America Is Hard to See

Solo en Inglès

Kids can listen and learn from this audio guide highlighting selected works in America Is Hard to See.

Max Weber (1881-1961), Chinese Restaurant, 1915. Oil, charcoal, and collaged paper on linen, 40 × 48 1/8 in. (101.6 × 122.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase 31.382.

It’s hard to know where in this kaleidoscopic painting to look first! What do you notice? What do you think it’s showing us?

Well. . .those black-and-gold squares along the bottom look like tiles—we must be in some kind of room.

And up near the top-middle of the painting you can just spot the eyes and nose of a person. A person moving so quickly that his face repeats in a blur of activity.

Finally: you may notice lots of red and gold—colors that are very important in Chinese culture.
 In fact, the artist Max Weber called this painting Chinese Restaurant. When he made this painting in 1915, Chinese restaurants were brand new in the United States.

To show how exciting and new this type of dining experience was at the time, Weber used a modernist style of painting called Cubism—started by French painters like Pablo Picasso. He broke the different parts of the restaurant into many splintered forms—so it’s like you are looking at everything all at once.