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Post-WWII Art Modernism has seen it all… Robert Rauschenberg, White Painting, 1951 Deconstructive art of the 50s and 60s follows the lead of Dada, Cubism,

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Presentation on theme: "Post-WWII Art Modernism has seen it all… Robert Rauschenberg, White Painting, 1951 Deconstructive art of the 50s and 60s follows the lead of Dada, Cubism,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Post-WWII Art Modernism has seen it all… Robert Rauschenberg, White Painting, 1951 Deconstructive art of the 50s and 60s follows the lead of Dada, Cubism, taking the essence of art to a minimalist place Malevich, Black Square, 1913 Minimalism by a Suprematist--- based on fundamental geometric forms

2 World Events, 1945-70 1945--- atomic bomb dropped by the Americans on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1947--- India gains independence from Great Britain…Ghandi leads with non- violent protest 1949---Chinese Communist Party takes over all of mainland China under Mao Zedong 1950s--- North vs South Korean War 1960s---Vietnam War; uprisings in South America; Arab/Israeli conflict; liberation of many African and Caribbean countries 1960s USA: social revolution---Flower Power, Women’s Lib, Civil Rights---rich material of power and identity for artists Francis Bacon, British, Painting, 1946, “brutality of fact”, no glorification---crucifixion is a carcass, blood red and raw

3 1945-70 Despair Alienation Disillusion WWI (Europe), 10 million dead; WWII (global), 35 million dead Existentialism, Atheism--- Sartre…Without God, is there meaninglessness ? Alberto Giacometti, Swiss, Man Pointing, 1947, 70” tall (lifesized), clay then cast in bronze. At the Met in NYC. Thin man is surrounded by mass of air, isolation, fragility. Giacometti is a friend of Sartre.

4 Life is uneasy…Art Brut Jean Dubuffet, Uneasy Life, 1953, French Scratchings of the insane, children, tortured life. Impasto of plaster, glue, sand

5 Abstract Expressionism --- 1940-1960s After WWII, art center shifts from Paris to NYC Direct from Kandinsky… NO ILLUSION…paint is the subject In NY, the goal is to create an emotion through non-figurative abstraction Two styles develop: gestural abstraction (ACTION) Pollock vs chromatic abstraction (COLOR FIELD) Rothko Untitled, 1942 Lee Krasner was an abstract expressionist and wife of Jackson Pollock. In the 50s and 60s, how do you think she may have struggled with her dual role? Celebrated Abstract Expressionist, Hans Hofmann, was to have said: ” This is so good you would not know that it was painted by a woman.” Hofmann, The Golden Wall, 1961… my favorite as a little girl! From Germany, Hofmann was a bridge between expressionist schools

6 ACTION ---Gestural Abstraction Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1950 Dutch, moved to NYC in 1930s; work both figurative and strictly abstract…based on expressive emotional energy of his movements while painting Jackson Pollock, #1, 1950 7 feet x 10 feet…huge! Drip painting technique with canvas on the floor (also used pour painting). Used acrylics, a new painting medium with much quicker drying time. Represents the collective unconscious; was an alcoholic…finally died in a car crash due to drunk driving at age 44

7 COLOR FIELD (a term later used) --- Chromatic Abstraction Mark Rothko, #14, 1960 “color is the doorway to reality”. Pure emotion and spirituality. Barnett Newman, Heroicus Sublimis, 1950 Zips on color, 11 feet x 18 feet. Anticipates the label, “post-painterly abstraction”

8 Abstract Expressionism Clyfford Still, 1948-C Shifted from figural to abstract in 1938-42, earlier than contemporaries. Was from the west coast, although showed in NYC. For early abstract expressionists, active brushstrokes and monumental scale were to carry universal themes of life, struggle, death.

