Deindustrialization and the Rust Belt

Step 1

Let's start by considering these three artworks as a group.


1) What similarities do you see between these works in their use of materials?


2) What moods or feelings do the materials in these works evoke? What thoughts do they generate?

Step 2

Let's now consider each of these works individually. For each work, answer these questions.


3) Describe the work in detail. What do you see? Pay attention both to what's depicted but also all the choices that the artist made about how to depict these things. Ask yourself about the artists' use of line, shape, texture, color, space, and perspective.


4) What do you think about when you look at the work? How does it make you feel?


5) How does the artwork connect to your class's discussion of labor in the period of deindustrialization? How are workers represented (even when not visually depicted)? 

6) Why does it make sense to characterize these artworks as art of the Rust Belt? Read about the Rust Belt here and respond.

A sign in a landscape. The sign reads "Pike Closed God Bless America" surrounded by an uneven black border.
Carl Weese
toned black and white photograph on paper
11 in x 13 1/2 in (27.94 cm x 34.29 cm)
Gift from the Collection of David S. Rosen MD, MPH
A mixed media assemblage consisting of welding goggles, rusted metal, a padlock, and two rusted bells hanging from a chain mounted on a wooden board with screws. The position of the objects, with goggles at the top, makes the assemblage look vaguely face-like.
George Vargas
Michigan Worker
welding goggles, metal, hanging bells, rusty bottle cap, pulleys, chains, and padlock mounted on plywood
20 7/8 in x 10 3/8 in x 2 9/16 in (53.02 cm x 26.35 cm x 6.51 cm);20 7/8 in x 10 3/8 in x 2 9/16 in (53.02 cm x 26.35 cm x 6.51 cm)
Gift of the artist
A "Norton Abrasives" wooden crate is filled with empty rusted gallon paint containers with dried paint inside. A cracked rearview mirror is attached to one side and an American flag is smushed into one side of the box. A small toy platypus sits inside one of the paint cans, although the platypus is moveable; instructions to museum state that museum staff can place platypus where they please.
Tyree Guyton
Untitled (Paint Cans)
paint cans, wooden crate, American flag, rearview mirror, and ceramic figurine
33 1/2 in x 28 1/8 in x 12 in (85.09 cm x 71.44 cm x 30.48 cm)
Gift of H. David Zucca


0 Tags & 0 Keywords


Rate this Resource

AVG: 0 | Ratings: 0

& Author Notes

Creative Commons by-nc-sa

Last Updated

May 29, 2020 11:43 a.m.


Reporting Policy