 camera, an instrument not considered at the time to be worthy of artistic photography. Unlike the unwieldy 8 x 10 view camera (which required a tripod), this camera gave Stieglitz greater freedom and mobility to roam the city and respond quickly to the ever-changing street life around him. The Terminal predicts by over a decade the radical transformation of the medium from painterly prints of rarified subjects to what the critic Sadakichi Hartmann
  • Ford Motor Company formed

  • Steichen: The Flatiron

    Steichen: The Flatiron
    In 1904, with the lessons of his first Paris sojourn still fresh in his mind, Steichen turned his camera to his newly adopted city and to the astonishingly tall, twenty-two-story skyscraper designed by the Chicago architect Daniel Burnham for a triangular lot at the intersection of Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and 23rd Street. In The Flatiron, Steichen's chromatic range consciously echoed Whistler's Nocturne paintings, and the branch jutting in from the picture edge recalls similar devices found in t
  • Stieglitz: The Steerage

    Stieglitz: The Steerage
    The Steerage began its life as a masterpiece four years after its creation, with Stieglitz's publication of it in a 1911 issue of Camera Work devoted exclusively to his photographs in the "new" style, together with a Cubist drawing by Picasso. Stieglitz loved to recount how the great painter had praised the collagelike dispersal of forms and shifting depths of The Steerage. Canonized retroactively, the photograph allowed Stieglitz to put his chosen medium on par with the experimental European pa
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation formed

  • RMS Titanic Sinks

    RMS Titanic was a passenger liner that struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, and sank on 15 April 1912, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
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    World War I

  • Strand: Abstraction, Twin Lakes, Connecticut

    Strand: Abstraction, Twin Lakes, Connecticut
    This picture is among the first photographic abstractions to be made intentionally. When Alfred Stieglitz published a variant of it in Camera Work, he praised Strand's results as "the direct expression of today." Porch shadows and tipped-over tables are not intrinsically modern, but Strand's picture of them is, for it does not depend upon recognizable imagery for its effect, but rather on the precise relations of forms within the frame.
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  • Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920.
  • Chaplin: The Gold Rush

    Chaplin: The Gold Rush
    The Gold Rush is a 1925 silent film comedy written, produced, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin in his Little Tramp role. The film also stars Georgia Hale, Mack Swain, Tom Murray, Henry Bergman, Malcolm Waite.
  • Demuth: My Egypt

    Demuth:  My Egypt
  • The Jazz Singer

    The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical film. The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of the "talkies" and the decline of the silent film era. Produced by Warner Bros. with its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, the movie stars Al Jolson, who performs six songs.
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    Great Depression

  • Ray: Jacqueline Goddard

    Ray: Jacqueline Goddard
    Man Ray had been one of the instigators of Dada in New York in the 1910s. Soon after his arrival in Paris in 1921, the randomness and irrationality of Dada began to be replaced by the fantasy and incongruity of Surrealism. Neither movement had been motivated by the production of visual artifacts; rather, both sought to give expression to the unconscious.
  • Wood: American Gothic

    Wood: American Gothic
    Wood's inspiration came from a cottage designed in the Gothic Revival style with a distinctive upper window and a decision to paint the house along with "the kind of people I fancied should live in that house." The painting shows a farmer standing beside his spinster daughter.
  • O'Keeffe: Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV

    O'Keeffe: Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV
    In 1930, Georgia O'Keeffe painted a series of six canvases depicting a jack-in-the-pulpit. The series begins with the striped and hooded bloom rendered with a botanist's care, continues with successively more abstract and tightly focused depictions, and ends with the essence of the jack-in-the-pulpit, a haloed black pistil standing alone against a black, purple, and gray field.
  • Japanese invades Manchuria

    The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began on September 19, 1931, when Manchuria was invaded by the Kwantung Army of the Empire of Japan immediately following the Mukden Incident. The Japanese established a puppet state, called Manchukoku, and their occupation lasted until the end of World War II.
  • Evans: Alabama Tenant Farmer Wife

    Evans: Alabama Tenant Farmer Wife
    Walker Evans made the vast majority of his Hale County photographs in and around the four-room cabin of Floyd and Allie Mae Burroughs, where he and James Agee lived on and off for several weeks in August 1936. The family owned nothing—not their home, land, mule, or farm tools, all of which they leased from their landlord. Burroughs was a cotton "sharecropper" or "halver"; at harvest time, he had to give his landlord half his cotton and corn crop, and pay off any other debts incurred during the y
  • Lange: Migrant Mother

    Lange: Migrant Mother
    The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration.
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    World War II

  • Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry make their cartoon debuts

