This survey provides a complete history of American art and architecture from the seventeenth century to the latest installation and video work. It includes all the major American artists and works, and discusses and illustrates dozens of building types, from the earliest colonial houses and churches to the most spectacular modernist and postmodernist stores, museums, stations, and iconic skyscrapers.
The characteristics of the different periods are defined, highlighting the forms, techniques and styles that mark the works as distinctively American. The ways in which American artists and architects both adopted and diverged from European models to create a language of their own are charted, and Lewis shows how that language eventually came to dominate the rest of the world.
The author dextrously integrates discussions of both buildings and works of art, revealing the shared social and aesthetic concerns that underlie them. Vernacular, religious, secular, and corporate architecture appear alongside painting, sculpture, photography, and new-media art.