Cultural Change and Shifting Views of America

Amber B. Williamson


February 15, 2016
Jamie Welch

Cultural Change and Shifting Views of America

In 1893, Chicago started an international fair that staged from May to
October. They called this, The Chicago World's fair. The fair started out
by celebrating the discovery of the new world by Christopher Columbus. It
also celebrated the recovery of the Great Fire of 1871. This ambitious
event paved the pathway for new art, cultural practices, political, social,
and economic visions from the city's most powerful and wealthy leaders.
Chicago's World Fair
The Chicago World's Fair painted an image of America that was
communicated by the architectural layouts and innovations. The fair was
divided into two different sections. The first one was the White City. This
was a very classical image that housed hundreds of artistic and industrial
exhibits. This was more of the high end section that showed the wealth. The
second section was the Midway plaisance. This section included a mile-long
strip of entertainment, shops, and ethnographic displays. Both sections
helped create a representation of America by showing the paradigms of
national unity, self-confidence, and white racial superiority.
Gilded Age vs. Ashcan school
The Gilded Age art expressed very extravagant and showy pieces. It
showed the cultural side of moneyed Americans. The art used a style of
Greek and roman art for inspiration. Most of the art during this period
was based on the white upper class people. This was only part of America's
people because immigrants began to migrate to America during this time. So
this art was stereotypical towards others that did not meet the social
standards. America began to industrialize so the wealthy people began to
expand. They began to show their wealth through art and develop a society
that was perfect for the upper class people.
Since the population was increasing in America and the social class
seemed to change, a new form of art began to surface. The Ashcan school
began with a group of American artist that joined forces to challenge the
art of the Gilded Age. These artist did not agree with the superior and
inferior classes and races that the Gilded Age artist has created. The
Ashcan school wanted to focus more on the burgeoning urban scene. The
artist tried to capture the cities true essences of the crowded streets and
the immigrant neighborhoods. They focused on what the cities and streets
really looked like rather than the picture that the Gilded artist captured.
Art vs. Culture
Culture and art have a close relationship that tends to feed off of
each other. When you have something going on and the culture of society
begins to change different feelings and thoughts change. When American
began to change in the twentieth century, people began to experience new
technologies and innovations. This changed the way art was done. First, it
changed the way people felt. They began to express themselves differently
in their art. New emotions and feelings began show and develop. New things
were invented that changed the way art was printed and viewed. Photo
journalism changed when the printing press was invented. Pictures were able
to be printed on paper to enhance the reading by society. When America went
through the Great Depression the art showed darkness and sadness. It showed
hardship that the people were going through. Because of the culture change
of America, the art showed the changes within it.

Having so many changes throughout America shows the relationship
between art and culture. It all started with the Chicago World's fair. It
opened the gates for new ages of art. It also showed how changes in society
can affect the outcome of expression throughout the world.

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. Souter, G. (2012). Robert Henri (1865-1929) and the "Ashcan
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