Modern Art: Avant-Garde to Contemporary
TTh 2:30-4:00 pm
4 Credit Lecture

This course is an introduction to modern American and European art. It surveys the many different kinds of experimental and avant-garde art produced over the past century. It also discusses the reasons why artists were motivated to reject traditional artistic forms and develop new ways of responding to the world in which they lived. The course begins with the radical avant-gardes of the early twentieth century and goes on to explore the modernist, realist and Surrealist art of the mid-twentieth-century and the experimental work of the 1960s and 1970s. After considering the important turn to postmodernism in the later years of the twentieth century, it continues up to the present day, looking at a range of contemporary art forms, including film and video. There are two main themes. How were the nature of visual representation and conceptions of the art work redefined in the modern period; and what do these artistic developments tell us about the changing political and social realities of the times? The relationship between radicalism in art and radicalism in politics is a key concern, as well the ways which modern artists responded to broader development such as modernization, the growth of consumerism, and political crises such as war and revolution. 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