Encountering the object What do you see? Does it matter who made it?
Encountering the objectHenry Moore (1898-1986) Artist unknownReclining Woman, 1927 The Sleeping Lady, ca. 3600 -Cast concrete 2500 B.C.British Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, Malta
Four theories of art• Realism Art portrays reality as we see it• Expressionism Art shows feelings and communicates thoughts• Formalism Art is significant form• Post-modernism Art is critical of accepted power structures
RealismRon Mueck George SegalBed, 2005 Blue Girl on Black Bed, 1976
Realism• The goal of art is to accurately describe reality• Plato (428 – 348 BC) originated the theory• Art is an imitation of reality• Emphasis on craft and beauty
RealismWhich one of these is more like reality?
Expressionism Artist anonymousAlison Saar Power Figure (Nkisi NKondi:Untitled (from the Crossroads Mangaaka), mid to late 19thinstallation), 1989 century
Expressionism• Art communicates subjective, personal, and cultural ideas• Fidelity to“reality” doesn’t reflect complexity of subjects• Art is a special way of knowing the world• Emphasis on feelings and individual experience
Expressionism What is being expressed?How does the object communicate?
FormalismLoretta Pettway Barnett NewmanLazy Gal – Bars, ca. 1965 Concord, 1949
Formalism• “Art for art’s sake”• Art is important because it can find essence of form• Emphasis on abstraction, composition, and an object’s internal relationships• Art about essences
Are these objects communicating the same thing? Sean Scully Raphael, 2004 Willie “Ma Willie” AbramsRoman Stripes variation, c. 1975
Post-modernismDavid Hammons Mickalene ThomasAfrican-American Flag, 1990 Mama Bush: (Your love keeps lifting me) higher and higher, 2009
Post-modernism• Art meant to question, challenge and provoke• Emphasis on social experience and not individual• Interest in creating new relationships in society• Art is pluralistic; it tells a truth, not the truth
What questions are being asked in these?David Hammons Mickalene ThomasAfrican-American Flag, 1990 Mama Bush: (Your love keeps lifting me) higher and higher, 2009
• What is your philosophy of art?• Is there a “best” way to approach artwork?• Do theories help to look at artwork?
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