  • Welles: Citizen Kane

    Welles: Citizen Kane
    Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. The film is considered by some important polls of critics to be the greatest of all time and is particularly praised for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure. Citizen Kane was Welles' first feature film. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories; it won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Herman Mankiewicz and Welles. It was released by RKO Pictures
  • Hopper: Nighthawks

    Hopper: Nighthawks
    Nighthawks is a 1942 painting by Edward Hopper that portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. It is considered Hopper's most famous painting, as well as one of the most recognizable in American art. Within months of its completion, it was sold to the Art Institute of Chicago for $3,000, and has remained there ever since.
  • Hiroshima

  • Nagasaki

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    Cold War

  • Pollock: Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)

    Pollock: Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)
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    McCarthyism/The Red Scare

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    Korean War

  • Johns: Flags

    Johns: Flags
    “One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag,” Johns has said of this work, “and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” Those materials included three canvases that he mounted on plywood, strips of newspaper, and encaustic paint—a mixture of pigment and molten wax that has formed a surface of lumps and smears. The newspaper scraps visible beneath the stripes and forty-eight stars lend this icon historical specificity.
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    African-American Civil Rights Movement

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    Vietnam War

  • Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956

    The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, was enacted on June 29, 1956, when Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law. With an original authorization of 25 billion dollars for the construction of 41,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System supposedly over a 20-year period, it was the largest public works project in American history through that time.
  • Rauschenberg – Monogram

    Rauschenberg – Monogram
  • Arbus: The Headless Woman

    Arbus: The Headless Woman
    This offbeat portrait is from an arresting but generally neglected series of photographs Arbus described as a "Horror Show" in a letter to her friend and advocate Walker Evans. Arbus discovered the hidden world of B-grade live theater between film screenings in the back rooms of cheap Times Square movie houses or at Hubert's Museum, a flea circus located in the basement of a Forty-second Street penny arcade. The Headless Woman serves as a subtle but sophisticated observation of how an effect
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency in the United States. The Cuban armed forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the invading combatants within three days.
  • Adams: Sierra Nevada, Winter Evening

    Adams: Sierra Nevada, Winter Evening
  • Warhol: Campbell's Soup Can

    Warhol: Campbell's Soup Can
  • Rauschenberg: First Landing Jump

    Rauschenberg: First Landing Jump
    "There is no reason not to consider the world as one gigantic painting," Rauschenberg said. He composed First Landing Jump from a rusted license plate, an enamel light reflector, a tire impaled by a street barrier, a man's shirt, a blue lightbulb in a can, and a black tarpaulin, as well as paint and canvas.
  • Assassination of John F. Kennedy

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    British Invasion

  • Smithson - Spiral Jetty

    Smithson - Spiral Jetty
    Built entirely of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks, earth, and water on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah, it forms a 1,500-foot-long (460 m), 15-foot-wide (4.6 m) counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake which is only visible when the level of the Great Salt Lake falls below an elevation of 4,197.8 feet.
  • Richard Nixon resigned the office of the presidency

  • Lucas: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

    Lucas: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
    Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film,written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the six-film saga. Groundbreaking in its use of special effects, unconventional editing, and science fiction/fantasy storytelling, the original Star Wars is one of the most successful and influential films.
  • Sherman: Untitled Film Still #7

    Sherman: Untitled Film Still #7
    Sherman began making these Untitled Film Stills in 1977, when she was twenty-three. The first six were an experiment: fan-magazine glimpses into the life (or roles) of an imaginary blonde actress, played by Sherman herself. The photographs look like movie stills – or perhaps like publicity pix – purporting to catch the blond bombshell in unguarded moments at home.
  • Simmons: Woman/Purple/Dress

    Simmons: Woman/Purple/Dress
  • Three Mile Island partial meltdown

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    Ronald Reagan As President

  • MTV launches

  • Disney: Tron

    Disney: Tron
    Tron is a 1982 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Lisberger, and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It stars Jeff Bridges as the protagonist Kevin Flynn.
  • Nintendo Entertainment System Launched

  • Space Shuttle Challenger accident

  • Chernobyl disaster

  • Oldenberg - Spoonbridge and Cherry

    Oldenberg - Spoonbridge and Cherry
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    George H. W. Bush As President

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    The Simpsons

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    Gulf War

  • USSR dissolves

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    Bill Clinton As President

  • Puryear - Bearing Witness

    Puryear - Bearing Witness
  • Gursky: 99 Cent

    Gursky: 99 Cent
    Andreas Gursky's spectacular large-scale photographs of frenzied stock markets, rock concerts, and designer shoe displays were like advertisements for the zeitgeist: digitally punched up, relentlessly exteriorized, and tailored for mass consumption.
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    George W. Bush As President

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    War on Terror

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    Iraq War

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    Barack Obama As President

  • Cai Guo-Qiang – Black Rainbow

    Cai Guo-Qiang – Black Rainbow
  • Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster