"When art is made new, we are made new with it. We have a sense of solidarity with our own time, and of psychic energies shared and redoubled, which is just about the most satisfying thing that life has to offer. “If that is possible,” we say to ourselves, “then everything is possible”; a new phase in the history of human awareness has been opened, just as it was opened up when people first read Dante, or first heard Bach’s 48 preludes and fugues, or first learned Hamlet and King Lear." (Russell 13) This new art spoken of, the coined “secret revolution” that was a part of the new phase opened up, was modern art. This revolutionary form began shortly before 1914 (Russell 126) and is still present today. It was during this time period that artist Walt Kuhn gained great popularity and his work Clown With Long Nose was painted.
It is important, before looking at the painting, to first understand the purpose and direction modern art usually has. “The entire gamut of modern art can be viewed from the vantage point of the artist’s attitude towards the object, an examination which should throw some light on the larger problem of how the modern artist chooses to interweave art and reality and, ultimately, of what constitutes reality for him (Johnson 11).” A major part of interpreting modern art lies within determining that reality. Viewers search for their own meaning in the painting since the simplicity of most modern works leaves much room for imagination. When the modernism phase of artwork began it was not exactly obvious to the public, but over time there “came about a general awareness that there was such thing as a modern sensibility, and that that sensibility had the key to modern life (Russell 126)”. It was thought that if one was modern they had to easily be able to notice changes of life and be accommodating of “the unconscious and the irrational” side of humans (Russell 126). These aspects will later influence the works of Walt Kuhn in his various oil...
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