This new survey provides a complete history of American art and architecture from its seventeenth-century colonial beginnings to the latest installation and video work. Structured chronologically, the book defines the characteristics of the different periods and highlights the consistent forms, techniques, and styles that mark the art and architecture as distinctively American. Michael J. Lewis charts the ways in which American artists and architects both adopted and diverged from earlier European models to create an original visual language of their own. He also shows how that language in turn came to influence and eventually dominate art and architecture around the world.
Professor Lewis integrates discussions of both buildings and works of visual art, revealing the shared social and aesthetic concerns that underlie the two. Vernacular, religious, secular, and corporate architecture appears alongside paintings, sculpture, photography, and new-media art. All the major American artists and works from the seventeenth century to today are included, such as epic history paintings by Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley; sublime landscapes by Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, and Frederick Church; society portraits by John Singer Sargent; groundbreaking abstract expressionist and pop art by Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, and Andy Warhol; and challenging sculptural, installation, and video works from more recent years by Robert Gober, Fred Wilson, and Matthew Barney.
In architecture, dozens of different building types are illustrated and discussed, from the earliest colonial houses and churches to the most spectacular modernist and postmodernist houses, stations, museums, and iconic skyscrapers.