Modern Art 167 Midterm Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Modern Art 167 Midterm Deck (28):

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Henri Matisse, The Joy of Life, 1906

  • flat planes of unmodulated pure color, such large scale
  • with violent crash of primary hues, complementaries
  • such thick contours, bright hues
  • deformed bodies, melting together like "mercury"
  • references to Ingres, Titian, Georgione
  • sensusous joy, the feeling of estatic awe of life, to simplify, free of gener difference, erotic freedom
  • art as a symobl of and creator of the joy of life
  • sexual difference/contradictions
  • disjunctive transitions characteristic of dream images/hallucination
  • Clement Greenberg: the avant garde poet/artist sought to maintain the high level of his art by both narrowing and raising it to the expression of an absoluted in which all relativities and contradictions would be either resolved or beside the point
  • devoid of troubling subject matter



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Henri Matisse, Back IV, 1930

  • 6 foot tall bronze relief
  • thinking about the tradition of sculpture, turn figure 180 degrees
  • focus on the physical form rather than the relationship of artist and model (face)
  • chunky forceful, emphasized, simplified, reduced
  • each of the nudes based on the cast of the relief preceding it = sculptures of sculptures
  • figure becomes big crack of a form
  • he pursues sculpture by taking it away from the body


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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Girl Under a Japanese Umbrella, 1909

  • the difference, the primitive and sexual other is relocated to the studio, to modernity
  • difference to those before him, the gaze comes from the model, the women is no longer a primitive fantasy
  • signal rotation of the body that raises the buttocks
  • wall hangings referenced in his studio, hangings based on german new guinea decorative motifs (sexually explicit images)
  • these artists didn't just discover these oceanic colonies by chance
  • primitivism is an ideology of european culture, non western culture not as culture at all, but just natural (the pure, untouched)
  • nonwestern art is to be celebrated, as simplicity, it matters to the degree that western cultures can utilize
  • the primitive is a construct, exists only in relation to the construct of civilization
  • created an erotic fantasy, the ambivalence, the simultaneous desire and dread of freminine sexuality
  • Matisse, The Blue Nude: only "makes the picture, not the human"
  • Gauguin, The Spirit of the Dead Watching: is a dream of sexual mastery, but more pictorial than actual
  • Manet, Olympia: commands her sex, partial power
  • Griselda Pollock's theory of game play of three moves: reference, deference, difference
  • GE (Die Brücke)


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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, The Street, Dresden, 1908

  • kirchners explores the psychological of painting
  • nervous line, violent colors, radiant tension, the glowing orange
  • pedestrians locked in space, expressionless women appear to be wearing masks
  • women at the right, clutch their skirts, purses as if feeling pressure, trying to protect themselves
  • german expressionism -- anxious world
  • figures suggest a blasé attitude (George Simmel, the mental life of the modern city)
  • "The metropolitan type develops an organ protecting him against the threatening currents and the discrepancies of his external environment"
  • an electric line that isolates the urban dwellers as it connects them: a paradoxical kind of alienation that unites
  • GE (Die Brücke)


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Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VII, 1913

  • art independent of one's view of the outside world, based soley on inner necessity  (saw his painting upside down, only saw shapes, and color, and line)
  • a happy song doesn't sound happy, it makes us feel happy
  • not a picture OF anything, it is a picture driven by spirit, not a picture of spirit
  • color is a key board
  • search for a communion with the spiritual realm
  • look at Kandisky notes**


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Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907

  • return of gaze is one of shock, confrontational
  • hypnotic stares, harsh shapes
  • primitivist equation between africa and the savage
  • truth sig of african mask until 5 year following this painting
  • a painting or sculpture not merely seen or observed, but a system of signs that is to be read
  • 5 naked prostitutes in a brothel
  • pushes curtain, another enters space, what is this space?
  • it comes forward rather than recedes
  • the immediacy of the confrontation
  • empowering of the spectator
  • each connect individually to the viewer
  • not so much a statement as much as a challenge for us to respond
  • studies for les demoiselles 1809--16 notebooks; in one study: med student and sailor; first intended to be a parlor of a brothel, drama was to be contained in that space, the spectator looks on to the event
  • shifts from narrative scene to an attack at us
  • not only is there no narrating feature, the different figures don't communicate with one another, only with the viewer; it is the work's lack of stylistic and scenic unity that binds the painting to the spectator, a kind of prostitue catalog
  • still life in the foreground
  • multiplicity of styles at play
  • left: curtain raiser --- a reference to gauguin, face from witch in the spirit
  • two in center: lying down, bed sheets, iberian
  • right two: africanized figures; hatched lines; squat figure, especially aggressive, eyes out of alignment, head appears almost severed from the body
  • jungle like experience
  • internal stylistic diversity, unity resides in the viewer, what he sees, reason for protstiitues and africans-- wanted them impersonalize them
  • itumba african mask
  • wild naked nature with a bold face of truth
  • wild, barbaric, sexual, grotesque
  • art as a systems of signs to be decoded


