Century Art 1900-1945
Instructor: Professor Kavky
The art of the Twentieth century is characterized by a radical break
with all preceding art. Or is it? In this course, we will study the
art produced in Europe and the United States between 1900 and 1945.
We will examine its innovations--in style, materials, subject matter,
and philosophy--and its continuing relation to artistic traditions.
The lectures, readings and discussions focus on six major themes:
1) The relationship between art and politics (class, gender, nationalism);
2) Abstraction versus realism or "outer" versus "inner" vision; 3)
Primitivism and the search for origins, innocence and freedom from
societal constraints; 4) Reactions to modernity, including attitudes
toward originality, tradition and the rise of technology; 5) The relation
between "high" art and popular culture; and 6) The role of artists
and art in a modern society.
Are artists political revolutionaries? Spiritual leaders? Working-class
producers? Or the spoiled lap-dogs of the moneyed classes? Is art
politically or spiritually meaningful or is it merely expensive decoration?
Can it transcend the mundane world or is it mired in particular economic
and social relations? Are art and artistic values universal and eternal
or are they personal and mutable? These are the questions and issues
we will address.
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