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20th Century Art

Purpose of Course  showclose

This course explores the history of the artistic developments of the 20th century in Western Europe and the United States. The art of this period is characterized by extraordinary experimentation and innovation in styles, materials, techniques, and modes of dissemination. In addition to painting and sculpture, the 20th century witnessed the rise in popularity of photography, collage, montage, installations, earth art, performance, and conceptual art. Artists were sometimes inspired by the works of past masters but also often by contemporary changes in intellectual thought and social conditions. Therefore, we will examine the intellectual and cultural beliefs that this art both reflects and helped shape.

Despite the great variety of artistic styles and theories that we will examine, a number of important themes consistently recur. If you keep them in mind as you progress through the course, you will find it easier to organize your thoughts and make meaningful comparisons among various artists, movements, and art works. These themes include:

  • reactions to the conditions of modern life (such as urbanism, industrialism, secularization, new technologies, colonialism, and identity politics);
  • a shift from objectivity to subjectivity that includes a movement away from the naturalistic representation of objects in the world to a more subjective, abstracted depiction of ideas or feelings;
  • the search for a meaningful role for the artist in society as a spiritual or political leader as well as an aesthetic innovator;
  • a desire to destroy old oppositions such as fine versus applied arts; male versus female; spiritual versus material; art versus life; and the Western self versus the non-Western other; and
  • changes in the art market and the rise in importance of galleries and artist-run exhibitions.

Material is presented in chronological order and covers the period between 1870 and the end of the 20th century. You will be introduced to a variety of terms that art historians use to describe styles, techniques, materials, and aesthetic concepts. Use the ArtLex Art Dictionary every time you come across a new term that needs clarification.

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to ARTH209: 20th Century Art. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.

Course Designers: Anahit Ter-Stepanian, PhD; Rebecca Butterfield, PhD

Primary Resources: The course is based on a wide range of resources, including podcasts from arthistoryunstaffed.com, articles on topics of modern art from the Museum of Modern Art website and World Wide Art Resources, and museum materials on specific exhibits.

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete the course, you will need to work through all the material in each unit, complete the quizzes at the end of each unit, and complete the final exam. Only the final exam will provide you with an official grade. However, the course materials and the quizzes will help you prepare for it.
Please pay particular attention to Unit 1 as this unit introduces the concepts of modern art, modernism, and modernity. These concepts are crucial for the art of the 20th century and understanding them will help you master the material in the following units.

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a score of 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score will be tabulated as soon as you complete the exam. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again following a 14-day waiting period.
  • ARTH209 Unit 1 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 2 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 3 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 4 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 5 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 6 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 7 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 8 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 9 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 10 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 11 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 12 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 13 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 14 Quiz
  • ARTH209 Unit 15 Quiz
Time Commitment: You will need approximately 105 hours to complete the course. Each unit includes a Time Advisory that lists the amount of time you can expect to spend on each subunit. These advisories should help you efficiently plan your time. You may find it useful to look at the Time Advisories first and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit. It is a good idea to create a schedule for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you a total of 15 hours. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (3 hours) on Monday night, subunit 1.2 (3 hours) on Wednesday night, and so forth. A schedule will help to ensure that you meet your goals and complete the course within a reasonable time.

Tips/Suggestions: Please follow the directions in each unit of the Content Outline section to navigate through the course materials. Please read all of the assigned materials. You will find it helpful to take careful notes as you work through the readings, video lectures, and other resources. These notes will be invaluable resources for the final exam. Please see the prerequisites in the Course Requirements section above. If you are struggling with a concept, it may help to refer back to this course for a refresher on artistic styles, processes, and interpretive tools. The ArtLex Art Dictionary noted in the Purpose of Course section above is also a useful reference for brief descriptions of individual artists, styles, movements, and concepts.

Most importantly, try to think critically as you go through the material. You can achieve this by trying to answer the following questions:
  • What were the artist’s or the movement’s goals and how successful was the artist or movement in achieving them?
  • What were the significant innovations in style, technique, materials, subject matter, or mode of exhibition?
  • How do the works of art relate to the social and historical situation in which they were produced?
  • What similarities and differences can you find among the various modern artists or art movements?
  • How is each example of modern art similar to or different from the art of the past?
  • What inspired or influenced each of the artists or movements and why?
Thinking about these questions will help you to understand the course material and to make the most of the learning experience.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
  • identify the works of art of major contributors to 20th-century art;
  • accurately use the visual arts vocabulary presented in this course;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between a work of art and its cultural context (i.e., its historical, social, religious, and economic environment);
  • analyze, interpret, and critique works of art; and
  • identify the basic features of each of the 20th-century styles and discuss the main contributions that these styles made to the development of visual arts.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:
 
√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband Internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash);

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    have competency in the English language;

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook; and

√    have completed ARTH111: Introduction to Western Art History: Proto-Renaissance to Contemporary Art.

Unit Outline show close


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  • Unit 1: The Roots of 20th-Century Modernist Art: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Rodin  

    This unit presents a brief summary of major developments that occurred during the last three decades of the 19th century and paved the way for 20th-century modernist art. Art historians argue about how far back in history we see the origins of 20th-century art. Some suggest going as far back as the French Revolution of 1789; others view the 1855 Paris exhibition as the pivotal turn to modern themes; and still others consider the 1863 Salon des Refuses to be the beginning of the major changes associated with modernism. However, it is undisputable that the year 1874 marked one of the most decisive turns in the history of Western art with the emergence of the Impressionist movement, which we will adapt as a starting point in our discussion of modern art in this course.

    The Impressionists are considered modern partly because they consciously reacted against prior artistic styles and traditions. They rejected the ideal and supposedly eternal subject matter preferred by the Salon in France and the Royal Academy in England in favor of more contemporary subjects. They also challenged the authority of these institutions by organizing their own, nonjuried art exhibitions. The composition, color, and brushwork they used in their paintings seemed radically different from that of their famous predecessors. We then explorePost-Impressionism and Art Nouveau, two other modernist trends that emerged in the last decades of the 19th century and built on the Impressionists’ innovations in style and content. Last, we consider the work of the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, and the elements that mark his sculptures as distinctly modern.

    Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 Modernism and Its Definition  
  • 1.1.1 What Is Modernism?  
  • 1.1.2 What Is Artistic Modernism?  
  • 1.2 Impressionism  
  • 1.3 Post-Impressionism  
  • 1.4 Art Nouveau  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Art Nouveau”

      Link: The Art Story: “Art Nouveau” (HTML)

      Instructions: First, read over this page as an introduction to Art Nouveau. Click on “More” after the section “Beginnings” to read the full essay. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Art Nouveau’s Art Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying texts. How does the Art Nouveau artists’ approach to modern art differ from those of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists? Finally, click on “Gustav Klimt Page” from the right side of the page to learn about this artist. Remember to click on “More” after the Gustav Klimt Biography section.

