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Found 6,967 Collections


Environment and Culture

In this collection I have put together images that relate but also contradict one another based on two documentaries I have watched. The difference in location, environment, and the difference in culture between owners of Chinese restaurants and a chef in New York.

Stephanie Bonilla

Objects as Evidence to Answer Essential Questions

This collection was created for an online session entitled "Objects as Evidence to Answer Essential Questions" on 10/20/16. You can find the archived version of the session here:


DBQ Collection - Twesha Modi, Taylor Geppert, Jennie Morris

Prompt: Historians often consider the time period after the war of 1812 as the "Era of Good Feelings". Evaluate the validity of this statement considering the growth of nationalism and sectionalism that developed in the new republic from the 1800s to the 1840s.

Twesha Modi


Native American Baskets

Nilda Lopez

Photography: Black and White Portraits of Artists in the Hirshhorn Collection

Black and white portraiture depicting some of the artists in the Hirshhorn Masterworks collection on view, as well as other works in the collection. The following are the artists listed and an example of their work included in the collection. The dates listed below are for when each photograph was taken.

1. Helen Frankenthaler ("Painted on 21st Street") ca. 1950

2. Willem De Kooning ("Woman") 1946

3. Jackson Pollock ("Number 3, 1949: Tiger") 1950

4. Jean Dubuffet ("Limbour as a Crustacean") 1956

5. Yves Klein ("Untitled Anthropometry") 1961

6. Joan Mitchell ("Field For Skies") and Michael Goldberg ca. 1950

7. Joan Miro ("Woman before an Eclipse with her Hair Disheveled by the Wind") ca. 1930

8. Richard Diebenkorn ("Man and Woman in a Large Room") 1963

9. Elaine De Kooning and Franz Kline ("Portrait of J.H. Hirshhorn") 1957

10. Auguste Rodin ("Iris, Messenger of the Gods") 1904

11. Alexander Calder ("29 Discs") ca. 1960

Alexandra Baran

Hirshhorn Masterworks - The Body in Modern and Contemporary Art

Different interpretations of the body have been utilized by artists since the beginning of civilization, as a way to explore a sense of identity and the nature of representation. The human form has been depicted in many different ways since the time of traditional portraiture.

Arriving at the third floor of the museum, we are immediately confronted by Ron Mueck's huge, sculpture "Big Man", done in 2000. He is positioned in the corner, brooding and scowling at the viewers, who look back at him in amazement. His skin is so lifelike it seems to breathe, covered in imperfections like wrinkles, blue veins, cellulite, and age spots. He is larger than life, making the precise detail of his face and body amplified. This invites close inspection, forcing us to consider our own human flaws.

"Big Man" has an incredible story behind him. Mueck is Australian born artist working in London, creating hyperrealistic sculptures, usually with manipulated scale. His pieces are either much smaller or much larger than a typical human being. He uses this to add emotional emphasis: many of his pieces explore themes of loneliness, isolation, vulnerability, and transition. Mueck began working in special effects for TV and movies, most notably on the film "Labrynth", and on "Sesame Street". His work took a sharp turn when he exhibited his piece "Dead Dad" at "Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection" at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. A depiction of his own father after death, his size slightly reduced, it had a strong impact on viewers due to the figure's striking realism and dark subject matter.

"Big Man" actually originated from a mistake. Mueck was working with a model who struggled to execute the pose he wanted, due to his larger size. In a moment of frustration, the model sat in the corner, with his hands holding his head in annoyance. Mueck was struck by the intense paradox of this scene, a grown man appearing as a child being punished. He realized that this pose was exactly what he needed for his piece. Mueck usually doesn't work from life models, but this was an exception. The piece physically represents his sitter at the time: bald, hairless, and naked, with a strange yellow cast over him. "Big Man" was actually created in only four weeks, according to Mueck. In determining the scale, he photographed the original model and drew a small figure looking up at it. Realizing the potential power of the piece at this size, he decided to make him much larger. "Big Man" is made up of a number of different materials. First, Mueck creates sketches and clay models in order to determine the form. The form is molded from the original clay model in either fiberglass or silicone. Afterwards, he paints in detail and sculpts the eyes for his last step. The piece's placement within the gallery is pivotal, as he rests up against the corner and gazes out in annoyance. Mueck doesn't usually work from people as models - he generally uses photographs, anatomy texts, and his own imagination.

