Week 2 Lecture, 20th Century


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  • Imagine you are living at the dawn of the 20 th century, around the year 1900. The world is rapidly modernizing. New, unorthodox ideas are circulating. Important scientific discoveries are being made, some that will aid in the development of war machinery and some that will prolong and save lives. It seems as if new technologies are being introduced daily and soon, the automobile will be rolling off the assembly line in the USA and the airplane will take flight. The world of the machine and the readymade good will transform daily life. People will travel to and colonize distant lands. New cultures, their peoples, and their raw materials will be explored and exploited. How would you react to such changes? Would you fear or reject it and seek to retreat away from this newly modern world, into the past, or would you leave it entirely? Would you hold tight to conservative values and past traditions? Or would you embrace it and celebrate these new technologies and their possibilities? Or might you approach it cautiously? As you learned last week in your introduction to issues surrounding mass media in late 20 th century art and popular culture, much of the story of 20 th century art is about how modernization and technology totally transformed visual culture and culture altogether, what the late critic Robert Hughes called “The Shock of the New”. The television, the cinema, the phone, and now, the internet. In many ways, we are still living in the aftermath of this, as we carry around our mobile phones and tablets, often using technology to plan our day and mediate our relationships with others. These artists of the early 20 th century understood they were living in a new world and they wanted their art to reflect this. In many cases, they were tired of the old ways, ways that they regarded as too archaic, conservative, and out-of-touch. What the avant-garde artists who are recognized here (in your textbook) wanted in many cases was freedom: personal, artistic, sexual freedom. What did this look like? How did this visually manifest itself? And how would they use the relics of the past to create something new? These are the central questions we’ll attempt to answer as we cover art from 1900-1909. We will look at various regions in Europe and the most significant artists in those areas as we move chronologically through the first decade of the 20 th century. First stop, Vienna….
  • afterward, Klimt turned to profitable commissions by socialites, away from the avant-garde
  • Postimpressionism: “ In the broadest sense, the theory or practice of any of several groups of painters of the early 1900's, or of these groups taken collectively, whose work and theories have in common a tendency to reaction against the scientific and naturalistic character of impressionism and neo-impressionism…They tend to, and sometimes reach, a condition in which both representation and traditional decoration are entirely abolished and a work of art becomes a purely subjective expression in an arbitrary and personal language.” 1) Seurat: optical effects (Chevreul ’s ideas on color) 2) Cezanne: structure and classicism 3) Van Gogh: expressionism (feeling) 4) Gauguin: primitivism and the visionary artist (a Romantic concern)—a “vision-quest” among tribal cultures Interest in tribal art vert influencial on art of the era both formally (Picasso, Matisse) and conceptually. Some artists played the role of the primitive (retreating to country life, living among peasants (van Gogh and Gauguin), surrounding self with collected tribal artifacts) and some escaped the west altogether and lived among native, colonized peoples (Gauguin again, emil nolde, pechstein) -Like the Vienesse secession, it was an act of rebellion against authority and tradition, both against the academy and reigning avant-garde styles (impressionism and postimpressionism)
  • -Griselda Pollock: Gauguin makes three moves: 1) nod to traditional subject 2) nod to avant-garde treatment of traditional subject 3) his transformation of that subject into a primitivist one
  • -acc to book, Matisse understood that “the four major postimpressionists had all stressed that if color and line were to be celebrated, if their expressive function were to be enhanced, they had to become independent from the objects they depicted.” (p.71) -they had to be systematically separated (color, line, shape) and then recombined, a back to basics approach to painting. Divisionism or pointillism as it is now called gave him a method with which to begin
  • Picasso, on the other hand, was not interested in conflating visual beauty and sensual pleasure, or in finding a good armchair in which to rest. There is nothing idle going on this picture, unlike those before it by Titian, Ingres, and then, Matisse. Although, having seen Matisse ’s Joy of Life at Gertrude and Leo Stein’s salon, he apparently made this picture in response. This is all action, and erect alertness.