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Georges Braque, The Portuguese, 1911

  • seeking a sincere representation of depth, and knows the truth of flatness
  • how to engage two types of flatness: the depicted flatness versus the literal flatness
  • employ two devices; they become indistinguishable, so as to articulate only one surface and one flatness
  • sought to "undeceive the eye" : stenciled lettering pushes shading and shapes back below the surface of the lettering


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Pablo Picasso, Violin, 1912

  • adopts the "symbolic"
  • two newspaper shapes, declare they were cut out in a jigsaw-puzzle fashion from a single original sheet
  • newspaper line suggest grained wood; the newsprint piece as a sign for "background" in relation to the violin's "figure" (the other piece)
  • "paradigm" as a binary opposition through which each half of the pair gains its meaning by NOT signifying the other; functioning on a set of negative contrasts rather than positive "looking likes"
  • now functions according to the structural-linguistic definition of the sign itself as "relative, oppositive, and negative" = a revolution in Western representation that goes beyond the visual to extend to the literary and past political economy (currency)


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Pablo Picasso, Guitar, 1912 (cardboard)

  • the Grebo mask is a collection of "paradigms"
  • establishes the instrument's shape through a single plane of metal from which the sound-hole projects, much like the eyes of the Grebo mask
  • each plane hovers against the relief-plane as figure against ground, a form of paradigm which "Violin" had explored
  • volume is suggested but not depicted


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Robert Delaunay, Simultaneous Windows on the City (aka Fenêtres simultanées sur las ville), 1911-12

  • key to color was simultaneous color contrast
  • the eiffel towel was a symbol of modernity for delaunay
  • the eye was seen as a passive receptor
  • "there is such as thing as pure optical data"
  • this pure optical info is the data transfer to the optical nerve; how to turn optical data info perception; role of the mind in the act of vision; having to develop perception over time
  • to contrasting colors will create a third color; color is only color in comparison to other color
  • color is not just a surface, color is the very "stuff" of vision; it is what creates forms
    the physiological mixing of color in the eye
  • we also understand the tactility; optical data + observation data (tactile experience)
  • painted on the frame
  • optical data + cognition
  • the green form as the riffle tower; the forms mimic the park around the tower; representing aerial view
  • now we can see the painting as a window; doesn't reject the tradition painting as window, but purifies it, the reality of vision is delivered in the abstraction of the painting
  • just as optical data becomes cognition, like wise the mind has to work with the eye; references


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Robert Delaunay, First Disk, 1913-14

  • purest of abstractions at this time
  • 7 concentric bands of solid colors divided into quarters, with more intense primaries and complementaries closer to the center
  • the law of simultaneous contrasts; transcendental simultaneity


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A view of the "0.10" exhibition in Petrograd/St. Petersburg, 1915 (with Kazimir Malevich, Black Square, 1915)

  • iconoclasm
  • black square
  • a clean slate
  • the supremacy of pure feeling, or pure sensation in creative art -suprematism
  • nothing is real except the black square
  • nothing is left behind except feeling
  • destruction as a preliminary to construction
  • this is the zero
  • nonobjective forms, no references
  • the black square is the call for a whole new world
  • offers itself as a new art for a new world
  • indexical paintings: meaning the division of the picture's surface, the marks it received, are not determined by the artist's "inner life" or mood (as was the case for Kandinsky's abstract paintings), but by the logic of the "zero" -- they refer directly to the material ground of the picture itself, which they map


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Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Construction, 1915-16

  • color is being freed from any determination of a subject matter other than its own radiance
  • to expose the "zero" of color
  • "aerial suprematism"
  • the colors do not combine, they make groupings, but aren't harmonic, don't make a further overall color or tone
  • *the color relationships are not compositional, but not random either, they assert their independence in their fragmentary groupings, preventing the perceptual organization of shapes into any kind of unity, only clashing juxtapositions


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Vladmir Tatlin, Selection of Materials: Iron, Stucco, Glass, Asphalt, 1914

