Death to the Future

– Modernism to post modernism-

Modern- Of the now

Modernism- History of modern art

Modernity- context, technological advances- things that happened- Wider implications of modernism, whole time period that took place around art.


(Abstraction is the key characteristics of modern art.)


timescale: 1869-1970s


– industrial revolution

– movement from rural to urban environments

– WW1 & WW2

– Rise of the middle class

– Changes in communication

– Scientific advances

– Rational, Simple, Geometric, Undecorated

– Optimistic – Utopian (Best of all possible worlds) and Utilitarian (greatest good for greatest no. of people) – nobody believes in it anymore

– Priutt Igoe Housing complex 1972 destroyed


Themes and concerns:

– Progress

– Production

– Death of god (secularism)

-Form follows function & exploration of new materials (Bauhaus)

– Utopian & Utilitarian – optimism

– Breakdown

-Formalism (Greenburg)

– Rejection & rebellion

– Abstraction



Timescale: 1970’s-1990’s


– information age

– world wide web

– dissolution of totaling truths

– sense of fragmentation (no truths – we dont trust) and decentered self; multiple, conflicting identities

– Importance of global economies- so many choices

– scepticism towards everything

– culture of surveillance

– globalisation


Modernism– middle class men tell us what true and what’s not.

Post-modernism- everyone’s opinions matter.


Jeff Koons- borrows from others

Cindy Sherman


Themes and concerns:

– consumption

– no particular style

– eclecticism- wide range of stuff- borrowing

– appropriation- borrowing- nicking ideas

– mixing of materials

– ornament and decoration

– witty and ironic

– contradictions and complecity

– social/political critique

– Ambiguity- vague

– mixed media, intertextuality- anything can be text- films, advertisements

– parody, irony and nastalgia ( fuzzy feeling about looking backwards)

– meaning is socially constructed not revealed ‘truth’


Mark Tansey 

A short history of modernist painting 1982

– 3 images on one piece

– pre-modern art of classic art -into another world

– three dimensional image on a two dimensional plane- flat image

– self referential- anything can be art



AT&T building- ornament

Playful humour?


Barnett Newman

Who is scared of Red, Yellow and Blue? 1966


Philip Taaffe

We are not Afraid 1985


– acrylic


Cindy Sherman


– gender roles are socially changed


Roger Brown

Talk show addicts 1993

– etching and aquatint


Christo and claude

Trees (wrapped up)

– Fresh eyes

– New


Modernism, Postmodernism and Beyond!

-YBA and 21st Century Art-

YBA- Young British Artists: 1990-2000

Open to interpretations

-Hype – marketing – sensations exhibitiom – artist as brand



– Thatcher’s britain

– emerged from art schools in late 80’s

– teachers and students came together to consider contemporary life and culture

– freeze exhibition 1988


– life – love -sex -deth – destruction -society

Main artists:

– Damien Hirst, Tracy Emmin, Sarah Lucas, Jim Lambie, Mat Collishaw, Gary Hume, Sam Tayor- Wood, Gillian Wearing


Damien Hirst

“Artists are like everybody else”

– cycle of life and death


Diamond skull- Damien Hirst

– both humans and diamonds are made of carbon


– blood diamonds (film)


21st century art- The now!

– artists as celebrity and brand- a shift from art towards the artist

– globalisation- wide range of telecommunication

– sustainability

– internet as the printing press of the 21st century web 2.0 technology

– the turner prize- a barometer of 21st century art



– the world is effectively sinking


– up-cycling in fashion – make something better than it was

– recycle, reuse, reduce

– environmentalism


Andy Goldsworthy

” I enjoy working in a quiet and subversive way”


Cornelia Parker

” There’s such a freedom about being an artist… You’re not accountable- you’re this renegade thing”

– cartoon endings made into art


Jenny Holzer 1950

– truisims


Julian Opie

“I am simply using which is available to describe that which is experienced”


– album cover




Barbara Kruger

-Used to be magazines editor and uses the layout to make her art

– identity is fragmented ‘you are not yourself’

– Passive – traditionally look away ‘your gaze hits the side of my face’

-active- looking directly at the viewer


David Shrigley

‘worried’, ‘I’m dead’, ‘going nowhere’



The End of Art? -Op, Pop and Conceptual Art-

-Op, Pop and conceptual art-


Bridget Riley

– fall 1963

-swirly lines

– monochromatic

– physical response created

– all about perception

– depth, it looks three-dimensional due to the waves formed through the optical swirled lines.