  • This painting labored over, worked over, 16 sketchbooks and numerous studies, these tell us much about the meaning and motivation for making it For a long time, it was seen by very few; exhibited twice in 1916, 1918, then remained in Picasso ’s studio until bought by Jacques Doucet in 1924, Doucet’s widow sold to dealer in 1937, at which time it arrived at MoMA (1937) -very little writing on it, except for a few articles (Kahnweiler) -two important articles: Alfred H. Barr ’s article on it in 1951 and later Leo Steinberg’s article, “The Philosophical Brothel” (based on an early title of the painting) in 1972. Your textbook uses these essays to interpret the ptg. As opposed to the tradition of Bordello pics—for male sexual gratification, Demoiselles challenges this gaze by threatening it (with the allegory removed, the painting becomes a direct address to the male viewer) Also the tradition of western painting is to physically and psychologically connect the figures and objects in the same space, a Renaissance notion of strived for unity Here is a shift from narrative (western ptg) to anti-narrative (Picasso)
  • Other early 20th century movements were more revolutionary, even anarchist in their philosophy of artmaking and life. They were interested in the machinery of modern life. But, their view of it was not pessimistic. They celebrated it—the car, the machinery of war to the point of wanting to tear down/violently overthrow all remnants of a past order (museums, libraries) in a celebration of the cleansing power of war. Marinetti founder of futurism developed his own origin myth, published in his first manifesto—he recounted the moment of his awakening when, racing in his sports car, he overturned in the muddy waters of a suburban ditch—only to emerge as a Futurist poet “ We want to glorify war - the only cure for the world - militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman…We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.”-F. T. Marinetti, Futurist Manifesto, 1909
  • Inspired by a number of movements including cubism, divisionism, post-impressionism
  • Futurists most innovative with their experiments with sound, yet another instance of the parallels between music and art in the early 20th cent. You could argue that the very thing the Futurists championed was what brought about their ruin, war, specifically WWI. Boccioni died accidentally falling off a horse in a battle training exercise in 1916, Saint ’Elia died in battle. And Marinetti’s affiliation with fascism would only bring him problems. Carra, as your book states departed from the aesthetic and turned to de Chirico’s metaphysical paintinng which we’ll talk about later. And Severini to classicism. A general “rappel a l’ordre ensued, part of an anti-modernism which reacted against these modernist experiments.
  • Week 2 Lecture, 20th Century

    1. 1. The 20th Century – 1900 - 1909 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_8y0sQ0HME “The world has changed less since the time of Jesus Christ than it has in the last thirty years.” Charles Peguy 1913 The Shock of the New, 1980, Robert Hughes Ford Motor Company, Model T
    2. 2. Austria, 1900 Hans Olbrich, Secession Building, 1897-98  Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams published 1900 in Vienna, founder of psychoanalysis  To liberate “repressed instincts and unconscious desires”, the dream or “rebus” is an indication that those desires long to be free  Klimt, Schiele (Kokoschka also considered) “To each age its art, to art its freedom”
    3. 3.  co-founder of Secession and 1st President  sought to separate from conservative Academy of Fine Arts in 1897, during decline Austro-Hungarian empire  embraced Art Nouveau (Jugendstil in German)  trained as architectural decorator (School of Arts & Crafts)  advocate for union between all arts: gesamkunstwerke Gustav Klimt
    4. 4. Klimt, Jurisprudence, 1903-07, Univ. of Vienna
    5. 5. • Portraits & public commissions for allegorical works • In 1894, University of Vienna commissioned 3 ceiling paintings (philosophy, medicine, jurisprudence) • Supposed to extol Enlightenment beliefs, but actually exposed darker, more ambiguous issues • Rejected by University, regarded as pornographic & perverted • Many works deal with battle between life and death, good and evil, depicting skeletal, emaciated figures and threatening female forms • Furies: Roman mythology, female personifications of vengeance; Graces above: Greek goddesses of charm, beauty and nature (fertility) - truth, justice, law • “punishment psychologized as castration” (Art Since 1900) Klimt, Jurisprudence, 1903-07, Univ. of Vienna