The next piece is by Willem De Kooning, titled "Two Women in the Country", done in 1954. When we approach the painting, we are initially aware of the figures due to their recognizable yet obviously distorted bodies. We can see exaggerated breasts, torsos, disproportionate legs, and faces that have muddy features, hidden in paint. Their bodies are a range of different warm colors: pinks, orange, and yellow, splashed against a green background. De Kooning was an artist from the Netherlands, coming to New York City and working in commercial art doing illustration. Eventually he abandoned this practice, painting as an abstract expressionist, stuck in between this label and experimenting with figuration. Featured on the backside of "Woman I" (1948) by De Kooning is an entirely black and white abstract piece, materializing his inner questions about style. Many people criticized his portrait series of women as misogynistic and harsh, portraying them with huge bulging eyes, teeth bared, and oversized breasts. The work has often been interpreted as De Kooning's catharsis and anger towards women. Many collectors have noted the holes and lacerations made in his works due to a very violent way of working. De Kooning has explained his works as interpretations of female icons. He has also stated that the "Women' series is a response to the traditional image of women in western art. Whether in ancient art or pop culture, he was interested with the images of women depicted throughout time.

Walking through, we approach a piece titled "Entrails Carpet" done in 1995 by Mona Hatoum. The piece is situated in the center of a gallery on the floor. Hatoum is from Lebanon, working in London making sophisticated sculptural pieces that deal directly with the body. This piece is made out of silicone rubber, an off white color, and has some opalescent properties as it interacts with light. Upon looking at it, we can see that what appears to be intestines weaving in and out like a traditional woven rug. It feels unsettling and paradoxical: sterile yet violent. Associating a rug or carpet with the comfort of home, Hatoum brings another element to it. We are immediately confronted with the inner working of our bodies, bringing us to awareness. Hatoum has created this piece in response to her previous years living in Palestine. She has detached familiarity and comfort from a domestic object because for her, it was never a place of reliability or safety, always in flux.

The last piece we'll look at is "Untitled (Anthropometry)" by Yves Klein, done in 1960. This piece is actually a remnant of a performance done by Klein in Paris. Insistent on the creation of a painting without the use of a brush or his own direct touch, he applied bright ultramarine pigment onto the bodies of young women and directed them onto the paper. The woman becomes like a stamp, however each one has it's own interesting pattern coinciding with their pressure upon contact. Different textures and thicknesses are created throughout the five forms. The paint began at their shoulders, and stopped a little bit before the knee, emphasizing the center of the form. Klein ended up putting a patent on this shade of blue in 1979, because he used it so frequently as a way to tie his work together. The color alludes to spirituality and infinity, relating to the sky. At this particular performance, Klein and his guests dressed formally, and listened to his piece "Monotone Symphony", where a single chord was played for twenty minutes, and nothing else but absolute silence for the other half of that duration.

Alexandra Baran

Robert Irwin - All The Rules Will Change 2016 Highlight Tour

Robert Irwin is a California based artist working directly with the idea of optical perception in art. Born in 1928 in Long Beach California, he worked alongside many other artists dealing with groundbreaking works in what was called the "Light and Space" movement of the 60's. Irwin began his career in the 50's and continues working until this day, at 87 years old. This major retrospective of the artist shows the changes and development in his work. Each work we will look at shows that Irwin is concerned with the conscious act of looking, and questioning the nature of art itself.

Starting out with the handheld paintings, which were done in the late 50's, Irwin is working alongside the abstract expressionists. This includes famous modern artists like Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Willem De Kooning. Abstract expressionism is characterized by action packed, gestural marks that focus on color and form rather than representation of a tangible subject. The movement was concerned with emotion, catharsis, and the actual process behind the work, almost like a performance. The finished piece was a remnant of bodily expression. (See - "Lavender Mist"by Jackson Pollock, 1950.) Irwin, already a free thinker from the beginning of his career, decides to create abstract expressionist works that are considerably smaller than other artists working at the time, noting their "unfashionably small scale." Most artists were working large scale in an effort to use most of their body in the process. He creates a more intimate, personal aspect to the pieces, calling them "handheld" paintings. Obviously, since we are in a museum setting, they are displayed under glass for us to look at. However, in their original context, they are meant to be physically handled, turned, and looked at closely with a connection to our bodies. Each work is composed of dense, swirling oil paint in different shapes and formations. If we look at "Untitled", which seems to be mostly black, we can see many subtle different layers of color if we spend some time with it. Hues of orange and blue come to the muddy surface upon close looking. The wooden frames were built by Irwin himself, with the painting emerging above them, almost like a topographic map. The frame becomes a compositional element within itself, setting the painting in something definite. The works are heavily textural and almost three dimensional. Irwin is building up paint in certain areas, and scratching into it in others. He claimed that many of these pieces were completed in just one session, which was typical of abstract expressionist practices. In their original context, these works establish a relationship with the painting and the viewer. Viewing them at different angles, we can continue to pick out many different nuances in each work. Irwin was influenced by Zen Buddhist principles as well as many other American avant - garde artists, which influenced his acutely deliberate decisions and awareness in his work.