Op Art

Timescale: late 1950’s- 60’s

Concerns and themes:

-Geometric abstract art

– Creates illusion of movement

– Uses theories from psychology of perception

– Physical response

– big influence on fashion

Main artists:

– Bridget Riley, Josef Albers, Jesus-Rafael sotto, Vicor Vasarely


What is popular culture?

… it includes Tv, music, Films, Fashion form


The rise of the teenagers…

There was no distinct difference between parents and children until now.


Victor Vasarely – untitled 1963

– Not as many lines

– same width

– Not curved

– Geometric

– Shapes made with lines


Sotto untitled 1959

– a Mix of painting and sculpture

– Kinetic art- viewer moving around makes the movement

– new technologies allowing it to happen


Richard Hamilton

Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? 1956

– materials: photography, collage cut outs

– saturated collage

– included new technology like old tape players, hoover, tv, bill boards, theatre

– end of rationing

– packaging design

– advertising posters

– moon landing ceiling

– mass production

– ford first cars


Pop Art

Timescale: late 1950’s-60’s

Themes and concerns:

– celebration of modern consumerism after Austerity of the war years

– brash colourful world of advertising, comic strips and popular entertainment

– popular (designed for mass audience), transient, expendable, low cost, mass produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, big buisness (Hamilton definition)

Main artists:

– Andy Warhol, Blake, Hockney, Lichtenstein, Hamilton


Peter Blake

 cover art 1967

– bright


– brash colours

– glamorous celebrities

– Popular culture

– collage

-Rock n’ Roll

– Fine art and pop combined


Andy warhol

Marilyn Monroe 

– screen prints- handmade

– depression

– colours are bright and represent a glamorous star

– different colours, tones, faded- fading away may infer the journey to her death

– black and white side could infer depression meds



Whaam 1963

– pop culture to draw in teenagers



– colours- primary


Conceptual Art

– from Duchamp to the present-


Sol LeWitt

Five open geometric structures 1979

-self referential in the way it refers to itself (is what it says it is)

– minimal with concept

– the idea of the piece is the most important thing


Timescale: mid 1950’s and ongoing

Various media- but the IDEA is the main focus

Influenced by:

– Dada ready-made

– Fluxus

– Minimalism

Main artists:

– Joseph Buys, Sol LeWitt, Robert Smithson, Lawrence Weiner, Joseph Kosuth

Themes and concerns:

– concept before object

– Art work can exist as an idea- a work of art is not dependent on the object/work itself

-direct defiance of art market- destroy the idea of value

– art need not take any physical form at all

– self conscious and self referential- they created art that is about art


Sol LeWitt

Wall Drawing #1136 2004

-sold idea with instructions and therefore not made by the artist but more the concept of the design idea

– therefore with instructions cannot be the same as what the artist had thought with the idea and is different every time it’s done


Joseph Kosuth

One and three chairs 1965

– Photograph of the chair, Chair, Definition of the chair- You need all 3 to make a chair and that was the idea of one and three chairs. A clever concept on an everyday object



Op art-

… Manipulates views visual response, physical response, stark contrast, links with kinetic art


Pop Art-

… Roots in history of modern art, industrialisation, deals with contemporary life; urban, mass production.


Conceptual Art-

… The idea is more important than the art. Defiance of ‘Art Market’ and a reaction to abstract expressionism. Art can be made by others. 


Visual Analysis- Pop Art

Title: Standard station 1966

Artist: Ed Ruscha 

Medium/ Technique: screenprint

Date accessed: 6/03/14

Reference: Thursday 6th March 2014

This piece is a pop art movement due to it’s visual representation and communication, an american dream of optimism and naive that was going on at the time. In this way the piece looks like it’s a petrol station with it’s bright and bold colours. Around the time of this piece there was an anti vietnam war protest going on around the world. With the piece he wanted to blend the imagery of Hollywood with colourful renderings of commercial culture and the landscape of the southwest. This is one of his most iconic prints as he repeatedly used gasoline stations in his book Twentysix Gasoline Stations 1963, from a road trip through the American Southwestern countryside; trying to portray commercial culture. The perspective is flatterned as a composition to depict commercial advertising and leads from the far right to the top left leading the eye across to the foreground with one long leading line. He also used text within the piece to give interplay between art and text. The colour in the background is complementary blues and oranges, but also blends from orange to red as an analogous colour scheme making it look calm, warm and harmonious. He’s used the geometric shapes of the gasoline station through the windows, signs and gasoline tanks. The piece seems a smooth texture and feathery in the background.The image leaves the top right half spacious and the bottom left is filled with the gasoline station and the shapes it creates. It’s the way it presents the popular culture within the image that makes it the style of pop art. 