    6. 6. Klimt’s University of Vienna Ceiling Paintings – Philosophy & Medicine (L to R)
    7. 7. Raphael, The School of Athens (Philosophy), ca. 1510, Italian, fresco
    8. 8. • under tutelage of Klimt, but rejected Art Nouveau style in favor of Expressionist style • embattled artist who exploited his own persecution for fame • in 1912 jailed (24 days) for kidnapping and corrupting a minor and publicly reviled for explicit images of self and teenage girls, drawings publicly burned • him, his wife and unborn child died in Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918 • produced 300 paintings and 3,000 works on paper Egon Schiele
    9. 9. Schiele’s “Girls” Two Girls Lying Entwined, 1915 Female Act, 1910
    10. 10.  Voyeurism and exhibitionism  Explicit nudes of self and women • Embodiment of “psychosexual disturbance”? vs. the classical nude or social type (proper portrait) • the damaged self, exposed, gaunt – arms amputated, ribs exposed, body dirtied Schiele, Nude Self-Portrait in Gray with Open Mouth, 1910 gouache and black crayon Michelangelo David 1501
    11. 11. France, 1903 – Gauguin dies in the South Pacific. His legacy continues…1906 Retrospective The Post-impressionists – The “Fathers” of Modern Art Seurat Cezanne Van Gogh Gauguin
    12. 12. • Depended on European imperialism • “To go “back in time” to a less civilized, less evolved state (“Civilization has fallen from me little by little” -Gauguin) • Rejection of civilized and corrupt Western world • To identify the self with the other & to find one’s natural identity (Gauguin had partial Peruvian ancestry) • Hybrid art –“purity and primacy pursued through hybridity and pastiche” – Art Since 1900 (European, Tahitian, Egyptian, Peruvian, Indonesian aesthetics, etc) “I Am African” campaign, 2006, advertisement Primitivism
    13. 13. The Female Nude From Goddess (Courtesan?) to Concubine to Prostitute Titian Venus Of Urbino Ingres, Odalisque Manet, Olympia
    14. 14. Gauguin, Spirit of the Dead Watching (Manao Tupapau), 1892
    15. 15. Primitivism & The Female Nude • a revision of Manet’s Olympia • flips scene (spirit instead of Laura) • averts eyes of Teha’amana (adolescent Tahitian wife) vs. direct gaze so that she is looked upon not looking at us • rotates her body to expose buttocks (submissive vs. in control) • “dream of sexual mastery”, both “desire and dread of feminine sexuality” (Art Since 1900) • Noa Noa, ca. 1895 • “The gaze” Gauguin, Spirit of the Dead Watching (Manao Tupapau), 1892
    16. 16. Matisse & Primitivism Matisse’s Blue Nude: Souvenir of Biskra, 1907 • subtitle added decades later, recalls trip to N. Africa (Biskra) • admired African art’s “inverted planes and proportions • palm fronds echo contours of body • highly criticized during exhibition at Salon des Independents in 1907 “If I met such a woman in the street, I should run away in terror. Above all I do not create a human, I make a picture.” - Matisse
    17. 17. What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter - a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. -Henri Matisse Henri Cartier-Bresson, Matisse, 1946
    18. 18. France, 1906 – Cezanne dies. Post-impressionism ends & Fauvism begins • Cezanne only became famous at the end of his life in 1904, surviving years of ridicule, receives several retrospectives from 1904-07 • Admired for ordered and methodical process (small, discrete strokes) • Akin to Divisionist (aka pointilist) process • Return to French classical forms (geometry) & subjects • To this, Matisse added “epileptic” pure color (discovered when moved south near Mediterranean Sea) • Title (“Luxury, Tranquility & Pleasure”) taken from poem by Baudelaire Cezanne Large Bathers 1906 Henri Matisse, Luxe, Calme et Volupte, 1904-05
