Introduction to Modernism

Introduction  In this lesson, students will learn about avant-garde movements in art history from the Impressionists through the Surrealists in order to be prepared to look at Postmodern work in future lessons. 2 90 minute blocks Specialty class (no defined SOL¶s) 

Cognitive Objectives     Students will connect the concepts of art movements to works of art from the period. Students will recognize elements in works of art that were radical for their time. Students will identify the role of technology and world events in the development of modern ideas and artistic practices. Students will create collaborative drawings based on a Surrealist exercise.

Materials and Advanced Preparation   DAY 1 Teaching and Learning Sequence Introduction/ Anticipatory Set (5 minutes)  I will begin by showing students a preview of the types of works that we will be looking at. I will show images and ask students to stop me if they think a work is not ³art.´  I will explain to students that today will be lecture style for nearly the entire class. I will explain that while I will be asking students questions throughout, we will be going over a lot of material. While we have not, and for the most part will not conduct class in this way in the future, it is necessary in order for them to understand the conceptual background of work we will see in the Postmodern unit. As most if not all of the students will be going to college, there first two years will include a lot of lecture-style classes.  Today and on Friday, I will give an overview of Modern Art movements. As we are cramming so much history into a short amount of time, a lot of nuance is lost. We will look at central figures in art and omit artists and works that fall out of the general timeline/ the major movements. The goal is for you to be able to look at a contemporary work of art and have an idea of where the aesthetics/ the ideas are coming from« Lesson Development (80 minutes: 65 minutes on lecture/ discussion; 15 on ³exquisite corpse exercise) PowerPoint presentation/ digital projector Notes printouts.  

I will begin by stating that the Modernism in art is said to begin around the middle of the 19th century and continued until around the 1950-60¶s. What might be some things that bring about changes in art? o Technology o Communication between cultures. o World events o Groups of like-minded people working together« I will explain to students the use of the note sheet. Major issues in Modernism: o Beginnings of Globalization: we generally think of globalization as a contemporary issue; it has been a gradual process over time. The internet has rapidly sped up the process so now the effects are more obvious, but globalization truly began in the 1800¶s  Increase in print media y The printing press has been around for 400 years BUT it has become far cheaper to print, the materials were a lot easier and a lot cheaper to get. y A greater amount of information available. y Artists were able to spread ideas around a lot more easily.  Artists moving around, communicating with each other« y Artistically ³rub off´ on one another. Artists can see what other artists are doing, providing inspiration for their own work.  International trade and Colonialism. y People are going to colonies and seeing the native cultures which are FAR different than art in the European tradition. y While the overall opinion of Europeans when it came to these art objects was negative (they found them to be uncivilized, savage«), artists believed they had a certain magic to them (and thus, were inspired by them).  New technology y Collapsible paint tube: allowed artists to paint outside. Before, they had to use tanned animal organs (in particular, pig¶s stomachs) which were not portable and couldn¶t be sealed easily. y Photography: Freed artists from representation« Provided a new way to look at the world (seeing cropped images, changes in focus). o As photo technology progressed, it continued to change art. Portable, fast-shot camera¶s acted much in the same way as the paint tube: photographers could go outside and capture events. y Cinematography: a lot of the same issues as photos o The biggest thing, something we¶ll see in the next class, is how photography and film allowed artists to make works of art without a tradition, lasting physical product.  Wars played a huge role in the progression of art  


