People outside the entrance to Luna Park on Coney Island, New York

Luna Park and the Amusement Park Boom

The fortunes of Coney Island have waxed and waned, but in the early twentieth century, its amusement parks became a major American export.

How to Interpret the Meaning of an Image

This week, we practice using our skills of visual analysis and learn how to "read" deliberately constructed images.
Zaha Hadid, 2013

The Evolution of Zaha Hadid, Architect

An unconventional architect who started her career as an outsider, Hadid became a leading figure in architecture and design in the twenty-first century.
An advertising poster for Brauerei Hölle (Hell Brewery), Radolfzell

What is a Symbol?

A symbol can be any object, character, color, or even shape that represents an abstract concept without explanatory text. But wait, there's more!
A large poster for the film Ebony Parade with a blue background and an off-white border. Across the blue background are red musical notes and stars outlined in white. At the top center in red lettering is "20 Great Stars". Printed in the center in small black type is "Astor Pictures presents" followed by "EBONY PARADE" in large yellow letters over a red background. Surrounding the title are color photographic portraits of the stars of the film. At the top left are the faces of Mantan Moreland, Dorothy Dandridge and Ruby Hill, followed by a full portrait of a seated Mabel Lee and in the bottom left corner is an image of the Mills Brothers gathered around two microphones. On the right side are the faces of Cab Calloway, Vanita Smythe, Francine Everett, and Count Basie. At the bottom right is a yellow box bordered in black with red text that reads "featuring / Cab Calloway * Count Basie / His Band His Band / Mills. Bros. * Vanita Smythe / Mantan Moreland * Mable Lee/ Ruby Hill * Francine Everett / Dorothy Dandridge * Pat Flowers / and / Day, Dawn, and Dusk * Jubilaries".

Mills Panoram and Soundies

In the 1940s, these short films set to music transgressed Hollywood’s racial mythology to create space for Black artists to experiment—and have fun.

Principles of Composition in Art and Design

An artist combines repetition, balance, proportion, movement, and other design elements to form the whole of a visual composition.
Part of the series La Città Nuova, 1914, by Antonio Sant'Elia

Exploring the Avant-Garde Architectural Manifesto

More than a century later, the architectural manifesto continues to hold our attention, emphasizing a charged moment when society was breaking with the past.
A jet brooch with a vulcanite ring

Victorians Mourned with Vulcanized Rubber Jewelry

Nineteenth-century Anglo-American mourning rituals called for a period of sentimental sadness, but they also demanded an investment in clothing and jewelry.
Krao Farini, c. 1890

Finding Krao Farini

Public discourse on the bearded lady, a staple of circus sideshow, revealed the racial biases underpinning Darwinian theory.

Elements of Design: Spotlight on Color

Color, like line, shape, texture, and the other elements of art and design, communicates meaning and creates visually compelling experiences. Here's how.