Moving on to the late line paintings, and passing through the early line paintings, we can see Irwin has abandoned his abstract expressionist style of working. He is interested in the simplification of a painting, reducing it to figure ground relationships established by the horizontal line. This reduction completely strips the painting of any representational subject, and introduces color and line. The paint is much thinner, with no textural definition. He lessens his emphasis on brushstroke which was implemented in the earlier line paintings. Now, we have no external associations to liken the painting to. While many of the earlier line paintings have titles, ("Crazy Otto") he decides to completely rid his work of any associations. Each painting depicts parallel lines, with usually only two colors. While the early line paintings had evidence of brushstroke in the background, the late line paintings are more refined. They have also increased in size, dominating our field of vision, and lack a frame. When actively looking at these, your eyes are continuously shifting focus, because holding both lines in your vision is impossible. Irwin was known to experiment with different colored strips of tape in varied lengths, to visualize different combinations. The last piece displayed in the gallery of "late line paintings" appears to be completely orange at first glance, but is subtly marked with two lines of another shade of orange. Large enough to consume our peripheral vision, it's an interesting optical experience as our eyes shift around the work. It's important to note that Irwin has dropped the use of the frame, and is exposing raw canvas on the sides for the first time.

In the next gallery, we jump to an incredible advancement in his artistic career: the dot painting. Upon entering the gallery, it appears to be a blank, aged canvas hanging on the wall. Walking a little bit closer, there appears to be a circular haze of light or energy emanating from the piece: in yellow, pink, and maybe purple. If we walk up to the line, and look closely, we will see hundreds of tiny dots in blue and faint red covering the canvas. The dots are more concentrated towards the center, and fade out towards the edges, with only the red continuing into the corners. The edges are left blank, which makes it appear to recede backwards. Irwin is using complementary colors that nearly cancel each other out the farther we step back from the piece. One thing to notice is that the canvas is shaped in a convex form, with the center bulging outwards towards the viewer. This emphasizes the vague, circular form of the piece when we view it from the middle of the gallery. Coinciding with the lack of dots on the edges, the shaped canvas brings the center into our field of vision while the edges hold back. The canvas is mounted onto a piece that elevates it off of the wall. The viewer's experience is directly influenced by the movement of their body within the space, and the amount of time they spend with the piece. Advancing into his career, Irwin decides to leave many of his pieces untitled, so they aren't associated with anything specific. By doing this, he leaves the interpretation of the piece up to the viewer's direct connection with it. This is also the first time that he shapes the canvas, giving a more sculptural element to the piece, which precedents the series of discs he creates afterwards.

The dot painting is a great precedent for the discs, as it introduces the convex circular form, and the obvious optical illusion that changes according to where you're standing in the gallery. For this tour, I'm focusing specifically on the "Untitled" piece from 1969. Irwin is using hand hammered acrylic to create a sculptural work, finally abandoning traditional painting in a bold step forward. We can also observe that Irwin isn't concerned with making a work that resembles a representational subject. We are confronted by a simple, pure, circular form that seems to blend in and out of it's surroundings. Irwin is carefully applying the paint in a gradient like form around the circular shape, with the disc laying horizontally on a lazy susan. The lazy susan ensured that Irwin was applying even layers of paint in concentric circles of varying colors. He used a paint gun that sprayed the acrylic paint on in a subtle, matte texture. The band in the center appears to be darker towards the middle of the piece, with the edges blurring into the background. The piece is backlit by a strong white fluorescent background, as well as another powerful light above it. When looking at "Untitled" straight on, we are unaware that it's sculptural at first. It seems to float in an indiscernible space, receding backwards yet also hovering towards us. When viewing the piece from the side, Irwin's entire illusion explains itself: the piece is mounted on an acrylic tube, attached to the wall behind it, propelling the disc forward. The entire room acts as a backdrop for the piece in this sense: the walls are bright, blank and sterile, the focal point of the entire gallery being the piece itself. Many of the wall texts are difficult to find throughout these rooms, because they were purposely set aside from the piece, in small text on a wall opposite from it. This decision was made to avoid detracting from the work itself.