  • now what you see is what is; this work is on the threshold of Constructivism
  • frame remains but materials are no longer composed pictorially
  • opaque dull sheet of iron, thin, and light
  • piece of glass, cut in concave shape, second piece of metal
  • the intrinsic properties of each materials, suggest form, material dictates form
  • stucco cements elements in place
  • factor - subjective side of painterly mark, faktura -- dealing directly with the material
  • activates space, inhavitibing the same space we share
  • leave nothing for imagination, nothing is disguised
  • wood was square and planar (rect forms)
  • metal could be cut and bent (curvelinear)
  • glass somewhere in between (transparency, mediate btwen in/ext.)
  • sought his constructions to be necessary through this truth of materials
  • concept of "counter-relief"


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Vladimir Tatlin, model of Monument to the Third International, 1920

  • was to be erected in the center of moscow
  • 1300 ft in height, a third taller than eiffel
  • never realized beyond the model, was to be made of glass and iron
  • (1) modern: in strict obedience to principle of "culture of materials"
  • framework supports a body of glass cylinder, cone, and cube; tilted structure
  • (2) functional: suppose to constantly issue news, radio, loud speaker, an open air screen that open at night, a propaganda center
  • (2) symbolic beacon: spelled out "dynamism" as the ethos of the Revolution; the aspirations of communism and the machine age; "tectonics"
  • engineer wise, completely impratcial
  • symbol of the utopian world; still not yet equip to be the artist engineers they wanted to be
  • critieque by rodchenko: faktura + tectonics (nothing justified formal use of spiral and the appeal to an age-old iconography
  • too much of a composition, subjective, not enough construction; said it reeked of "bourgeois individualism," not construction but authorial composition
  • composition is about tasteful construction
  • insist on utility, abandoning easelism


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Aleksandr Rodchenko, Oval Hanging Construction no. 12, c. 1920

  • work made of wood, paint; hangs from ceiling by wire
  • identical in shape, decrease in size, rotate, collapsable
  • convenient for storage, one iteration of faktura - incorporating the technical means of construction into itself
  • the brush gave way to new instruments, brush was an imprecise instrument
  • the only good of art is its utility
  • would have reflected light, would have recorded the real life around the sculpture
  • a work contiguous with you
  • when you enter the room, the shifts
  • no fantasy of artist as a mythical in spired creator; artist is an engineer, studio becomes a laboratory
  • the eventual goal of the constructivisits was to produce objects for the market, as a social agent
  • in contrast with the bourgeois artist's studio secrets, the sculpture's "logical" mode of production and deductive structure were heralded as a means of opposing the fetishization of artistic inspiration; a deductive structure


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Gustav Klutsis, Let Us Fulfill the Plan of the Great Projects, 1930

  • for new mass audience
  • raised hand used as an emblem of political participation and a key image of actual representation of the masses of the voting process
  • substituting part of the body for the whole, the hand clearly "stands for" the subject who raises it; just as the single hand "stands for" the unity of purpose produced by a single representative who can speek for the masses
  • the metonymy of the hand as a sign of physical, perceptual, and political participation in the collective process is a central ex. of how photomontage's initial strategy of cropping and fragmentation had been transformed by this time
  • first to invoke propaganda as an artistic model


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Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Red, Black, Blue, Gray, 1921

  • the first Neoplastic painting proper
  • nothing gets the lion's share of attention
  • never worked according to formula; building off to create in itself a new kind of equilibrium, an equilbrium of tension, in which each element is endowed with maximal energy (dynamic equilibrium); the number of elements present in one single work could also be reduced in order to augment each element's share of the tension
  • idea of totality, only the whole is true
  • details bottom left and upper right corner - black line stops short; demands to be read as a surrogate for the whole, but not a cut of the whole, total internally
  • the experience is to be purely plastic and in this way realistic
  • the linear grids wouldn't virtually extend into the architectural space, but would nevertheless be endowed with an expansive force; it would "irradiate in space," and thus "correct" the ugliness around it; it would be a bundle of energy so powerful that it would visually control the room in which it was hung; utopia


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Gerrit Rietveld, Red and Blue Chair, 1917-18

  • subverted the opposition supporting/supported upon which every constructive frame is based
  • verticle structure is both supporting (armrest) and being supported (hangs off the ground)
  • brings Mondrian's idea of dynamic equilibrium into chair design
  • aimed for simple construction for mass production
  • believed there was a greater goal for designer rather than the physical but the spiritual, when society is capable of utopia, a chair that belongs to another world


