America Is Hard to See
Audio Guide Playlist
Kids can listen and learn from this audio guide highlighting selected works in America Is Hard to See.
This painting has three parts. In the middle, there’s a plant. The artist, Malcom Bailey, has painted it very straightforwardly—like a scientific diagram. It seems kind of humble, and ordinary.
Now look at the other two shapes. They’re made to represent old-fashioned sailing ships. Look closely. What do you see? There are many, many human forms—almost like paper dolls. These images were based on diagrams of ships used to transport human cargo from Africa to the United States during the 1800s—showing the way people were packed in like sardines, hardly able to move or breathe. The original diagrams were made by abolitionist activists who wanted to end slavery, and thought everyone should know the horrible conditions slaves suffered.
Now look again at the plant: it’s cotton, the main crop that slaves were brought to the United States to harvest. What do you think of it now that you know the whole picture?
- 543 Fred Wilson, Guarded View, 1991
- 000 Introduction to America Is Hard to See
- 553 Josh Kline, Cost of Living (Aleyda), 2014
- 554 Cory Arcangel, Super Mario Clouds, 2002
- 566 Mark Bradford, Bread and Circuses, 2005
- 522 Charles Ray, Boy, 1992
- 804 Max Weber, Chinese Restaurant, 1915
- 731 Walker Evans, Tengle Children, Hale County AL, 1936
- 712 Charles White, Preacher, 1952
- 744 Kids audio guide stop Lee Krasner, The Seasons, 1957
- 626 Andy Warhol, Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962
- 615 Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Archaeological Find, Number 9, 1964
- 624 Robert Bechtle, ’61 Pontiac, 1968
- 628 Malcolm Bailey, Untitled 1969, 1969
- 640 Eva Hesse, No Title, 1970
- 630 George Segal, Walk, Don’t Walk, 1976
- 527 Nam June Paik, V-yramid, 1982
- 648 Scott Burton, Pair of Two-Part Chairs, Obtuse Angle, 1984
- 505 Elizabeth Murray, Children Meeting, 1978
- 526 Barbara Kruger, Untitled (We Don’t Need Another Hero), 1987