Abstract expressionism & minimalism

American style

post war abstraction– 

Abstract Expressionism

Franzkline New York 1953

-Expression through line and the large scale of the brush strokes and paintings ( important factor to the movement)

– looks like a structure of some sort and evokes the feelings of looking at structures in America

– The colour scheme is monochromatic and gives us a high contrast


Timescale: mid 1940’s – late 50’s


– During and post world war 2, first nuclear bomb used

– lots of European emigres in NY

– post great depression of 1929-39)

– the cold war 1945-80

– federal arts project 1935-43

  • Main artists: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem De Kooning, Franz Klein, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Clifford Still, Lee Krazner

-All the artists moved to America from Paris because of the war, just after the american depression. They had the chance to set up their own American movement and create these big paintings to fill the streets and brighten the area, which they were being paid to do in teams rather than individual artists allowing them to exchange ideas to create this new movement. –

Themes and Concerns:

– Existentialism

-Synthesis of styles

– Surrealism- but a rejection of freud

– Jung and the ‘collective unconscious’

– The sublime (overwhelming of the senses like you’re blown away)

– Profound emotion, introspection and universal themes

– Reflects post-war anxiety and trauma

– Interested in myths and archetypal symbols ( things that occur in myths and fiction like a Princess, Prince, Witch, Evil step mum, Horse etc.)

– 2 types of abstract expressionism

  •        Gestural (action) paintings
  •        Colour field painting


Pollock, Summer time 1948

– Large scale

– busy

– Curved lines

– Limited colour Palette

– Abstract

– Flowing

– organic lines


Franz Kline, the chief 1950

– High speed of a train

– movement

– what he remembers as a kid from being and looking out of a train


Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the spanish Republic 54 (1957-61)

– life and death contrast using the black and white


-looks 3D

– The gap at the bottom of the image makes it 3 Dimensional with depth if it wasn’t there it looks more flat


Willem De Kooning, Woman 1 1950-52

– Cluttered

– Filled

– Flat

– Colourful

– Bold

– Thick brush strokes

– Clashing

– Complementary

– Out of proportion

– Motherhood?

– He was exploring the archetypal woman: women look beautiful traditionally in paintings (passive) in art but this one is the opposite in the way he’s made it look ugly and quite terrifying. Representing a pin up girl of the 1950s and rejects the traditional passiveness of women.


Colour Field Painting

Clyfford Still, Indian red and black

– We can only talk about the image in terms of formal elements therefore we can only agree on line, colour, shape etc. this was due to Clyfford’s idea that the painting could look like anything like animal pattern, peeling paint on a wall or anything that it could look like and therefore you are only able to agree that the painting is based on formal elements.


Rothko, Four darks in red 1958

– deep

– one of the most famous abstract expressionism

– been through a lot of paintins before he made this one

– evokes emotion

– big blocks of colour


Rothko, untitled 1969

– Moon landings depiction, a response to the images of the first ever pictures of the moon landings

– If you look at the images and the painting together they look almost the same


Rothko, Mural for End wall (untitled) 1959

-painted for seagram mural restaurant

– He was asked to paint it for the restaurant and got paid to do so. However after he finished the painting he went to the restaurant to check out how it would look in there and after that decided it wouldn’t fit in or look good there and the people that ate there were mainly upper class business men that wouldn’t appreciate the art work he made and therefore decided to give the money back and donate the painting to the tate modern gallery where he new they’d look after it and present his paintings the way he wanted them to be presented.


