1945: Allied troops liberate Nazi death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau (January 26), Buchenwald (April 11), and Dachau (April 24), providing the world with the first photographic evidence of the horrific atrocities committed there.|
1948: Life magazine makes American painter Jackson Pollock an overnight celebrity by devoting a three-page spread with color photographs to him and his paintings under the headline, "Jackson Pollock: Is He the Greatest Living Painter in the United States?"; Abstract Expressionism becomes a subject of widespread popular ridicule.
1954: Raymond Kroc buys McDonald's franchise rights and begins the global proliferation of golden arches.
1962: Movie Actress Marilyn Monroe dies of an overdose of sleeping pills.
1963: U.S. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
1965: The United States begins air raids in Vietnam, committing 190,000 U.S. troops there by year's end.
1977: The Centre National d'Art et de la Culture Georges-Pompidou (Pompidou Centre or "Beaubourg"), a Hi-Tech metal-framework building designed by Richard Rogers, is completed in Paris and proves immensely popular.
1977: American photographer Cindy Sherman, age 23, exhibits the first of her series of black-and-white "Untitled Film Stills," shots of herself in various disguises and costumes that resemble stills from Hollywood "B" movies.
1979: A U.S. Government agency, the General Services Administration, commissions American sculptor Richard Serra to create a public work for the federal office plaza in downtown Manhattan; installed in 1981, his "Tilted Arc" is removed in 1989, over protest from Serra, following prolonged public opposition.
1989: American artist Andre Serrano's work "Piss Christ" arouses the ire of U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, prompting him to introduce legislation barring federal support for what he terms "obscene" work; Congress votes to establish a panel to evaluate standards for judging if art is obscene.
1990: A Cincinnati jury finds that city's Contemporary Arts Center and its director not guilty of obscenity for exhibiting homoerotic work by American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who died of AIDS the previous year at age 42; soon after his death, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., cancelled its Mapplethorpe exhibition in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid Congressional debate of federal funding for the arts.