      Reading these essays should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.5 Japonisme  
  • 1.6 Auguste Rodin  
  • Unit 2: Fauvism and Cubism  

    In the first decades of the 20th century, Fauvism and Cubism brought extraordinary innovation and experimentation to the visual arts. The Fauves, led by Henri Matisse and strongly influenced by the Post-Impressionists, favored vivid nonnaturalistic colors, simplified decorative lines, and flatter pictorial space. The Cubists, led by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, were influenced primarily by Paul Cézanne. In Cubism’s initial phase, known as Analytic Cubism, objects seemed to be shattered into geometric planes splayed across the canvas, making it difficult to recognize the subject matter and emphasizing the essentially two-dimensional nature of the canvas’s surface. In the second phase, called Synthetic Cubism, the colors became brighter and the objects more identifiable, but the emphasis on flatness remained. Picasso and Braque began to introduce nonart materials into their work as they experimented with collage and constructed, rather than carved or modeled, their sculptures.
     
    Most of the artists associated with Fauvism and Cubism were also inspired by the highly stylized sculptures of various African countries. Due to the colonizing enterprises of France, Belgium, and Germany, the artists were able to see such artifacts in public and private collections in Europe. The abstracted forms of these African objects encouraged the artists in their movement away from naturalistic representation and toward greater abstraction. It helped them realize that there were alternative artistic conventions and styles available. For many artists, these non-Western objects functioned as a new source of originality. Some artists used elements borrowed from non-Western traditions in order to critique the social and artistic conventions of modern, Western society.

    Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 Fauvism and Matisse  
  • 2.1.1 Fauvism  
  • 2.1.2 Henry Matisse  
  • 2.2 Cubism, African Art, and Picasso  
  • 2.2.1 Cubism  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Cubism”

      Link: The Art Story: “Cubism” (HTML)

      Instructions: First, read over the page as an introduction to Cubism. Please pay particular attention to the differences between Analytic and Synthetic Cubism. Then click on the “Pablo Picasso Page” and the “George Braque Page” found on the right side of the webpage and read about each of these Cubist artists. Note this covers the material you need to know for subunit 2.3.2. Please remember to click on each of the images at the top right of each page to read more about the individual works.

      Reading this material should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Sabine Rewald’s “Cubism”

      Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Sabine Rewald’s “Cubism” (HTML)

      Instructions: After reading the essay, click on the images at the top of the page and read a brief description of each work.

      Reading this essay should take approximately 45 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: mariabuszek.com: Guillaume Apollinaire’s “On the Subject of Modern Painting”

      Links: mariabuszek.com: Guillaume Apollinaire’s “On the Subject of Modern Painting” (PDF)

      Instructions: Click on the link “ApolPtg.pdf” to read the document. Apollinaire was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Cubist painting. He realized many viewers found this kind of painting difficult to appreciate as it lacked the clearly identifiable subject matter and highly finished style of Salon paintings. Apollinaire explained the artists’ move away from nature by comparing it to music. He also argued that these paintings replaced the old value of verisimilitude with the new values of austerity and purity.

      Reading this essay should take approximately 45 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.2 African Influences in Modern Art  
  • 2.2.3 Pablo Picasso, the Great Innovator  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.3: The Art Story’s “Cubism.” Please focus on the page about Picasso that appears after you have clicked on the “Pablo Picasso Page” from the right-hand menu.

  • Unit 3: Futurism, German Expressionism, and Brancusi  

    In this unit, we will explore further developments in modernist art in the 1910s. We start with Futurism, a radical avant-garde movement that emerged in Milan, Italy, in 1909. The Futurists wanted to create an art that would definitively break away from the past, one that would instead convey the speed and dynamism of modern urban and industrial life. The German Expressionists consisted of two groups: Die Brücke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). Both groups valued the art of non-Western and premodern cultures; both used increasingly abstract styles and strong colors to emphasize the artist’s personal expressivity. The Rumanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, working primarily in France, developed a streamlined form of abstraction that combined references to Rumanian folk art with intimations of the spiritual.

    Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 Italian Futurism  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Futurism”

      Link: The Art Story: “Futurism” (HTML)

      Instructions: First read over this page as an introduction to Futurism. Be sure to click on “More” under “Beginnings”. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Art Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text. Finally, click on “Umberto Boccioni Page” on the right side of the page and read about this artist. Be sure to click on “More” under “Umberto Bioccioni Biography”. Then click on each image under “Analysis of Umberto Boccioni’s Art Works” at the top of the page to read about the individual works. As you read this material, please pay particular attention to Futurism’s connections with popular culture and technology, its relationship to the art of the past, and the values it espoused.

      Reading this material should take approximately 2 hours.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: Chad Laird and Dr. Beth Harris’s “Three Futurists: Balla, Severini and Boccioni”

      Link: Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: Chad Laird and Dr. Beth Harris’s “Three Futurists: Balla, Severini and Boccioni” (Flash)

      Instructions: Watch this video, which discusses Giacoma Balla’s Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, Gino Severini’s Dynamic Hieroglyph of the Bal Tabarin, and Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. Consider the similarities and differences in their methods for conveying motion and the meanings that their works evoke.
       
      Watching this video should take approximately 15 minutes.

      Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareALike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Khan Academy. 

    • Reading: unknown.nu: F. T. Marinetti’s “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism”

      Link: unknown.nu: F. T. Marinetti’s “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay. As you do, try to answer the following questions: What are the elements of modern life that Marinetti values most highly and why? Which aspects of the past does he reject and why? What are the social and political implications of his manifesto?
       
      Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2 German Expressionism  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Expressionism”

      Link: The Art Story: “Expressionism” (HTML)

      Instructions: First, read over this page as an introduction to Expressionism. Then click on each of the images under “Groundbreaking Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying texts. Finally, click on “Detail View” under Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Paul Klee on the right side of the page and read about each of these Expressionist artists. Remember to click on the images at the top right of each artist’s page to read about the individual works. As you read this material, consider how the Expressionists’ attitudes toward modernity are similar to or different from those of the Futurist artists. What similarities or differences can you identify in the styles of the Expressionists and Futurists?

      Reading these essays should take approximately 1 hour.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2.1 Die Brücke (The Bridge) Group  
  • 3.2.2 Wassily Kandinsky and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) Group  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Wassily Kandinsky”

      Link: The Art Story: “Wassily Kandinsky” (HTML)

      Instructions: Read this page as an introduction to the life and works of Wassily Kandinsky. Then click on each of the images under “Major Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text. As you read, consider the following questions: How did Kandinsky hope to convey the spiritual through abstract art? How did he see the role of the artist in modern society? What did he hope to achieve through his art? How do Kandinsky’s goals for modern art compare to those of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner?

      Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: mariabuszek.com: Expressionism: Web “Reserve” Readings: Wassily Kandinsky’s “Excerpts from Concerning the Spiritual in Art

      Link: mariabuszek.com: Expressionism: Web “Reserve” Readings: Wassily Kandinsky’s “Excerpts from Concerning the Spiritual in Art (HTML)

      Instructions: Please scroll down the page and click on “Wassily Kandinsky: Excerpts from Concerning the Spiritual in Art” and read this piece. In this book, Kandinsky claimed that the formal elements of art—color, line, shape, and composition—could have a direct effect on the human soul. This meant that artists could be spiritual leaders in the increasingly materialistic societies of the modern world. It also suggested that art was a universal means of communication, one that could transcend national and cultural boundaries. These excerpts illuminate his passionate commitment to utopian goals for art. After you have read them, take another look at the images in the Art Story’s “Wassily Kandinsky” reading earlier in this section. In your opinion, how successfully did Kandinsky convey his ideas in his art works?

      Reading this essay and answering the question should take approximately 30 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr. Juliana Kreinik, Dr. Beth Harris, and Dr. Steven Zucker’s “Kandinsky’s Composition VII”

      Link: Khan Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr. Juliana Kreinik, Dr. Beth Harris, and Dr. Steven Zucker’s “Kandinsky’s Composition VII (YouTube)

      Instructions: Watch this video, which discusses Wassily Kandinsky’s Composition VII.
       
      Watching this video should take approximately 15 minutes.

      Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareALike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Khan Academy. 

  • 3.3 Constantin Brancusi  
  • Unit 4: Suprematism, Constructivism, and De Stijl  

    In this unit, we will explore the development of abstract art in Russia and Holland in the first decades of the 20th century. In Russia, the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 led to a flowering of modernist styles. Many Russian artists believed the revolution would lead to a better life for all Russians and were eager to show how the visual arts could help transform society. Kazimir Malevich, the founder of Suprematism, created a radically simplified style that valued simplicity and purity. Malevich wanted to break with the art of the past and create works that could convey both rationality and spirituality. The Constructivists also sought a simplified style, one that they hoped would eventually be used to mass produce aesthetically pleasing objects for everyday life. In Holland, the artists associated with De Stijl (The Style) shared the Russians’ interests in simplicity, purity, rationality, and spirituality. Like their Russian contemporaries, Dutch artists Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg held the utopian belief that art could transform everyday life. The destruction caused by the first World War (1914–1918) was a major impetus for all these artists. Repulsed by the war’s carnage, they hoped to create art that would help humanity build better societies, thereby creating new and important social roles for themselves.

    Unit 4 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 4 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 4.1 Kazimir Malevich and Suprematism  
  • 4.2 Russian Constructivism  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Constructivism”

      Link: The Art Story: “Constructivism” (HTML)

      Instructions: First, read this page as an introduction to Constructivism. Remember to click on “More” after the section “Beginnings.” Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Art Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text. Finally, click on the “Vladimir Tatlin Page,” “El Lissitzky Page,” and “Alexander Rodchenko Page” tabs on the right side of the page and read about these three Constructivist artists. Consider the similarities and differences between the ideas and goals of the Constructivist and Suprematist artists.

      Reading these essays and identifying the similarities and differences between Suprematism and Constructivism should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Philadelphia Museum of Art: El Lissitzky’s “Proun 2”

      Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art: El Lissitzky’s “Proun 2” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Please press the Start button “Audio Stop 412” to hear a short discussion of Lissitzky’s work. Also, read the text on the webpage for more information on the work.

      Listening to the discussion and reading the material should take approximately 10 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: YouTube: Michael Craig and Copernicus Films: “Alexander Rodchenko and the Russian Avant-Garde”

      Link: YouTube: Michael Craig and Copernicus Films: “Alexander Rodchenko and the Russian Avant-Garde” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Watch the film, which discusses Alexander Rodchenko, one of the main contributors to Constructivist art.

      Watching the film should take approximately 15 minutes.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.3 De Stijl and Piet Mondrian  
  • Unit 5: Dada and Surrealism  

    This unit focuses on Dada and Surrealism during the period from 1917 to 1930. Like the artists associated with Suprematism and Constructivism in Russia and De Stijl in Holland, the artists associated with Dada and Surrealism were strongly influenced by the horrors of World War I as well as by earlier modernist artistic styles.

    Like the Futurists, Dada artists enjoyed provoking their audiences, but Dada works often contained more obvious political critiques. Dada’s primary goal was to attack and subvert all the social norms and artistic conventions of modern bourgeois culture, a culture Dadaists blamed for the war’s devastation. Dada was more of an anti-art and anti-establishment philosophy rather than a cohesive aesthetic style. Its practitioners were active in Zurich, Paris, New York, Berlin, Cologne, and Hanover, and Dada had slightly different flavors in each city.

    Surrealism arose in Paris in the early 1920s and included writers as well as painters, sculptors, and photographers. The Surrealists rejected bourgeois rationality and preferred the mysterious workings of the unconscious mind, such as dreams. They experimented with a number of automatic processes for creating art in order to escape cultural conventions and to tap into something they thought would be more authentic and primitive. Many of their works emphasize the bizarre or erotic aspects of reality.

    Unit 5 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 5 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 5.1 Dada  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Dada”

      Link: The Art Story: “Dada” (HTML)

      Instructions: First, read this page as an introduction to Dada. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Art Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text.

      Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.1.1 Marcel Duchamp  
  • 5.2 Surrealism  
  • Unit 6: The “Return to Order” in France, Germany, and the United States  

    We’ve see that much of the art of the early 20th century was characterized by the breakdown of forms, nonnaturalistic colors, crude drawing, asymmetrical compositions, and a move toward abstraction. Some of these works—such as those by the German Expressionists—conveyed anxiety over the rapid and radical transformations of modern life; others—such as those by the Futurists—celebrated modernity’s speed and dynamism and welcomed the destruction of the past and its traditions. After World War I, there was a shift in styles and attitudes as artists reacted to the social and political chaos caused by the conflict. Simplicity, legibility, and rational order became highly valued artistic attributes. Scholars have loosely described this as a desire for a “return to order.”
     
    In this unit, we will see how these new values appeared in France, Germany, and the United States. In France, the Purists produced paintings with clearly defined objects and stable compositions in order to evoke the same sense of harmony and balance found in classical works of art. In Germany, the artists of the Bauhaus tried to design works that would be suitable for mass production, while the New Objectivity artists focused on social and political critiques that would be easily understood by the public. In the United States, the Precisionists, Regionalists, and Urban Realists emphasized clarity of form and recognizably American subject matter. As you work through this unit, pay particular attention to the similarities and differences in the artistic styles, social goals, and motivations of these artists.