    19. 19. Matisse & Fauvism • short-lived movement, lasted a season and began with a scandal at the 1905 Salon d’Automne • Also included Andre Derain & Maurice de Vlaminck (his original inspiration) • Name (“wild beasts”) coined by critic Louis Vauxcelles • Reflects what Matisse thought to be “four trends” in Post- Impressionism (light, color, expression, primitivism) • Divisionist process abadoned • Pairing pure complementary colors for visual tension & balance • flat planes of nonmimetic color • unified pictorial surface • Allover composition (addresses entire canvas) Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905, oil
    20. 20. Matisse, Open Window, 1905 “What counts most with colors are relationships. Thanks to them and them alone a drawing can be intensely colored without there being any need for actual color.” - Matisse
    21. 21. Matisse, Bonheur de vivre (joy of life), 1905 (5.5’x 8’)
    22. 22. • Only painting entered in 1906 Salon des Independents • Result of numerous sketches • Arcadian landscape inspired by French classicism • Pairs visual beauty and sensual pleasure • flat planes of unmodulated pure color on large scale • clashes of primary hues • thick contour lines in bright hues • deformed bodies merging together • stylistic disunity • discrepancies of scale Matisse, Bonheur de vivre (joy of life), 1905 (5.5’x 8’) Ingres Turkish Bath 1862 Matisse in Paradise
    23. 23. Art is a finger up the bourgeoisie ass -Pablo Picasso
    24. 24. France, 1907 Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, oil Study for Les Demoiselles Student (holding skull or book) Sailor (holding wine flask) Prostitutes http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/3/36
    25. 25. The Gaze Interrupted • Two important analyses (Alfred Barr & Leo Steinberg) Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, oil, 7’x7’ Barr -1st cubist painting (since clothed, male figures removed) -Once an allegory on mortality, sin (sailor in center) & virtue (student at side), now a purely formal composition -Stylistic shift: Iberian to African influences Steinberg -a “sexual metaphor” (fear of sex) -Emphasized by spatial distortion, stylistic disunity, format (square), & table as phallis -Figures are disconnected & only interact with viewer (implicated in this) -Their gaze, doubled with the association to African art, makes the feeling of fear and danger more palpable “…my first exorcism painting” - Picasso
    26. 26. The Birth of Venus, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1879
    27. 27. From Sex Kitten to Dominatrix Marilyn Monroe, Bert Stern, 1962 Maitresse Francoise (Annick Foucault)
    28. 28. 1908 - Wilhelm Worringer publishes Abstraction and Empathy • Abstraction a primordial urge • These artists look to tribal art and Worringer’s ideas to develop their work • Worringer: two opposed styles throughout history: realism (engagement with world) vs. abstraction (withdrawal from it) • Marc and Wassily Kandinsky formed Der Blaue Reiter in Munich, 1911 as search for “spiritual awakening” through art • St. George (patron saint Moscow)—symbolic of Christian Book of Revelations, second coming of Christ during the Apocalypse • Included in almanac are expressionist works, tribal art, art of children, Japanese masks and prints Vassily Kandinsky, Final study for cover of the Blaue Reiter Almanach, 1911, drawing “I caught a strange thought…it had settled in my open hand like a butterfly—the thought that people once before, a long time ago, like alter egos, loved abstractions as we do now. Many an object hidden away in our museums of anthropology looks at us with strangely disturbing eyes. What made them possible, these products of a sheer will to abstraction?” – Franz Marc, WWI
    29. 29. The Blue Rider – Art & The Natural World • German Expressionism • Abstraction as empathy & engagement • The spiritual is best expressed in abstract forms • Color and line “ignite” the spirit & correspond to particular emotions • They also correspond to music (notes, chords, melodies) Kandinsky, Lyrical, 1911, oil Kandinsky’s Questionnaire, 1923
    30. 30. Franz Marc, The Fate of the Animals, 1913, oil
    31. 31. Franz Marc • Interest in the spiritual, nature & animal world • Also had a visual system, endowing types of line with emotive characteristics (organic vs. geometric) and colors with moods & gender (blue=male, yellow=female) • Admired the Impressionists & Post- impressionists • In his animal pictures, he projects human qualities & anxieties • “all being is flaming suffering” • Died in WWI Franz Marc, The Fate of the Animals, 1913, oil (My work is)…“a pantheistic penetration into the pulsating flow of blood in nature, in trees, in animals, in the atmosphere.” - Marc
