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Glossary

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N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Abstract expressionism

Abstract Expressionism was an art movement that emerged after World War II. Instead of representing recognizable things, Abstract Expressionist artists wanted to express their emotions through line, shape, and color. They often made large-scale work.

Abstract/Abstraction

A work of art that is not recognizable as a picture of a person, place, or thing. An abstract work of art may reflect an emotion, a sensation, or some aspect of the real world that has been generalized, simplified, distorted, or rearranged.

Abstracted

A work of art that is not recognizable as a picture of a person, place, or thing. An abstract work of art may reflect an emotion, a sensation, or some aspect of the real world that has been generalized, simplified, distorted, or rearranged.

Acrylic paint

Acrylic paint

A quick-drying, water-based paint. 

Adirondack Mountains

A mountain range in northeastern New York State.

Afro

A round curly hairstyle in which the hair extends out from the head like a halo, cloud, or ball. An afro is sometimes called a “fro” for short.

AIDS

AIDS is a disease of the human immune system that is caused by infection with a virus called HIV. By killing or damaging cells of the body’s immune system, HIV destroys the body’s ability to fight infections and certain cancers.

Air mail stickers

Air mail stickers

Postal labels that you put on an envelope when you are going to mail a letter overseas.

Airbrush

An airbrush uses air to spray tiny drops of paint onto a surface. The artist can control how much paint comes out by changing the pressure, making the paint go on lighter or darker. The artist can also adjust the airbrush to produce different effects. 

Album

A collection of audio or music tracks that are distributed to the public on a CD or via a website. An album is also a book specially designed to keep collections of items such as photographs, stamps, or autographs.

Algorithm

A set of rules or instructions that explain how to complete a task.

Anthropologist

A person who studies the development of humans.

Anthropologist

A person who studies societies, cultures, and human physical development. Some anthropologists are also archaeologists; they learn about human history by studying physical remains.

Appliance

A household or office device designed for a particular use. For example, a stove, refrigerator, or air conditioner.

Appropriation

To take possession of something for a particular use. In art, appropriation is the practice of creating a new work by taking something that already exists and presenting it as the artist’s work.

Archaeology

The study of human history and prehistory. Archaeologists learn about past civilizations by excavating sites and studying artifacts and other physical remains.

Architect

A person who plans and designs buildings. Architects often work together in teams to decide what a building will look like, how big it will be, what materials it will be made of, and how people will use the spaces.

Architecture

The art and practice of designing and constructing buildings.

Armature

In sculpture, an armature is a framework or structure around which a sculpture is built. Armatures for sculpture are often made of wire.

Armenia

A country in Southwestern Asia that borders on Turkey, Iran, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. More info

Art Handler

A person who prepares museum displays and hangs or places works of art for an exhibition. They always handle the work carefully and wear special gloves when touching a work of art.

Art handler

A person who packed, moves, and installs art. An art handler prepares museum displays and hangs works of art for an exhibition. He or she always handle works of art carefully and wear white gloves when touching a work of art.

Art Students League

A well-known art school in New York City. More info

Art world

The people involved in the production, preservation, promotion, and sale of art, including artists, collectors, dealers, writers, and many others.

Assemblage

A three-dimensional work of art in which objects or images are combined together.

Atlantis

According to legend, Atlantis is an island in the Atlantic Ocean that was swallowed by an earthquake. For centuries, people have told many stories about this lost civilization. More info

Author

A person who creates a new idea or written work.

Autobiography

The story of a person’s life, written by that person.