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Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913

  • emphasis for abolition of lines
  • carved by forces of speed and wind
  • surpassing limits of body, lines ripple outward, flags
  • insert the fluidity of perception in the static medium
  • ref. winged victory of samothrace (nike of sam.) - hellenistic
  • difference is instructive and size, the nike speed is in the drapery, the winds propel the fabric, the fut the body itself is reshaped as if the new tech indust mil of mod are producing a new man
  • new man, half man, half machine
  • fig is a new tech subject, the new machine age, speed and motion
  • the sick and the weak will be crushed
  • vision of the future that has nothing to do with humans
  • metalized body, imagined as a kind of prelude of even more sublime fusion
  • helmet head, forms evoke heat and flames, cold rigid impenetrability of metal, mech surfaces, mechanized man, externalized will
  • 1914 marinetti mousellini - futurism and fascism - can't be completely collasped
  • led artists to welcome the war, destruction of the past, wwi, artistic purity crossed with social hygiene
  • art culture and state ideology


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Jacob Epstein, Rock Drill, 1913-15

  • idea of modern man as atavistic, aggressively mechanistic, even murderous
  • plaster creature and actual drill
  • the "new ego" hardened against the shocks of the modern world
  • "the sinister figure of today and tomorrow"
  • destruction of humanity, male fantasy of reproduction w/o women
  • the vortex, the concentration of energy


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Charles Sheeler, American Landscape, 1931  American landscape

  • no single bush, tree
  • only activity is the smoke, trains
  • calm order, absolute control, technoligal power
  • photographic illusionism
  • unmediated, transparent reality
  • shows no exploitation, the real conditions,
  • temple like structures; the machine as the Edenic garden of America
  • tiny figure, barely noticeable, eclipsed by the surround structures
  • doesn't depict the unrest
  • perhaps it is a critique; Sheeler aligns himself (artist) with the laborer; alienates the artist from his craft; no signs of the "artist hand"


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Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917

  • r mutt refers to mutt as in dog, to jl mott, urinal company
  • art is an act of nomination and meaning
  • industrially produced object -- becomes art because the artist changes it, puts it in a gallery
  • imports by nomination, by selection, can't be read as coming from the artists ideas
  • inversion of the urinal
  • metaphysical level, whole different production, worlds of art and labor
  • choice redefines the artist work, reveal that artistic action is in the world of art
  • production of something as art, takes the realm in which the object now circulates
  • driving force, material reduction, critique of what kind of art that can still be made, craft relationship is over,
  • art becomes a commercial fettish
  • art is shown as a copy
  • art is already a copy, art is already a readymade, mechanically produced
  • tubes of paint are manufactured, all paintings are assisted readymades
  • textbook


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Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), 1915-23

  • made of two glass panels, set one above another,9ft, freestanding,
  • meant to be accompanied by a book, to avoid rectinal art
  • embody of mechanized form
  • allegory of sexual desire, the apotheosis of virginity
  • bride is blossoming
  • the erotic is not rational
  • large glass cracks in transportation
  • man ray, dust breeding
  • dust is an index of time passing
  • aerial view of landscape
  • chance based procedures, an attack on composition
  • in need of a caption, not internal
  • glass panes as a camera lens


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Hugo Ball in his "Magical Bishop" costume, at the Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, June 1916


  • shaman like costume
  • read and chanted song poem
  • hugo ball, “karawane” the score
  • deliberated in liturgical manner
  • find language untouched by social
  • that these sounds would probe primeval memories,
  • dada, chosen randomly, an infantile sound
  • romanian - yesyes
  • these sounds, bodying forth the shock of the war
  • at the same time, defiant of the war, irrational
  • ball said dada was a mass for the dead, death of war
  • ball as the magical bishop, magical a countrerforces to the rational
  • nonsense of wwi


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Hans Arp, Collage of Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance, 1916-17


  • disorderly grid like composition
  • papier colle -picasso
  • raps are fully abstract, our attention is found in the use of the found materials itself
  • adopts the dada strategy of chance
  • art discovered by chance
  • strategy of chance, noncompositional strategy
  • one the allows chance into structure, distance from the artists hand, intention, skill, vision, inner spirit
  • values that were associated with rationalism, war
  • arp described his compositions as undermining the elements of war


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Hannah Höch, Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the Beer Belly of the Weimar Republic, 1919


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Raoul Hausmann, Mechanical Head (Spirit of the Age), 1920