    Unit 6 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 6 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 6.1 France: Purism  
    • Web Media: Philadelphia Museum of Art: “The City, 1919”

      Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art: “The City, 1919” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on “1 audio stop 930” at the top of the page to hear curator Michael Taylor discuss Fernand Leger’s painting, The City, 1919. Then click on “Teacher Resources” at the top of the page to read an essay about this work and more about this artist. Note how Leger’s style relates to earlier artistic styles as well as the increasingly industrial cityscape.
       
      Reading the essay and listening to the recording should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: mariabuszek.com: Excerpts from Le Corbusier’s “Towards a New Architecture”

      Link: mariabuszek.com: Excerpts from Le Corbusier’s “Towards a New Architecture” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link, “LeCorbuNewArch.pdf,” and read the first 3.5 pages, up until “The Engineer’s Aesthetic and Architecture.” Although this essay deals with architecture, the ideas that Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (popularly known as Le Corbusier) outlines here were enormously influential in all of the visual arts. Basically, Le Corbusier attempts to reconcile spiritual expression in the arts with the rationality and logical calculation required by industrial production. Note the values that he emphasizes here: simplicity, geometry, clarity, rational order, and logical analysis. For Le Corbusier, these values will result in human creations that adhere to supposedly “universal laws” and result in harmony. As you work through the rest of the material in this unit, note how many other artists espouse similar values and goals for their art.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.2 Germany: The Bauhaus and the New Objectivity  
    • Reading: mariabuszek.com: Walter Gropius’s “The Theory and Organization of Bauhaus”

      Link: mariabuszek.com: Walter Gropius’s “The Theory and Organization of Bauhaus” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link “GropiusBau.pdf,” and read the document. Gropius, like Le Corbusier, writes about the need to reconcile art as a spiritual expression with the industrial production of useful goods. Note the similarities in goals and values between Gropius and Le Corbusier. While both emphasize the practicalities of designing for mass production, they also have rather utopian goals in that they see art, architecture, and crafts as a way to improve human life.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.2.1 The Bauhaus  
  • 6.2.2 The New Objectivity  
  • 6.3 The United States: The Armory Show and American Realism  

    The Armory Show of 1913 was the first major exhibition of modern European art in the United States. The European artists’ move away from naturalistic representation shocked both the American critics and the American public. After seeing this show, many American artists were inspired and emboldened to experiment even more freely with abstract form, nonnaturalistic color, expressive brushwork, and new materials.

    During the period between the world wars, a number of American artists turned away from the extreme abstraction displayed at the Armory Show and instead chose to convey modern themes through more naturalistic, and therefore more easily understandable, styles. As with Purism in France and the New Objectivity in Germany, Precisionism, Regionalism, and Urban Realism in the United States have been interpreted in terms of a desire for a “return to order” after the chaos and carnage of World War I.

    The artists associated with Precisionism used hard-edged styles, flat colors, and predominantly geometric forms to depict the human-made environment. Regionalist artists focused on the themes and subjects of American rural life in various areas of the nation, while Urban Realists favored depictions of metropolitan life.

  • 6.3.1 The Armory Show in New York, 1913  
    • Web Media: University of Virginia: Shelly Staples’ “The Armory Show”

      Link: University of Virginia: Shelly Staples’ “The Armory Show” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the poster image to enter the main site, read the introduction, and then click on the following at the bottom of the page to read thematic essays: “As Avant-Garde as the Rest of Them: An Introduction to the Armory Show” and “Marketing Modern Art: From the Armory to the Department Store.” Then click on the icon “Tour the Armory” at the bottom left of the page to explore individual works of art.
       
      Exploring this site and reading the essays should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.3.2 American Realism: Precisionism, Regionalism, and Urban Realism  
  • 6.3.2.1 Precisionism  
  • 6.3.2.2 Regionalism  
  • 6.3.2.3 Urban Realism  
  • Unit 7: The 1940s and 1950s in the United States and Europe  

    One of the most striking developments of the 1940s and 1950s was the rise of New York City as a major artistic center. This was partly due to the large number of European modernists who fled to the United States during and after World War II. It was also fueled by the United States’s new role as a world leader.
     
    In this unit, we will explore the rise of Abstract Expressionism in the United States and the part it played in America’s new artistic prominence. We will also examine several critical approaches that have been used to interpret the art of this movement. Then we will turn our attention to Art Brut and European modernism in this period. As you work through this unit, remember to compare the works of art under discussion with earlier examples of abstract art and to look for similarities and differences in the styles, the artistic motivations, and the meanings conveyed by the works.

    Unit 7 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 7 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 7.1 American Art in the 1940s  
    • Web Media: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 40: Painting 6: Art in New York”

      Link: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 40: Painting 6: Art in New York” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on the red play button, and listen to this podcast. This podcast presents the developments in the art landscape in United States, discusses the developments in the United States since the arrival of European modernists to the establishment of Abstract Expressionism after World War II, and explains Clement Greenberg’s role in the artistic evolution in New York City. Dr. Willette also discusses gesture artists and color field artists.
       
      Listening to the podcast should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: sharecom.ca: Clement Greenberg’s “Avant-Garde and Kitsch”

      Link: sharecom.ca: Clement Greenberg’s “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Clement Greenberg was one of the most influential critics of the 20th century. His critical method came to be known as “formalism,” because he emphasized that only the formal elements (line, color, shape, composition, spatial arrangements, etc.) in a work of art were necessary or important. These, he claimed, were the elements that set visual works apart from all other forms of human production. Recognizable subject matter and narratives or stories were no longer necessary or valuable. In this essay, written in 1939 when fascist or totalitarian regimes were gaining strength and power in Europe, Greenberg outlined his reasons for privileging abstract over naturalistic works of art. He believed that art, as he defined it, was the only way to save culture from the threatening political forces of the time. As you read this essay, make note of his arguments and their social and political, as well as aesthetic, implications. How does he define avant-garde art? How does he characterize kitsch? Some critics have argued that Greenberg’s formalist approach is elitist as it seems to suggest that “true” art is only for the educated connoisseur. Would you agree with this assessment?
       
      Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.2 Abstract Expressionism  
  • 7.3 Jean Dubuffet and Art Brut  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Jean Dubuffet”

      Link: The Art Story: “Jean Dubuffet” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after the section “Jean Dubuffet Biography.” Then click on each image under “Analysis of Jean Dubuffet’s Art Works” at the top of the page to read about these works.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Dubuffet Foundation: “His Work”

      Link: Dubuffet Foundation: “His Work” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the individual pictures to see larger images of some of Dubuffet’s work from the period 1943 to 1950. If you like, you can click on other time periods from the task bar at the top of the page to see additional works of art. Although there is no explanatory text, the images will give you a very good idea of Dubuffet’s style and the way that it changed over the years.

