While the dictionary defines the term art as the expressive arrangement of elements within a medium, or creative/imaginative activity and the works that result from them, that would include such art forms as music, performance and writing. This section however focuses specifically on visual art like painting, photography, sculpture and printmaking.
The United States has some top quality art museums and displays covering a broad range of styles and mediums. While certain cities like Chicago, Santa Fe and New York may have reputations for famous galleries, artists and museums, smaller towns and communities have also taken advantage of people's appreciation for art by incorporating local artist’s work and galleries into their downtowns to showcase even more styles, talents and variety.
American art styles
American art styles vary as much as Americans do. A brief description of several of the most common styles follows:
Abstract: This type of art does not depict the world as seen through the natural eye, but seeks to express emotions through color and shapes.
Animation/Comics: This art form creates a sequence of cartoon drawings to tell a story.
Expressionism: Rather than making a painting look exactly like what it represents, expressionist artists try to express their feelings about they paint.
Fantasy: This category of art relies on imagination to depict creatures, worlds and environments that do not actually exist.
Impressionism: Impressionists use bold colors and sparse detail to portray a scene as if the observer just glanced at it quickly.
Native American: Created by the Native American Indians, this type of art reflects not only their culture, but their harmonious relationship with nature and their strong beliefs in family ties and unity.
Pop Art: Short for Popular Art, this style of art gets its inspiration from advertising and popular entertainment and uses bold, brash colors.
Post-Impressionism: While these artists still use the same bold colors, distinctive brushstrokes and real-life subject matter as the impressionists, they tend to distort or emphasize geometric forms and don’t always use natural colors.
Primitivism: This style of art looks like a child’s work with simple lines and two- dimensional subjects.
Realism: Artists who use this art form seek to portray things exactly as they appear in real life.
Surrealism: Based on dreams, these paintings portray familiar objects in strange or mysterious ways with the intent of causing the viewer to look at things in a different way and perhaps change their perspective.
A list of some of the most popular American artists of the last few centuries would have to include :
• Ansel Adams (photographer)
• John James Audobon (wildlife painter)
• Richard Avedon (photographer)
• Jean Michel Basquiat (painter)
• Alexander Calder (sculptor)
• Mary Cassatt (painter)
• Walt Disney (cartoonist, artist, filmmaker)
• Jasper Johns (painter, sculptor, printmaker)
• Roy Lichtenstein (painter, sculptor, printmaker)
• Robert Mapplethorpe (photographer)
• Barnett Newman (painter, sculptor, printmaker)
• Georgia O’Keefe (painter)
• Jackson Pollack (painter)
• Robert Rauschenberg (all media)
• Fredrick Remington (painter, sculptor, illustrator)
• Norman Rockwell (painter, illustrator)
• Susan Rothenberg (painter)
• Julian Schnabel (painter, filmmaker)
• Andy Warhol (painter, filmmaker, printmaker)
This list includes some of the most famous art museums in the U.S.:
• Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois) Museum and art school
• Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham, Alabama) Largest municipal museum in the Southeast.
• Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn, New York) One of the largest art institutions in the United States.
• George Eastman House International Museum of Photography & Film (Rochester, New York) The foremost museum of photography in the world.
• Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, New York) One of the largest art museums in the world.
• Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, Illinois) One of the nation's largest facilities devoted to the art of our time.
• National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.) One of the finest collections in the world illustrating major achievements in painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and works on paper.
• Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Unique among American museums in its integrated presentation of fine and applied arts from Asia, Europe, and the U.S.
• San Francisco Museum of Modem Art (San Francisco, California) A jewel of the West Coast scene.
• Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore, Maryland) Internationally known as one of the foremost art museums in the United States.
• Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati, Ohio) One of the oldest, most active, and most adventuresome museums of contemporary art in the US.
• Denver Art Museum (Denver, Colorado) The largest collection of art between Chicago and San Francisco.
• Guggenheim Museum (Manhattan. New York) Modern art museum housed in a Frank Lloyd Wright designed building.
• Miami Art Museum (Miami, FL) Exhibits, collects, preserves and interprets international art of the western hemisphere.