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ART_HIST_255: Introduction to Modernism (Winter 21: Kiaer): Course Description

Remote research can seem a daunting challenge. If you are having any difficulties or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact us using the information below. Or, you can email artlibrary@northwestern.edu

Subject Specialist

Cara List's picture
Cara List
Contact:
Art Collection
Deering Library, 3rd Floor
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL 60208
847-467-6471

Art Library Assistant

Perry Nigro
perry.nigro@northwestern.edu
847.491.7484
 

Drop-in Office Hours:
Tuesday 1-2PM  Zoom
Thursdays 3-4PM  Zoom

 

Course Description

What is modernism? Why did artists in the late nineteenth century stop making realistic images of the world and instead start experimenting with form to the point that they invented abstract art? Modernist art arose in the historical period we call modernity, defined by industrialization; urbanization; colonization; revolution and mass war; the rise of mass commodity culture, spectacle and technology; and the emergence of the art market as we know it today. Modernist art sometimes optimistically mimics the new forms of mass visual culture but more commonly reworks or rejects those forms in a critical commentary on their inequities. From the late 19th C to the mid-20th C, primarily in Europe, we will examine the key modernist “isms”: Impressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Suprematism, Purism, Constructivism, and Socialist Realism, as well as the rise of abstraction culminating in Abstract Expressionism.

Piet Mondrian
Tableau No. 2 with Red, Blue, Black, and Gray
oil on canvas
1921-25

75 x 65 cm
private collection