Modern Art in West 1850-1950


 CHOOSE TWO OF THE FOLLOWING PROMPTS.  Take one hour to write each of your responses.  Please limit each of your responses to 3-4 double-spaced pages.      

1. Technique has been a central question for us since the beginning of this class.  So, too, has the extent to which artists in the Modern period introduced “non-artistic” objects and procedures into the production of art.  Technique, artistic form, and content, we have seen, are intimately, necessarily linked.  Write a short, comparative essay discussing how technique might inform our understanding of two artworks we examined over the last five weeks.

2. In the 19th century and 20th centuries, the status of art and its role in modern society came into question.  Art’s privileged domain – its autonomy, its difference from mass-produced objects (commodities), its delimiting frame – became a battleground.  Some sought to reinforce art’s specificity (i.e., its difference), others to accelerate the collapse of art into life.  Write a short, comparative essay discussing how two of the artworks we examined address this particular problem. 

3. One way to link the artworks we’ve looked at is to say that each of them questions the rules of representation.  Indeed, we might give that thread its own problematic – “the crisis of representation” – and go on to say that it orients Modern Art on the whole.  Choose two of the artworks we’ve examined and write a short essay describing how, both together and separately, they confront the question of representation – how, that is, we might talk about them in relation to representation.

Be sure to describe the artworks you discuss.  Try, as best as you can, to link the conclusions you draw to specific details in them.  In other words, help me see what you’re trying to say about artworks you introduce.  And don’t forget – don’t be afraid – to state what seems most obvious.

Finally, be sure your essays engage the course readings.  At the very least you should have something specific and substantive to say about the readings we’ve done around the artworks you discuss.  Show me that you’ve read closely and critically.Good luck! 

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