This course surveys the important artistic experiments carried out in Europe and America in the modern period, beginning with the work of the avant-gardes in the early twentieth century. It goes on to explore the abstract, realist and surrealist work of the mid-twentieth-century and the new wave of experimental art produced in the 1960s and 1970s. The course continues to the present day, covering the turn to postmodernism in the late twentieth century. There are two main themes. How was the nature of the image and the art object redefined in the modern period; and how did these new forms of art respond to the political and social realities of the times in which they were produced? New art was not just about artistic innovation. Artists experimented with new ways of making art because they wanted to respond more effectively to the changing realities of the world on which they lived than they could using traditional forms of artistic depiction. The relationship between radicalism in art and radicalism in politics will be a key concern, and also that between art and broader social and political and economic developments, such as modernization and the growth of consumerism.
The course is taught by way of lectures and discussions in sections. You will need to buy three textbooks from the Yale University Press series 'Art of the Twentieth Century'. Further set readings that that are not in these textbooks will be made available on electronic reserve. Art of the Avant-Gardes, edited by Steve Edwards and Paul Wood. Varieties of Modernism, edited by Pal Wood. Themes in Contemporary Art, edited by Gill Perry and Paul Wood.
Estimated cost of materials: $50 or more, but less than $100. D. 4