      Looking at these images should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Tate Shots: Mark Haddon on Jean Dubuffet

      Link: Tate Shots: Mark Haddon on Jean Dubuffet (YouTube)

      Instructions: Watch this video.
       
      Watching this video should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 7 Quiz”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 7 Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Complete this assessment to gauge your understanding of the topics covered in this unit. The correct answers will be displayed when you click the “Submit” button.

      Completing the quiz and reviewing, if needed, should take approximately 30 minutes.

  • Unit 8: Neo-Dada and Pop Art  

    In the 1950s, a number of artists in the United States and Europe began to react against the abstract styles, expressive brushwork, and metaphysical meanings associated with earlier 20th-century modern art in general and Abstract Expressionism and Art Brut in particular. The artists associated with Neo-Dada and Pop Art were inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s cool, intellectual approach to art and his use of common, everyday materials. Like Duchamp, they were interested in breaking down the boundaries between the fine arts and everyday life. Neo-Dada and Pop artists also looked to American popular culture for subject matter: comic books, Hollywood films, magazines, and advertising imagery became important sources for them.
     
    In the decades immediately after World War II, the European nations that had been involved in the struggle were slow to recover from the war’s economic toll. The United States, however, experienced rapidly increasing prosperity and an explosion of growth in mass culture and consumerism. This, along with America’s newly won position as a powerful world leader, led to the exportation of American culture around the globe. The Neo-Dada and Pop artists shared a fascination with American popular culture, but the meanings evoked by their works vary greatly. As you work through this unit, consider the attitudes toward popular culture and consumerism that are conveyed. Do the works seem to embrace and celebrate pop culture? Do they seem to criticize it? Do they convey a desire to escape from materialism or a hope for transcendence? What elements in the works themselves support your views?

    Unit 8 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 8 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 8.1 Neo-Dada: Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg  
  • 8.2 Pop Art in Britain and the United States  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Pop Art”

      Link: The Art Story: “Pop Art” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: First, read over this page as an introduction to Pop Art in Britain and the United States. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 43 Painting 9: Pop Art”

      Link: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 43 Painting 9: Pop Art” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on the red play button and listen to this podcast. Dr. Willette discusses the historical situation in which Pop Art arose in England and the United States as well as Pop Art’s new attitudes, materials, and subjects. Please pay close attention to her discussion of Pop Art’s relation to reality and systems of representation. All forms of visual representation—painting, sculpture, comic books, advertising, photographs, and so forth—are sign systems. That is, each follows certain conventions for representing the real world. Pop artists, Dr. Willette argues, realized that they could freely borrow from any of these sign systems, thereby breaking down the boundaries between high art and mass culture.
       
      Listening to this podcast should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.2.1 Richard Hamilton  
  • 8.2.2 Andy Warhol  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Andy Warhol”

      Link: The Art Story: “Andy Warhol” (HTML)

      Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after the “Andy Warhol Biography” section. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Andy Warhol’s Art Works” at the top of the page to read more about these works. As you read the text and look at the images, think about the references to popular culture that you find in Warhol’s works and statements. Do you think that these works celebrate popular culture? Do they criticize it in some way? Or do they simply accept it as a fact of contemporary life? How easy or difficult is it to answer these questions?
       
      Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 44 Painting 10: Andy Warhol”

      Link: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 44 Painting 10: Andy Warhol” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on the red play button and listen to this podcast. Dr. Willette discusses a number of important issues in Andy Warhol’s art. Please pay particular attention to the relationship Warhol’s art has to mechanical reproduction, consumer culture, the art of Marcel Duchamp in particular and modernist art in general, and to ideas about originality and authenticity. You may find it useful to review Clement Greenberg’s essay, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” in subunit 7.1 and to compare Warhol’s attitude toward popular culture with Greenberg’s.
       
      Listening to this podcast should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Philadelphia Museum of Art: Andy Warhol’s “Camouflage Self-Portrait”

      Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art: Andy Warhol’s “Camouflage Self-Portrait” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Please press the Start button “Audio Stop 435” to hear a short discussion of Warhol’s work. 
       
      Listening to this audio should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.2.3 Roy Lichtenstein  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Roy Lichtenstein”

      Link: The Art Story: “Roy Lichtenstein” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after the “Roy Lichtenstein Biography” section. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Roy Lichtenstein’s Art Works” at the top of the page to discover more about these works. How is Lichtenstein’s version of Pop Art similar to or different from that of Andy Warhol?
       
      Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: YouTube: DukeLibDigitalColl: “Inside New York’s Art World: Lichtenstein and Castelli”

      Link: YouTube: DukeLibDigitalColl: “Inside New York’s Art World: Lichtenstein and Castelli” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Watch the interview with Roy Lichtenstein, where he explains his technique of Ben Day dots and answers questions about his life, career, and work.
       
      Watching this interview should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.3 Sculpture: Claes Oldenburg and George Segal  
  • 8.3.1 Claes Oldenburg  
  • 8.3.2 George Segal  
  • Unit 9: Minimalism, Process Art, and Arte Povera  

    Minimalism, Process Art, and Arte Povera all began in the 1960s and all of them used either nonartistic materials or nontraditional methods for making art. Minimalism—also known as ABC Art, Primary Structures, or Specific Objects—tended to favor simple geometric forms, unmodulated colors, and serial repetition. Unlike the earlier geometric abstraction of artists such as Piet Mondrian or Kasimir Malevich, Minimalist works seemed to be devoid of any utopian goals for art. Instead, the Minimalist works refer to industrial production or emphasize the formal qualities of the materials themselves. As the name implies, Process artists emphasized the processes used to create a work of art rather than the final object. The artist’s actions on the material—pouring, folding, tearing, welding, smearing, spraying, pasting, and so forth—are clearly visible. Often these artists, like the Minimalists, preferred to use nonart materials such as latex, rope, textiles, and ordinary metals. Arte Povera—literally “Poor Art”—favored commonplace materials in works that seem to reject the technology of modern times and instead evoke a pre-industrial aesthetic.
     
    As you work through this unit, compare the artists’ use of materials, methods of production, and goals for their art. What similarities and differences can you find with earlier abstract art?

