FROM THE MODERN TO THE POST MODERN AND BEYOND
ART OF THE LATER 20TH CENTURY
TEXT PAGES 1030–1091
THE ART WORLD’S FOCUS SHIFTS WEST
1. List two characteristics of so-called “Greenbergian formalism”:
An emphasis on an artwork’s visual elements rather than its subject.
Rejection of illusionism and a focus on exploring the properties of each artistic medium.
2. Why is it difficult to give a precise definition of the term “Postmodernism”?
It is a widespread cultural phenomenon. It can be considered a rejection of modernist principles and accommodates seemingly everything in art.
In contrast to Modernism, which may be considered to be elitist, Postmodernism is: A naïve and optimistic populism.
3. What is the attitude of Existentialists toward human existence?
Human existence is absurd, and it is impossible to achieve certitude. Many existentialists also promoted atheism and questioned the possibility of situating God within a systematic philosophy.
List three artists whose work reflects these ideas:
a. Francis Bacon
b. Jean Dubuffet
c. Alberto Giacometti
4. Name the artist who referred to his art as “an attempt to remake the violence of reality itself”: Francis Bacon.
5. List two characteristics of the art of Jean Dubuffet:
a. His scenes are painted or incised into thickly encrusted, parched-looking surfaces of impasto.
b. Scribblings are interspersed with the images, heightening the impression of smeared and gashed surfaces of crumbling walls and worn pavements marked by random individuals.
6. What is Art Brut?
Untaught, coarse, and rough art, done in the way that children or the mentally unbalanced would paint. 7. In what way does the sculpture of Giacometti, like the figure shown on FIG. 34-3, relate to the ideas of the Existentialists?
The figures can be seen as the epitome of existentialist humanity—alienated, solitary, and lost in the world’s immensity. They are thin, virtually featureless, and have rough, agitated surfaces.
1. What major artistic style developed in the United States after the influx of refugee artists from Europe?
In what city did it begin?
New York City.
2. Describe the way Jackson Pollock created his "gestural" Abstract Expressionist pieces. Using sticks or brushes, he flung, poured, and dripped paint (not just oil paints but aluminum paints and household enamels as well) onto a section of unsized canvas he unrolled across his studio floor.
3. List one way in which de Kooning’s work relates to that of Pollack:
The brush strokes are sweeping and gestural and have the energetic application of pigment typical of gestural abstraction.
List one way in which it differs:
His subject is still figurative, whereas Pollock’s are wholly abstract.
4. What do the works of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko have in common?
They have a quiet aesthetic and are emotionally resonant through use of color.
5. Describe the function of Barnett Newman's "zips."
He intended the viewer to perceive the zips not as separate entities, separate from the ground, but instead as accents energizing the field and giving it scale.
6. What feelings did Mark Rothko hope to evoke with his large, luminous canvases?
Basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, and doom.
7. How does Post-Painterly Abstraction differ from Abstract Expressionism?
Whereas Abstract Expressionism conveys a feeling of passion and visceral intensity, a cool, detached rationality emphasizing tighter pictorial control characterizes Post-Painterly Abstraction.
8. Why was Ellsworth Kelly’s work known as “Hard Edge Abstraction”?
His paintings have razor-sharp edges and clearly delineated shapes. They convey no suggestion of the illusion of depth—the color shapes appear two-dimensional. 9. What is Color-Field painting?
It emphasizes painting’s basic properties. The emotional element...
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