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Week 1 Presentation: Historical USA - A Backdrop to the Class

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Historical Perspective: Art & Culture Early 20th Century - USA

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Week 1 Presentation: Historical USA - A Backdrop to the Class

  1. 1. EAM 350 – ART, CULTURE & SOCIETY
  2. 2. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: ART & CULTURE EARLY 20TH CENTURY - USA
  3. 3. THE NATIONAL SETTING  America at the Turn of the Century: A Look at the Historical Context  1900 American: World Power.  The West was won. The frontier was no more.  Apache war chief Geronimo had surrendered in 1886. The defeat of the Sioux at the battle of Wounded Knee in 1891 had brought what became known as the Indian Wars to a close. By 1900 the Indians (Native Americans / American Indians) were on reservations and the buffalo were gone.
  4. 4. THE NATIONAL SETTING  Reaper machines invented - farming profitable and U.S. was the world's largest agricultural producer.  The first transcontinental rail link had been completed in 1869. Three decades later, in 1900, the nation had 193,000 miles of track on five railroad systems spanning the continent.
  5. 5. THE NATIONAL SETTING  By 1900, after the world’s first oil well had been dug in Titusville, Pennsylvania, major oil fields were being tapped in Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. The supply of American oil seemed limitless.  John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust dominated the world's petroleum markets and controlled more than 90 percent of the nation's refinery capacity.
  6. 6. THE NATIONAL SETTING  At the turn of the century, our industrial capacity was measured by the number of tons of steel we produced. In the 1880s Andrew Carnegie had constructed the world's largest steel mill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and by 1900, the United States was the largest steel producer in the world, turning out 10,000,000 tons a year.
  7. 7. THE NATIONAL SETTING  By 1900, telephones were in wide use. Cities were growing and being electrified.  In Arts and Entertainment - Moving Pictures were a curiosity. Marconi was conducting experiments that would lead to the development of the radio.
  8. 8. ENTERTAINMENT  Initially movies were novelties - Kinetoscope viewers - until they – the artists - became acts in their own right on the vaudeville stage.  Mostly, the “arts” were the classic forms and mostly just in the cities. “High Art” refers to these – opera, theatre, music.  As motion pictures became longer, they moved into storefront Nickelodeon theaters and then into even larger theaters.
  9. 9. ENTERTAINMENT
  10. 10. ENTERTAINMENT
  11. 11. ENTERTAINMENT  Within cities, people attended Vaudeville shows as “pop” culture, which would feature a multitude of acts. Shows often ran continuously so that theatergoers could come and go as they pleased.  Here’s a clip from the turn of the century from the Claremont Theater in NYC. Shows the entrance to the Claremont Theatre in New York City at 135th St. and Broadway where Edison is showing Gertrude McCoy and Bigelow Cooper in On the Stroke of Twelve.
  12. 12. ENTERTAINMENT  Vaudeville shows crossed economic and ethnic boundaries, as many different social groups would mix in the audience. Variety was the name of the game.  Other popular shows of the time included circuses and Wild West shows, the most famous of the latter being William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody's.  Here’s a clip of the wild west show arriving in town. Notice what a big deal it was. The film shows a parade down Fifth Avenue, New York. In the foreground many children, of various ethnicities, can be seen following alongside the parade.
  13. 13. SO, WHERE ARE WE – THE US – IN TERMS OF ESTABLISHING OUR CULTURE?
  14. 14. A GROWING WORLD POWER AND CULTURE(S) SUFFERS The "splendid little war" of 1898
  15. 15. THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR  This war was popular with American people. For the first time since the Civil War, men from the north and the south closed ranks and marched to war, as the bands played the marches of John Philip Sousa. The conflict lasted less than 100 days.  What was important - After 400 years, Spain was no longer a power in North or South America; the only power of importance in the Western Hemisphere was the United States.
  16. 16. THE NEW WORLD POWER  The United States became an imperialist power with the taking of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and the later annexation of Hawaii.  As a new player in Asia, America would now confront the ambitions of the Japanese Empire, a confrontation that would not be played out until World War II.
  17. 17. THE PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN WAR 1899-1902  By annexing the Philippines, the United States took up the so-called "White Man's Burden," as urged by poet Rudyard Kipling.  It would be our purpose, said Pres. McKinley, "to take them all and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them." They were "our little brown brothers," Governor General William Howard Taft later said, displaying something of the racial attitudes of the time.  This sense of the superiority of the white race and thus the inferiority of the “colored” races helps explain the rise of Jim Crow segregation laws within the United States during this period.
  18. 18. GLIMMERS OF HOPE Culture to the Rescue?
  19. 19. WORLD'S FAIRS AND WORLD CONSCIOUSNESS  Many world's fairs were staged in the turn of the century period, and some of the American Memory collections offer glimpses of these events. Edison's films offer a ringside seat at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 in Buffalo, New York.  This is a short film of a boat tour during the Pan- American Exposition in 1901. It was filmed by Thomas Edison. The film source was from the Library of Congress Collection. The music accompanying the film is called "Cupid's Reign" by E.S. Phelps - also from 1901.
  20. 20. WORLD'S FAIRS AND WORLD CONSCIOUSNESS  Like the Spanish-American War, world's fairs contributed to and resulted from increasing American interest in the globe. They celebrated the nation's own technological achievements but they also put on display the exotic architecture and peoples of other nations and the American West.  For example – Gypsies and Acrobats:  Dancing Spanish gypsies seem to live where they danced, and the Japanese Village occupied about one and one-half acres of ground. It is dotted with pretty miniature lakes, circle bridges, tea houses, etc. And featured a troupe of Japanese acrobats.
  21. 21. TO CONSIDER: HOW FAR HAVE WE COME WITH INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL EXCHANGE AND UNDERSTANDING?
  22. 22. PRESENTATION END  Questions, Comments?  Class Website open, group sign up page ready. Let’s look at it.  Reading for next week:  Cultural Policy in U.S. History – PDF online in Readings folder.  Next Week – Art and Controversy

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