    Unit 9 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 9 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 9.1 Minimalism  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Minimalism”

      Link: The Art Story: “Minimalism” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: First, read over this page as an introduction to Minimalism. Then, click on each of the images under “Groundbreaking Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text. Finally, click on “Detail View” under Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Kenneth Noland, Richard Serra, and Frank Stella on the right side of the page and read about these Minimalist artists. For Carl Andre, under “Carl Andre Biography,” be sure to click on “More” to read this text. For each of the artists, click on the images under the “Analysis of Art Works” section at the top of the artist’s page.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Khan’s Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr Beth Harris and Dr. Shana Gallagher-Lindsay’s “Donald Judd’s Untitled”

      Link: Khan’s Academy’s SmartHistory: Dr Beth Harris and Dr. Shana Gallagher-Lindsay’s “Donald Judd’s Untitled (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Read the essay and then click play to watch a video about Donald Judd’s Untitled. How does Judd’s work evoke the idea of industrial production?
       
      Reading the essay and watching the video should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareALike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Khan Academy. 

    • Reading: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: “Kenneth Noland”

      Link: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: “Kenneth Noland” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this page, and then click on the images at the top for a larger view of some of Noland’s works.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation: Nancy Spector’s “Agnes Martin”

      Link: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation: Nancy Spector’s “Agnes Martin” (HTML)

      Instructions: Read this essay and click on the link “More Works by Agnes Martin” immediately below the image to see some additional examples. Think about the elements that connect Martin’s work to that of the Minimalist artists as well as the elements that set her work apart from theirs.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: sharecom.ca: Clement Greenberg: “Modernist Painting”

      Link: sharecom.ca: Clement Greenberg: “Modernist Painting” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay and take careful notes. As you read, think about and try to answer the following questions: How does Greenberg define modernism? What are the qualities and values that he attributes to modernist painting? What relationship does he see between modernist art and the art of the past? What do you think Greenberg would value in the paintings of Agnes Martin or Kenneth Noland?
       
      Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.2 Process Art  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Eva Hesse”

      Link: The Art Story: “Eva Hesse” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after the “Eva Hesse Biography” section. Then click on the images under “Analysis of Eva Hesse’s Art Works” at the top of the page to read more about these sculptures.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Interactive Feature: “Eva Hesse”

      Link: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Interactive Feature: “Eva Hesse” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on the orange “Launch” button to begin your exploration. This will take you to a page with images of several of Hesse’s key works. Position your mouse on an image to reveal the title of the work and then click on the title to reveal questions about this work of art. Click on each of the questions to read the answers. Do this for each of the works on the first page. This is an excellent resource for a discussion of the meanings of Hesse’s works, the techniques she used, and her works’ relationship to the art of her contemporaries.
       
      Exploring this material should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Art Story: “Robert Morris”

      Link: The Art Story: “Robert Morris” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay and click on “More” after the “Robert Morris Biography” section. Then click on the images under “Analysis of Robert Morris’s Art Works” and read about each one. You will see that Morris produced work that has been associated with Minimalism and Land Art as well as Process Art.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Art Story: “Joseph Beuys”

      Link: The Art Story: “Joseph Beuys” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: First, read over this page about the life and works of Joseph Bueys. Under “Joseph Beuys Biography,” be sure to click on “More”. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Joseph Beuys’s Art Works” at the top right of the page and read the accompanying text.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Accidental Universe: “Joseph Beuys with Coyote”

      Link: Accidental Universe: “Joseph Beuys with Coyote” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: In 1974, Beuys performed one of his most famous action sculptures, “I Like America and America Likes Me,” in New York. Watch this film on that performance.
       
      Watching this film should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.3 Arte Povera  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Arte Povera”

      Link: The Art Story: “Arte Povera” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after the “Beginnings” section. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Art Works” at the top of the page and read about these works. What similarities to or differences from the works of Eva Hesse, Robert Morris, or Joseph Beuys (discussed in subunit 9.2) can you identify?
       
      Reading this material and answering the questions should take approximately 1 hour.           
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Tate Modern: “Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan”

      Link: Tate Modern: “Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan” (Flash)
       
      Instructions: Read the brief introduction, and then click on the play button on the first picture under the text and watch this video. Pay particular attention to Boetti’s unconventional materials and methods.
       
      Reading the introduction and watching the video should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Art Newspaper: Gareth Harris’s “The Rich Legacy of Arte Povera”

      Link: The Art Newspaper: Gareth Harris’s “The Rich Legacy of Arte Povera” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay for more information on Michelangelo Pistoletto, one of the founders of Arte Povera, as well as a discussion of the movement’s influence on later artists.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 9 Quiz”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 9 Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Complete this assessment to gauge your understanding of the topics covered in this unit. The correct answers will be displayed when you click the “Submit” button.

      Completing the quiz and reviewing, if necessary, should take approximately 30 minutes.

  • Unit 10: Conceptual, Installation, and Land Art  

    Conceptual, Installation, and Land Art all strove to go beyond the traditional categories of painting and sculpture. Conceptual Art, as the name implies, privileged the idea or conception of a work over the execution of a beautiful object. The emphasis was placed on intellectual activity rather than aesthetic enjoyment. Many Conceptual works incorporate language or mathematical constructs in works often made from nonartistic materials. Installation art subverted the categories of painting and sculpture by creating large-scale works that transform the viewers’ perception of a specific site or space. These works may include any combination of artistic and nonartistic materials and processes. The artists associated with Land Art, also known as Earth Art, abandoned their studio spaces and began to work outdoors. These artists used the earth itself—dirt, rocks, bodies of water, and weather—to create often monumental works that are subject to the depredations of time and climate.
     
    As you work through the material in the unit, consider these questions: How do these works relate to the spaces in which they are presented? How do they affect the relationship between the work of art and the viewer? How do they redefine the function of art and the role of the artist?

    Unit 10 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 10 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 10.1 Conceptual Art  
    • Reading: The Art Story: “Conceptual Art”

      Link: The Art Story: “Conceptual Art” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: First, read over this page as an introduction to conceptual Art. Then, click on each of the images under “Groundbreaking Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text. Finally, click on “Detail View” under Sol LeWitt on the right side of the page and read about this artist who played a leading role in the Conceptual movement. Under “Artist Biography,” be sure to click on “More” to read this text.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: ddooss.org: Sol LeWitt’s “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art”

      Link: ddooss.org: Sol LeWitt’s “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read the sections titled “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” and “Sentences on Conceptual Art” by Sol LeWitt, one of the major theorists of this movement. What are the qualities that LeWitt values in Conceptual Art?
       
      Reading this material and answering the questions should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation: Nancy Spector’s “Joseph Kosuth

      Link: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation: Nancy Spector’s “Joseph Kosuth” (HTML)

      Instructions: Read this essay. Note Joseph Kosuth’s interest in investigating the cultural meanings that we ascribe to categories such as “painting” or “art.”
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 10.2 Installation Art  
    • Reading: Wikipedia: “Installation Art”

      Link: Wikipedia: “Installation Art” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Read this article as a summary of installation art.