Irwin's use of the distortion of space was implemented in his next artistic decision: abandoning his studio and working with installation and site specific pieces. For our last piece, we enter what seems to be an entirely blank room. With careful looking and movement throughout the space, we are able to make out what seems to be a straight wall, with a strange sense of depth to it. From looking one way, it's perceived as flat, but approaching it straight on, it seems as if we can jump right into the space. This is a piece created specifically for the Hirshhorn Museum, titled "Square the Circle." The Hirshhorn is a circular institution, and he is simply drawing a line through it, altering our perception of the space.The piece is composed of 120 feet of white transparent fabric called "scrim". This is a lightweight, fragile material that is generally used in theatre production. It is attached to a thin wooden framework with staples, weaving in between the ceiling. Looking into the corners of the room, we can see a dizzying void of white space. We are unsure of it's dimensions, where it starts and where it ends. Irwin plays on the viewer's expectations of art, creating a highly sophisticated work that seems to be hidden within the walls of the galleries, waiting to be found with patience and time.
Alexandra Baran

Travers - The Rise of Industrialism

This collection is an adaptation of a presentation on Industrialization that introduces students to the forces and concepts related to England (and other European countries) transition from pre-industrial to industrial societies.

Brian Ausland

Hubert H. Humphrey

Shana Crosson


Various Items Centered Upon WWI
James Cazier

10 Causes to the Civil War

In this collection, students will examine to what extent each of these events caused the Civil War. After reviewing the informaiton, they will be responsible for ranking these events from mostly effected the Civil War (1) to barely effected the Civil War (10).

Tyler Hofer

Victory Mail


Admiral Nimitz


Philippine-American War

A collection of images relating to the Philippine-American War and the subsequent American Occupation of the Philippines.


Kirby Araullo

Political Cartoons

Collection of Political Cartoons from the late 1800s/early 1900s (Mostly Imperialism)

Matthew Stagl

Middle Passage

This collection includes primary source images and a PDF text that will help students to understand the conditions enslaved Africans experienced during the Middle Passage.

Rachel Foltz

Columbus Day: Should this still be a thing?

As the classroom rhyme goes, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and discovered America. But there is more to the story of the explorer we celebrate with a federal holiday on the second Monday of every October. As historians have continued to learn and write more about the real life of Christopher Columbus, controversy has arisen over the validity of honoring the explorer as a hero.

Molly Chester

Was FDR a Civil Rights Champion?

Focuses on FDR's record on equal rights. His legacy on civil rights has plenty of positive (increased job opportunities for African-Americans) and unfortunately a good deal of negative (Japanese internment) #teachinginquiry

Jeff West

A House Divided: Photography in the Civil War

How does photography of the Civil War inform us about this period? This teaching collection includes the lesson plan, A House Divided: Photography of the Civil War, published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Students examine Civil War photographs, write captions, and discuss how viewing photographs enhances your understanding of historical events and concepts.
Stephanie Norby

Cultural Conversations

National Portrait Gallery Perspectives in Portraiture

Christy Ting

Communes, Counterculture, and the Back to the Land Movement

This collection includes a variety of photographs taken by Lisa Law. Students will examine the photographs and a few artifacts and try to draw conclusions about the ways in which the commune or back-to-the-land movement challenged the norms of traditional United States society in the 1960s and 1970s. A link to an exhibit website is include and allows students to check their assumptions, and students are asked to compare elements of the counterculture with that of mainstream 1960s and 1970s culture.

Tags: counterculture, commune, hippie, granola, back to nature, communal living, co-op, cooperative, sixties, seventies, Woodstock, change over time, compare, ashram, silent majority

Kate Harris


Humanity has always struggled with the concept of crime and punishment. In the novel, Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, the human issue of punishment is examined through the viewpoint of Raskolnikov's tortured soul. What crime deserves what punishment has been a debate throughout history and into modern times. Society's view of morality has changed the discussion over time. Use the historical images, art, and discussion prompts to guide your debate and focus your discussion about the role of crime and punishment in a society.

Patrica King

Industrial Revolution

A collection on the Industrial Revolution made for a professional development session at DCPS.

George Washington: A Mythical Being

In my lesson, I projected my collection through AppleTV on a screen in the front of class. I tried to play on the students' imagination and have them think about whom this character could be. Their objective was to point out specific details in the image and voice them to class. I did not have them begin guessing who the "Mythical Being" was until we got to the 7th slide. The farther we progressed, the students began to put more and more clues together. This was a good anticipatory set to our cartoon activity pertaining to George Washington's 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior.

Jourdan Englert
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