A man in civilian clothes looks at another man wearing an army uniform and resting a rifle in his arm. | "When Lambs Become Lions"

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Foreign Correspondent

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A man looks out to a vast landscape of mountains and water. | From "Embrace of the Serpent" / Kino Lorber

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Earth Focus

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American Expansion Reflected Through Artwork

Today, Artbound goes back in time. For this throwback edition, we present five articles about artwork and exhibitions that examine the effects of American expansion and industrialization:

Savage Flowers and the Wild California Dream

The botanical illustrations in the Huntington's "When They Were Wild" exhibition function as a probe into what is real, what is fictional, and what lies somewhere in between.


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How the Gun Market Was Won

Frances Anderton examines the role of guns in American culture since Samuel Colt pioneered the assembly line production of firearms in the early 19th century.


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One Hundred and Fifty Years On: African American Military Portraits from the American Civil War

A California African American Museum exhibit describes a more complex picture of mid-nineteenth century America than is usually projected into the public realm.


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Craig Russell: Unearthing California's Musical Missions

What did California mission music sound like? Cal Poly music professor Craig Russell has spent three decades tracking down the answer.


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Witness to a Hanging: California's Haunted Trees

When a man dies hanging from a tree, is that tree an accessory to the act or a witness? The multiple second lives of the frontier "hang tree" reveal something unsettling about the Golden State.

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Carla Jay Harris "Sphinx," 2019. Archival pigment print. Two panels, 40 x 30 in. each. The work features a beautiful Black woman wearing a dark blue dress kneeling down in a golden meadow under a starry sky and bright orange sun. | Courtesy the artist

Now More Than Ever: The Need for Alternative Cultural Spaces

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As If I was Carrying a Gun: Art and Surveillance in 1960s Watts

An arts movement emerged in ‘60s Watts. In response, federal and local law enforcement enacted counterinsurgency programs that infiltrated and co-opted Black arts and culture institutions and surveilled and targeted activists, artists and community member