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ART_HIST_255: Introduction to Modernism: Survey of Modern Art c.1850-1950 (W24 Kacsor)

Course Description

This lecture course offers an introduction into one of the most debated terms of art-historical scholarship: modernism. Against its legacy as the hegemonic artistic discourse of the West, this course will study modernisms in the plural and survey some of the artistic forms, methods, ideas, and concepts that emerged in dialogue with multiple global modernities. The class will focus on the period between c. 1850 and 1950, which was defined by faltering empires; old and new forms of colonialism; revolutions; nationalisms; mass wars and mass cultures; as well as radical social movements such as feminism. Modern art allowed artists to express, critique, and at times radically reimagine their surrounding realities. The lectures will pay particular attention not only to the various artistic forms that modernisms took, from abstraction to realism, but also to the diverse contexts in which they flourished. Whereas in Paris or Moscow modern art developed through rebellion against the established norms of art academies, in Hanoi or Tashkent modernisms began and blossomed within French and Russian colonial art academies. Overall, the course will examine some distinct episodes in modernisms, not only in Western Europe, but also in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam, among other places.

Piet Mondrian
Tableau No. 2 with Red, Blue, Black, and Gray
oil on canvas
75 x 65 cm
private collection