Visual Pedagogy in Cold War America: Berenice Abbott, Will Burtin, and the International Visual Literacy Association


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


History of Art and Architecture


In the United States between 1945 and 1970, educators, scientists, artists, and media professionals identified their time as the age of the visual. They discussed how to mobilize visual tools such as photography, film, and exhibitions, and argued that images were essential to maximizing human potential in a modern liberal democracy. The practices of photographer Berenice Abbott, graphic designer Will Burtin, and the educators of the International Visual Literacy Association show how strongly this engagement with the visual was informed by the period’s global politics and by new collaborations across corporations, government, and art. This project demonstrates how visual pedagogy instantiated a broader ideological framework, and maps crucial intersections between art and science in the midst of the Cold War.