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ARTH 205 Lecture Notes - Abstract Expressionism, German Expressionism, Clement Greenberg

Art History
Course Code
ARTH 205
Samantha Burton

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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

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- 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
- 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
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