World War I and II left and irreversible mark on the minds and hearts of European artists. The unprecedented horror and destruction forced artists to come up with new forms of expression.  Moving away from representation: more of a theme, more of an effect than a cause« but it¶s worth noting from the outset.  The last thing: the development of ³-isms´ y Avant-garde groups of artists y Manifestos!  ³Je ne veux meme pas savoir s¶il y a eu des homes avant moi.´ y I don¶t even want to know if there were men before me. With this historical overview, we will look at a survey of art movements ranging from the 1850¶s to the 1930¶s. o Realism: went against the Neo-Classical tradition of the Academy«. ³Real people´ in their time, often peasants or people of the middle class. o Impressionism takes this idea and pushes the envelope even more: changes in style, method« o Post-Impressionism: painted in a similar style, but added new content, painted more subjectively«  Cezanne leading into Cubism: Blocky brush strokes, odd perspective. o Cubism: New methods in perspective, more drab use of color« moving towards pure abstraction. o Expressionism: similar to the Post-Impressionists« carry it to yet a more internal perspective. Emphasis on psychology. The emotion/ the mood are of primary importance. o Suprematism: a more mathematical sort of painting. Highly graphic. o Constructivism: Similar aesthetic to Suprematism, but with a more utilitarian function, art that is more integrated into society« o Futurism: believed that arts should play a role in society and politics as well, but with different undertones. Praised technology, strength, and speed. o Dada art: Again, highly interested in interaction with the public, but they were anti-war. Against the ³rational,´ bourgeois modes of thinking that lead to war: particularly unquestioned nationalism, consumerism« o Surrealism: Linked to Dada art (there was a lot of correspondence between the artists of each camp).  Non Sequitur: ³an abrupt, illogical, unexpected or absurd turn of plot or dialogue not normally associated with or appropriate to that preceding it.´ We will then, as a class, play a surrealist game: the exquisite corpse. Students will work in groups of three. They will fold a half-sheet of paper into three sections. The first third is the head; the second, the body; the third, the legs. The first part is drawn, two lines are extended to the next section and the paper is folded over. The next person picks up the lines, draws the body, and continues two lines to the third section, etc. y

Closure (5 minutes) 

During the last five minutes, we will look at other works by the same artists and have students place them in their appropriate art periods.

DAY 2 Teaching and Learning Sequence Introduction/ Anticipatory Set (10 minutes)  I will begin by reviewing the previous lesson: o We have already seen artworks that have«  Focused in on everyday subjects.  Sought out new ways of seeing and representing the world through changes in technique.  Attempted to show a more subjective, vivid world.  Moved further into subjectivity, representing dark psychological states.  Abandoned representation entirely in favor of geometry and color.  Been used in the contexts of graphic design, architecture, and a variety of other forms.  Praised war.  Illustrated the horrors of war.  Considered the question ³What is art?´  Created new works out of borrowed or appropriated imagery.  Explored the subconscious, the logic of dreams« In today¶s class, we will« o Create surrealist drawings o Look at modern artists and art groups (-isms) in America. 

Lesson Development (75 minutes, LECTURE)     We will begin by looking at Surrealism We will complete Surrealist ³Exquisite Corpses´ We will continue with our study of Modern art movements. American Movements o Before we looked at European artists. o The migration to the US through war and persecution made NYC the capital of the art world: THE ARMORY SHOW, 1913 American Art vs. European Art o Armory Show was shocking to American viewers, but inspired many artists. o Nevertheless, American art continued to be viewed by critics as a copy of European art. o Most of the respected artists in America were from Europe. o Many ³home grown´ American movements and artists have since been reevaluated.  Hudson River Valley School/ Rocky Mountain School  American Realism/ Impressionism    

Another critical movement: The Harlem Renaissance What put American art on the map? ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM o Linked to«  the elements of chance and intuition in Dada art.  The interest in the psychological in German Expressionism. o Considered rebellious and anarchic: major aspects of American identity. o Abstraction allowed for an avant-garde gesture while remaining apolitical (necessary due to McCarthy hearings«) o Generally purely abstract. o In some instances reflected the identity of the artist ± the ³signature style´ o In others, artists liked the idea of an absence of identity« MINIMALISM o Major artists include Dan Flavin, Tony Smith, Robert Morris, Carl Andre, and Sol LeWitt. o The alternative to the romantic nature of Abstract Expressionism. o A complete removal of the self, interested instead in simple forms that« o Are made of industrial materials. o Often address architectural space. o Are mathematical rather than emotional.

Closure (5 minutes)  During the last five minutes, we will look at other works by the same artists and I will have students place them in their appropriate art periods.

Homework  None

Formative Assessment  I will check students understanding through questions during the lecture.  I will see how much knowledge students have retained from the lesson through wrap-up questions. Summative Assessment  I will check students¶ note sheets at the end of class.

References y Simon Wilson and Jessica Lack, The Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms

Appended Materials y Slideshow

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