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Abstract Expressionism Nov. 18th

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McGill University
Art History
ARTH 205
Samantha Burton

Friday November 18th Notes Movie - like a collage - juxtaposed imagery - not supposed to have a logic that we can understand right off the bat - only makes sense in a psychoanalytic way - examine the types of feelings it brings up in you Abstract Expressionists and Minimalism - Modern art through the mid 20th Century - Shifting to the United States - Move happens after WW1 and is made concrete after WW2 Abstract Expression - Pollock Minimalism - sculpture - Andre - considered the peak of modern art - clement greenberg - working at mid century Back up to Early 20th Century : Europe - Abstract Expressionism - Two key terms: - Abstract - Expressionism - Germany before Dada and Surrealism, before world war one - German expressionism - Kirchner, Girl under a Japanese Umbrella - like Matisse, Nu Bleu: Doubnir de Biskra - hip up, distortion of space - clear link of the fauves over to german expressionism - expressionism is an extension of primitivism - Kadinsky (Russian) - even within german expressionism there was a division in style (two phases operating at same time) - Die Brücke - Der Blauc Reiter (blue rider) - both attracted to primativism to get at the pure form of expression - looked at children's art, art of the mentally art, folk art - Kandinsky Blaue Reiter Almanach - inspired by folk images, mid-evil - almanack included types of art they were interested - thought these types of art should be emulated by all artists - interested in the metaphysical aspects of art, asking philosophical questions - Blue rider is named after an a postal - Die Bruke is named after a niche expression Gaugain - turned to primitive because he had belief and confidence that if man got back in touch with nature then he could undo the corrupted ness of mod society - could still be harmony - these groups were much more pessimistic - there movement to expressionism is a way to withdraw from the total world - modern man is just as lost as primitive man was - happening in the lead up to WW1, societies were mechanized, innovating every day - abstraction is scene as a way to deal with this - a way to deal with the common dread they were feeling in life - Kirchner The Street in Dresden, The street in Berlin - modern man is regressing into the primitive - regression to savage state - cities are busy, masses are hugging together but not relating to each other, - people are often faceless, or have vacant eyes, do not connect eye contact - colours are garish - faces, bodies, spaces are all distorted, claustrophobic - compare to how caibot was representing city and modern life -kirchner has not completely abstracted work however - the blue rider, and Kandisky is going much much farther into abstraction and moving away from representation - Kandinsky is ofter seen as first abstract artist - but was working within a context and group of artists at this time - moving to abstraction because of philosophical ideas that it will help draw out a more emotional reaction - getting above the real world to the mystical to the spiritual - getting to tansendentical truths - doesn't mean its about nothing - mean to be about something that is more important than real physical spaces - exploring ideas through playing around with pure colour, pure form, pure lines - stylistic elements are enough to bring emotional repines - think of in terms of music - you don't need lyrics to respond to music (classical etc) - don't need representation or narrative in art, just the formal elements are enough - many of Kandisnkys work are given musical titles - works were not spontaneous, they are very planned out - moving away from matisse and the other fauves - important to recognize that even though they look quite similar to what narow? was doing, they are quite different -expressionism became the avant guard mainstream in germany - nazi's did not like - dada are reacting to this , do not believe that there is a spiritual, transdential truth to art - Abstract: - no outside referent, non representational - although people did work in many different styles, and that there is no one single abstract art - calling for a move away from representational - doing so for many reasons, in many contexts - Kandinsky - expressionist, post expressionist angle - Delaunay- pushing cubism further - move to abstraction is an international phenomenon - not solely europe, so parisian dominance begins to splinter off into different facets - Delaunay couple (Robert and Sonia) - exploring the pure elements of art, juxtapositions of various kinds of forms Mondrian - dutch artists working in New York? - Abstract: idealization - trying to evoke and ideal state of being - getting rid of everything real until they get an ideal - not destroying the ideal - mindset behind most of their work - thinking in terms of purifying, getting to the essential - on the other hand, the opposite line of thought was that many of these artists were very concerned with the materiality - texture, flatness of the canvas, - tension martial object of the work and the ideal concept behind it - Delaunay - colour - Mondrian interested in line - distorting colour etc, just horizontal and
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