Abstract Expressionism Review

– 2 types: Gestural and colour field

– A response to post war anxiety and trauma

– painters as heroic

– extentialism

– jung and collective unconscious

– mural size paintins

– communicate surroundings

– importance of crisis

– greenburg and rosenburg



– A response to Abstract Expressionism –


Carl Andre, Equivalent VIII 1966

– Bricks (industrial materials of everyday life- links to constructivism)

– This way of art gets rid of all association to the artist

– It’s equal to but not the same, in this sense the number and mass to the work is the same but the shape is different

– This piece was bought for £60,000

– No expression through him


Timeline: 1960 to mid 1970s

Context and themes:

– reaction against abstraction Expressionism

– influenced by constructivism, De Stijl and Duchamp’s

– Reduction to geometric essentials

– blurs boundries between painting and sculpture

-remove suggestions of self expression

– minimum number of colours, shapes, lines and textures

  • Main artistis: Donald Judd, Frank Stella, Robert Morris


– Intellectual group of people; it was more to do with the idea behind the art –


Robert Morris, untitled 1967/68 Remade

– Industrial felt

– was made so it fell on it’s own weight

– the idea is not the way it’s presented, as how it would of originally made couldn’t be reconstructed to the exact same position


Donald Judd, untitled 1985

– taking the emotion and meaning away by naming it untitled 

-Letting you make your own mind up about the sculpture of how it makes you feel and letting you indulge and evoke this emotion yourself by starring at it rather than having a name pinned to it



  • Minimalism:

– geometric configurations

– Industrial Materials

– Refers to themselves they are objects in their own right

– removal of authorship

Visual Analysis- Minimalism

Bruce Nauman

Title: The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic Truths 1967

Medium/Technique: Window or wall sign

Date accessed: 13/03/2014


This is a minimalism movement that started around 1966, which was around the time of an anti-Vietnam war protest that then went on for another 5 years, with up to 200,000 protesters in just 1966 alone around the world. This piece is of some neon lighting that says “The true Artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths” in big neon lighting creating the image in a form of advertising telling you about an artist, but of a different kind. It’s colourful with bright reds and blues and neon lighting, like his earlier works with neon, and has a typical tone of dry satire like in many of his works too. The text goes round in a circular motion of text with a swirled line leading the eye around the piece and around the text, giving an overall circular shape. The texture of the piece is smooth with a glassy feel of the clear glass neon lighting tubes used to create the piece. With it being a minimalism piece this shows a good example of blurring the boundaries of sculpture and paintings. Apart from the line, shape, textures and colours I’ve mentioned there is only a minimal amount of them depicted in the piece. 

Dada- Visual Analysis

Title: Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance) (1917)

Artist: Jean (Hans) Arp

Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance)

Dada was born from a group of avant-garde painters, poets and film makers who came to neutral switzerland before and during world war one. Jean made a series of collages based on chance. Meaning he would stand above a sheet of paper, dropping squares of contrasting colored paper on the surface of a larger sheet, then gluing the squares wherever they fell onto the page. The art could then provoke a deep inward feeling of reaction rather than an intellectual one- like fortune telling from I-Ching coins- which Arp was interested in. He began this technique when he became frustrated at his many attempts of trying to compose more formal geometric arrangements. These chance collages have come to represent dada’s aim to be ‘anti-art’. There aren’t any leading lines but more space within the image, around the geometric shapes. The texture looks smooth and the image looks like a flat plane. The image is build up with dark colours, including browns, blacks, greens, and yellows. 


De Stijl- Visual Analysis

Title: Counter Composition V (1924)

Artist: Theo van Doesburg

Counter Composition V

Around the time this was painted the first world war had ended and the second world war was about to begin and this movement ‘de stijl’ meaning ‘the style’ in dutch was a response to the terrors of world war 1; the movement was reacting against Art Deco. Art was viewing the world as a means of social and spiritual redemption. Usually Van Doesburg makes use of horizontal or vertical lines but in this piece he depicts diagonal lines; using Elementarism. Elementarism is described as “based on the neutralization of positive and negative directions by the diagonal and, as far as color is concerned, by the dissonant. Equilibrated relations are not an ultimate result.” His title infers the 45 degree angle the lines are at to the sides of the picture rather than parallel to them; giving a new relationship between composition and format of the canvas. He goes beyond the three primary colours this includes a triangle of grey, the primary colours and black and white- line and colour interact with each other within the movement and this gives one of the characteristics of de stijl. As de stijl was finding itself; paintings, furniture designs and buildings, how the works appearance looks is just as important as its function. The shapes of the piece are geometric facing diagonally, including diamonds and rectangles, with the texture looking smooth.