      Reading this essay should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

    • Reading: Goethe Institute: Nicole Fritz’s “Dossier: Site-specific Installations in Germany”

      Link: Goethe Institute: Nicole Fritz’s “Dossier: Site-specific Installations in Germany” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this article, in which the author discusses the various meanings of installation works of art.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage: “Preservation and Presentation of Installation Art”

      Link: Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage: “Preservation and Presentation of Installation Art” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read the introduction after “Welcome,” and then click on “artworks” from the menu at the top of the webpage for a list of artists and artworks. Click on and read about the following works: Disappearance at Sea by Tacita Dean, Doppelgarage by Thomas Hirschhorn, Glass (one and three) by Joseph Kosuth, and Mapping the Studio II by Bruce Nauman. Each installation is accompanied by a photo and a brief annotation. Many of the pages contain links on the left side to additional information about the artist and the art works if you would like to learn more.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Ann Hamilton Studio: “Projects”

      Link: Ann Hamilton Studio: “Projects” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this page for an introduction to Ann Hamilton’s ideas and working methods. Then click on “1991 indigo blue” from the menu on the left to read about this installation in detail and to see more images. Consider how Hamilton’s works relate to their specific sites and how they engage all of the senses. The “Projects” page contains links to Hamilton’s biography and additional works that you may wish to explore; please note that these additional links are optional and are not included in the Time Advisory for this unit.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 10.3 Land Art  
  • Unit 11: Postmodernism  

    Postmodernism is a notoriously slippery term and numerous art historians and critics have defined it in slightly different ways. Most would agree, however, that postmodernist works either revise or critique the values associated with modernism. These modernist values include originality, authenticity of expression, individuality, purity, and the fine arts’ ability to transcend the material world. Many postmodernist artists instead privilege the idea of the copy over the original; they argue that all expression is culturally determined rather than a matter of individual creativity; and they reject the hierarchy that places the fine arts above all other forms of human production.

    The readings in subunit 11.1 will help you gain a better understanding of postmodernism in general. Subunit 11.2 examines the works and ideas of several major postmodernist artists. As you work through this material, note the various strategies that each artist uses and think about what makes these works postmodernist. What do these works convey about originality or the possibility of individual expression? What do they suggest about the relationship between high art and popular, consumer culture? 

    Unit 11 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 11 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 11.1 What Is Postmodernism?  
  • 11.2 Appropriation and the Pictures Generation  
  • Unit 12: Performance  

    Like Installation Art, Performance Art engages more senses than sight alone. Unlike traditional theater, it is often presented in art spaces such as museums, galleries, and studios. It may also make use of public spaces, factories, warehouses, or private homes. Performance Art may or may not have a clearly identifiable plot or narrative; it may encourage audience participation; it might include a number of different media such as live performers, painting, music, writing, video, or dance. In other words, there are virtually no limits on the creator’s imagination. Similarly, the artists’ reasons for producing Performance Art vary greatly. Performance artists may attempt to break down the barriers between art and life or between public and private experience; their works may shock the viewer into new perceptions of the social situation; or performances may engage viewers in multisensory experiences.

    Unit 12 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 12 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • Unit 13: Identity Politics: Feminism and Social Activism  

    In the 1960s and 1970s, European and American societies experienced a sea change. Numerous individuals and organizations reacted against patriarchal culture, that is, a culture that privileged white heterosexual males and that denigrated the productions of women and people of color. The Civil Rights Movement and the Feminist Movement sought to redress the balance and to bring the concerns of marginalized groups into the mainstream art world. The artists discussed in this unit created works that specifically address the political implications of individual gender and ethnic identity.

    Unit 13 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 13 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 13.1 Feminism  
    • Reading: MiraCosta College: Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”

      Link: MiraCosta College: Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay. Nochlin’s article discusses the cultural biases that structure Western society in general and the art world in particular. Her observations and arguments helped define the issues for feminist artists.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 45 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Art History Archive: “Feminism & Feminist Art”

      Link: The Art History Archive: “Feminism & Feminist Art” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay for an overview of the history and goals of feminist art.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Brooklyn Museum: Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: “The Dinner Party”

      Link: Brooklyn Museum: Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: “The Dinner Party” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on each of the highlighted topic headings on this page to read detailed descriptions of each element of this large, collaborative work. Then click on “Curatorial Overview” and “Judy Chicago” from the menu on the left side of the page. As you read, think about all of the elements that make this work an icon of feminist art.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The ArtStory: “Carolee Schneeman”

      Link: The ArtStory: “Carolee Schneeman” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click “More” after “Carolee Schneeman Biography.” Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Carolee Schneeman’s Art Works” at the top of the page to read about the individual works.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 13.2 Social Activism  
    • Reading: PBS: African American World: “Social Activism: Romare Bearden”

      Link: PBS: African American World: “Social Activism: Romare Bearden” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay, and then click on the images at the right side of the page to read more about these works.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS: African American World: “Social Activism: Faith Ringgold”

      Link: PBS: African American World: “Social Activism: Faith Ringgold” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this brief essay on Ringgold’s use of the American flag in these paintings. What does her work suggest about African Americans’ relationship to American ideals of liberty and justice for all? Click on the images at the right side of the page for slightly larger views.
       
      Reading this essay and answering the question should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS: Quilts: “Faith Ringgold”

      Link: PBS: Quilts: “Faith Ringgold” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this page. Ringgold produced a number of quilts that incorporate narrative and texts. By using a medium traditionally reserved for women and placing it in an art world context, Ringgold questions the distinction we make between the fine arts (painting and sculpture) and crafts (such as quilting and needlework). Furthermore, she questions our biases about the kinds of work that are appropriate for men and women.
       
      Reading this piece should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: NPR: The Long View: Renee Montagne’s “Life Is a Collage for Artist Betye Saar”

      Link: NPR: The Long View: Renee Montagne’s “Life Is a Collage for Artist Betye Saar” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: As you read this essay, please pay particular attention to Betye Saar’s use of nontraditional materials in her assemblage-style sculptures. Like Bearden and Ringgold, Saar’s work evokes social meanings as well as aesthetic appreciation.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: YouTube: The National Visionary Leadership Project: “Betye Saar: The Liberation of Aunt Jemima

      Link: YouTube: The National Visionary Leadership Project: “Betye Saar: The Liberation of Aunt Jemima (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Watch this video to hear Betye Saar’s thoughtful discussion of one of her most famous works, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima. How does this assemblage work to transform our understanding of derogatory stereotypes?
       
