George Bellows. New York, 1911. 106.7 x 152.4 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Online study days

Being Modern in America: American art in the twentieth century

  • Begins: Tuesday 6 October 2020
    Until: Tuesday 20 October 2020
  • Lecturer: Ben Street

Please note that you will need to be familiar with Zoom in order to participate – we do not have the capacity to provide any back-up or advice on the use of Zoom. We recommend that you log on to Zoom 15 minutes before the start time of the event even if you are familiar with the app since the process can take some time if a lot of participants are logging on at the same time. You will receive an email first thing on the day of each lecture with details of how to join the event. If you do not receive it please check your spam/junk mail folder.


American Art of the twentieth century was faced with the unique problem of how to be American and modern at the same time. Through a wide range of different examples these three lectures will assess the various ways in which American art addressed, ignored or resolved this problem. A diverse range of works of art will be looked at, including photography, printmaking, sculpture, performance and painting, in order to explore this complex and rich topic.



Week 1  –  The American Landscape
Week 2  –  The American City
Week 3  –  The American Identity


Ben Street is a freelance art historian, lecturer and writer. He lectures on modern and contemporary art for Tate, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Christie’s Education and the Royal Academy. He is the author of interpretative materials for major exhibitions at Tate, the Royal Academy and the National Gallery and has contributed essays for museum and gallery publications across the world. Ben’s recent book is How to enjoy Art.

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