    32. 32. The Bridge – Art & the City • German Expressionism • The Bridge (Die Brucke) formed in 1905 in Dresden; Kirchner its head • Got name from Nietzche passage in his Thus Spoke Zarathustra (man as a bridge between animal and Superman) • Call to break free from conservative past toward modern, liberated present • All members were architecture students • Saw the primal in the urban environment • Main theme of modern anxiety and chaos • Kirchner believed the war would destroy his creative powers (he was declared unfit for service) • Committed suicide in 1938 following his inclusion in Hitler’s “Degenerate Artists” Kirchner, Self-Portrait as a Soldier, 1915, oil
    33. 33. The Bridge - “The Metropolitan Type” (Georg Simmel, 1903) • Germany rapidly industrializing • Bustling shopping district in Dresden • Middle-class citizens • Lack of architecture • The city as chaotic, primitive, alienating • Masklike faces of women • Blasé attitude to protect oneself from threatening external forces • Distorted space • Garish colors • Bold, blue line connects and separate Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street, Dresden, 1908, oil Walker Evans & James Agee from Many Are Called, published 1966 (taken late 1930s) http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/3/63 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfZu--psur8
    34. 34. 1909 – The Futurist Manifesto is Published • F.T. Marinetti self- appointed leader • Celebrated progress & industrialization • Glorified speed, violence, war, anarchy, misogyny • Attacked middle class values • Aligned with Fascist movement in Italy • Experimented with new media (photo, film, performance) • First movement to utilize mass culture (newspaper) to promote itself The Terminator, 1984 Enrico Prampolini, Portrait of Marinetti, 1925 a speeding automobile…is more beautiful than the victory of Samothrace”
    35. 35. Giacomo Balla, Girl Running on a Balcony, 1912, oil
    36. 36. Futurist Strategies • Explored synesthesia – breaking down of boundaries between different senses (sight, sound, etc) • Explored kinesthesia – sense of body position, movement, weight • Aligned itself with technologies of vision and representation, such as chronophotography • To overcome media specificity (painting, sculpture, film, music and literature as static separate things) Thais, 1916, Bragaglia (director) only surviving full-length Futurist film Giacomo Balla, Girl Running on a Balcony, 1912, oil UmbertoBoccioni,UniqueFormsofContinuityinSpace,1913 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA6znP94GHg
    37. 37. Futurism & Photography • Marey’s studies of the body in space— an early form of stroboscopy (using interrupted light to show slow motion) • Marey a physiologist who, once seeing Muybridge’s work in stop motion, turned to photography vs. graphics as a way of recording motion • Developed a photographic gun with a circular plate that created near instantaneous photos from a single viewpoint, then used a slotted disk in front of the camera to break up movement in set intervals registered on a single photographic plate • To avoid superimposition of the images, the subjects were clothed totally in black, and wore metal-studded strips on their arms and legs Etienne-Jules Marey, Figure in Motion, 1880s
    38. 38. Free Word Poetry http://www.ubu.com/sound/marinetti.html Marinetti, Dune, Parole in Libertà, score, 1914 • From Zang Tumn Tuum, 1914, first collection • Typographic and orthographic (a correct writing system (punctuation, spelling, etc) for written language) experimentation • An expression of Marinetti’s experience of the sights, sounds, smells of Tripoli (capital of Libya) • Purely phonetic, textual, graphic performance, ontamontapoeic in nature
    39. 39. Study Questions for next week’s reading response/summary: 1) How did artists continue to experiment and play with visual forms and materials during the second decade of the 20th century? 2) How did the devastation of World War I affect art & artists during this period?