      Watching the video and answering the question should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 13 Quiz”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 13 Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Complete this assessment to gauge your understanding of the topics covered in this unit. The correct answers will be displayed when you click the “Submit” button.

      Completing the quiz and reviewing, if necessary, should take approximately 30 minutes.

  • Unit 14: Consumer Culture: Celebrations and Critiques  

    Like the Pop artists in the 1960s, some artists in the 1980s produced works that specifically comment upon art’s position within contemporary consumer culture. Some incorporated text into their works in order to speak clearly and directly to social or political concerns. Other artists used techniques borrowed from industry to highlight the relationship between works of art and other commodities intended for sale on the open market. As with the earlier Pop works, it can be difficult to determine if the work is meant to celebrate or to criticize consumer culture. This ambiguity is often a deliberate strategy: It forces viewers to consider the issues raised and to come to their own conclusions.

    Unit 14 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 14 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Jeff Koons”

      Link: PBS: Art21: “Jeff Koons” (HTML & Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on “continue reading” after the first paragraph. Then click on the play button and watch the video. Consider Jeff Koons’s attitude toward the relationship between high art and kitsch. How do Koons’s ideas compare to Clement Greenberg’s ideas as expressed in “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” in subunit 7.1?
       
      Reading the essay, watching the video, and answering the question should take approximately 30 minutes,

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Allan McCollum”

      Link: PBS: Art21: “Allan McCollum” (HTML & Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on “continue reading” after the first paragraph. Then click on the play button to watch the video. McCollum’s works question art’s relationship to other commodities bought and sold in a market economy. Then click on “Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York” and “Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston” to see examples of McCollum’s works.
       
      Reading the material, watching the video, and browsing the images should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Barbara Kruger”

      Link: PBS: Art21: “Barbara Kruger” (HTML & Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on “continue reading” after the first paragraph to read this essay. Then click on the play button and watch the video. Think about how Kruger’s training in graphic design and her nontraditional venues affect the production of her works and the meanings that they convey to the viewer.
       
      Reading this material and watching the video should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Jenny Holzer”

      Link: PBS: Art21: “Jenny Holzer” (HTML & Flash)
       
      Instructions: Click on “continue reading” after the first paragraph to read this essay that describes one of Holzer’s earliest and best known works. Then click on the play button to watch the video, in which Jenny Holzer discusses her use of texts, her works’ relationship to their sites, and her use of public spaces as well as museums and galleries to display her art.
       
      Reading the essay and watching the video should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: “Truisms, Jenny Holzer”

      Link: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Truisms, Jenny Holzer” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay that describes one of Holzer’s earliest and best known works. Note Holzer’s use of nontraditional venues to gain a wider audience for her art. What connections can you identify between Holzer’s Truisms and the Conceptual Art discussed in subunit 10.1?
       
      Reading the essay and answering the question should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 14 Quiz”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 14 Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Complete this assessment to gauge your understanding of the topics covered in this unit. The correct answers will be displayed when you click the “Submit” button.

      Completing the quiz and reviewing, if necessary, should take approximately 15 minutes.

  • Unit 15: Themes in Late 20th-Century and early 21st Century Art  

    The art produced in the closing decades of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st century continues to emphasize many of the themes we’ve explored in this course: art’s relationship to the changes and stresses of contemporary life, the role of the artist, experimentation and innovation in materials and processes, and the desire to destroy old oppositions (such as high art versus low culture, male versus female, spiritual versus material, and objectivity versus subjectivity).
     
    This era has been characterized as one that has a more global perspective on art and culture, one that no longer privileges the art of the West over that of all the rest. This new perspective is the result of a global market economy as well as the phenomenal growth in the Internet and related technologies, such as personal websites, smart phones, and social networking sites.
     
    This unit explores a few of the major artists of this period. As you consider their works, look for similarities and differences with the art of the earlier 20th century. What connections can you find with earlier themes in modern or postmodern art? What is new in the art of the later 20th century? Does your newly gained knowledge of 20th-century art help you to interpret the art of the current moment?

    Unit 15 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 15 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 15.1 Neo-Expressionism  
    • Reading: The Art Story Foundation: Justin Wolf’s “Neo-Expressionism”

      Link: The Art Story Foundation: Justin Wolf’s “Neo-Expressionism” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay, and then click on the images under “Works of Art” at the top right of the webpage to read descriptions of these works. Then click on “Detail View” under Georg Baselitz and Jean-Michel Basquiat from the menu on the right side of the page to read more about these artists. Click on “More” after the artist biography sections of these essays. As you read this material, think about how these works and the artists’ goals compare to those of the earlier German Expressionists covered in subunits 3.2.1 and 3.2.2.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 2 hours.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Ian Alteveer’s “Anselm Kiefer (born 1945)”

      Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Ian Alteveer’s “Anselm Kiefer (born 1945)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this page, and then click on each of the images at the top of the page to see larger illustrations of Kiefer’s work and to read brief descriptions.
       
      Reading this material should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 15.2 From the Late 20th Century into the Early 21st Century  
  • 15.2.1 Gerhard Richter  
    • Web Media: The ArtStory: “Gerhard Richter”

      Link: The ArtStory: “Gerhard Richter” (HTML and YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Read the essay and remember to click on “More” after “Gerhard Richter Biography.” Click on each of the images under “Analysis of Gerhard Richter’s Art Works” at the top right of the page to read about individual works. Then click on “Gerhard Richter: ‘A Painter in a Photographic Age’” under “Video Clips” from the menu on the right side of the page and watch the video. How do these paintings by Richter play with the conventions and meanings of photography?
       
      Reading this material, watching the video, and answering the question should take approximately 1 hour.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 15.2.2 Damien Hirst  
  • 15.2.3 Cai Guo-Qiang  
    • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Cai Guo-Qiang”

      Link: PBS: Art21: “Cai Guo-Qiang” (HTML and Flash)
       
      Instructions: Read the brief essay, and then click on the play button to watch this video. What do Cai’s works suggest about power? How do they comment on ideas of beauty or violence? What relationship does Cai see between his works with gunpowder and traditional Chinese painting?
       
      Reading this essay, watching the video, and answering the questions should take approximately 30 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 15.2.4 Takashi Murakami  
    • Reading: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation: “Murakami”

      Link: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation: “Murakami” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this page as an introduction to the work of Takashi Murakami. As you read, think about how Murakami’s works compare to those of the earlier British and American Pop artists discussed in Unit 8.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: itsliquid: “Featured Artist: Takashi Murakami”

      Link: itsliquid: “Featured Artist: Takashi Murakami” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this essay, which contains good illustrations of several of Murakami’s best-known works.
       
      Reading this essay should take approximately 15 minutes.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 15.2.5 Art in the 21st Century  
  • Final Exam  

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