MODERNISM AND IDENTITY

| June 19, 2015

MODERNISM AND IDENTITY
In the years between 1945 and 1960, the ideal of a universal visual language was advocated by artists, designers, and critics who
believed that a modernist style was a means of achieving that goal. At the same time, as we’ve seen, artists were expected to achieve that universality through the expression of their authentic selves.

How did issues of personal identity—that is sex, race or
sexual orientation—impact artists’ ability to reach that goal? Was the ‘universality’ of modernism implicitly defined in gendered
or racial terms?

Analyze two works in detail, each by a different artist/designer; you should also utilize at
least one required reading

1. If, as Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg and Jackson Pollock suggest, art should reflect the essential self rather than external social conditions, what sort of style/subject matter allows it to do so most effectively?

2. How do matters of racial and gender identity impact artists and designers experiences of society–and thus the way those experiences are expressed in their work? How do they affect the way critics respond to an artist’s work?

3. What challenges were faced by artists for whom frank expression of their identities would transgress social norms in the 1950s?
How did they address this in their art?

Can art that appears to reject society in favor of individual interests or experience nonetheless have a social dimension?

 

 

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