9 POST-PAINTERLY ABSTRACTION --- 1964-70s 1960s American movement—cool and detached purity. (Minimalism later in the decade follows this path) Eliminate all brushstrokes and emotive subject. No depth. Find the essential elements…make it strictly 2-D as canvas is a flat plane. 3-D is illusion. Large canvases often with irregular shapes “Post-Painterly Abstraction” is a term coined in 1964 by art critic, Clement Greenberg, to describe works not imbued with strong personal reaction or painterly qualities. MINIMALISM pushes the Post- Painterly envelope. Systematic exploration of shape…repetition, symmetry…control over chance…mechanical finish. Frank Stella and Donald Judd. Ellsworth Kelly, Red, Blue, Green, 1963 Frank Stella, Mas o Menos, shaped canvas, 1964 (“more or less”) Pioneer of 60s Minimalism:

10 Color Field-Abstract Expressionist-Post-Painterly Abstraction What should you call it? Many labels to define the same artwork Helen Frankenthaler, The Bay, 1963. Stained canvases with diluted acrylic paint. Not emotional (like Rothko) but formalist resolution of work. “Color field” is generally used to describe more detached works of the ‘60s such as Frankenthaler’s. Rothko, on the other hand, is labeled a “chromatic abstractionist.” Keep in mind, though, that these labels are usually produced by art critics or producers to describe or sell a show. A large canvas of Frankenthaler’s can be seen at the National Gallery-East Wing—in the 2 nd floor lobby area. “Every canvas has a journey all its own.”

11 Post-Painterly Abstraction Color Field Morris Louis, Saraband, 1959, An admirer of Frankenthaler, Louis’s works involve pouring distinct stripes of color in fluid lines down large canvases. Part of the Washington (DC) Color School of the 60s. Shift from post-war anxiety of 50s to vibrancy of the 60s. Term “color field” is dubbed. An optimistic and youthful energy

12 Post-Painterly Abstraction vs Minimalism Morris Louis, Alpha-Pi, 1961 8’6”x14’9”, acrylic, at the Met in NYC “Unfurleds”. Organically flowing rivulets of pure color with only the slightest reference to nature or self. Flat color flows on its own not with sense of human hand. Louis died following year of lung cancer at age 49. Frank Stella, Harran II,( protractor series) 1967 6’x10’8”, flourescent polymer paint on canvas Mathematical and scientific--- Deliberation over spontaneity. No interpretation---the enjoyment of seeing the visual form should be enough. Formalism pushed to its end result.

13 MODERN ABSTRACT SCULPTURE— 1950-70s Donald Judd, Untitled, 1969, plexiglass. Several versions of his stacked pieces…one at Hirshhorn. Artpiece is a stack work, cantilevered from the wall. Judd is seen as one of the most influential Minimalist artists by historians, but soundly rejected the label himself. Depersonalized art to create pure forms….used “real materials in real space.” Power is in the purity of materials and character as a whole. well, not sculpture but “stacks” Minimalism =a modern style where the least possible number of elements are used to reduce the concept to its simplest form. Compositions are often untitled. Had its peak in the 1960s and 70s. also Donald Judd, Untitled, 1969

14 MODERN SCULPTURE—1950-70s David Smith, Cubi XVIII, 1964 Abstract, minimalist. Considers sunlight effects on metal, outdoor habitat, burnished metal with steel wool for texture Tony Smith, Die, 1962 Minimalist style---no identified subject, texture, color. Steel and terra cotta box. 6’x6’x6’. NO ILLUSION, NO DECEPTION…object as object. Only two sides can be seen at one time. Relativity in meaning. What could “die” mean? 6 feet under? Random throw of the dice? Fabrication as die cut? Die as in dead?

15 MODERN SCULPTURE—1950-70s Louise Nevelson, Tropical Garden, II, 1957 Found objects, painted wood, 99”x133” ASSEMBLAGE Russian immigrant more than minimalist…references Dada, Surrealism. “Art needs an aesthetic surprise.” Sought the inbetween place of one state to another…lyrical, mysterious Louise Bourgeois, Cumul I, 1969, approx 2’x4’x4’, marble on wood plinth Biomorphic form a la Miro…shapes take on their own life…Organic, sensuous and suggestive. Anthropomorphic shapes of betrayal and anxiety.


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