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VIC101H1 Lecture Notes - 1 Spadina Crescent, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer

Victoria College Courses
Course Code
Lisa Steele

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December 3, 2012
- Test #2: pick up after 12 pm on Friday Dec. 7, room 312, 1 Spadina Crescent
- Last lecture: Dec 5, 2012 (10-12) MP102 255 Huron St.
- Artists and movement = most important for final exam
Diversity in Postmodernism
- Mostly white men in art
- Modernism - 1965 - Postmodernism
- Modernism:
- Formal aesthetics
- Avant garde originality
- Abstraction
- White male (norm)
- Formal aesthetics
- Pastiche
- Male vs. Female artists
- There isn’t anything inherently female to painting
- Deal with social construction of gender but won’t necessarily be able to tell what’s painted by
- 1981 - Women, Art, Ideology book; feminist essays regarding art published
- Work by women artists - not necessarily feminist (e.g. Georgia O’Keeffe - first and foremost an

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- Take cues from artist themselves
- Also very strong feminist artists at the time
- Barbara Kruger - the gaze
- History of Hollywood cinema - men looking at women; male, one-way gaze at women’s body,
- Postmodernism - Kruger produces images by reproducing images - extend and amplify
- Photography - destruction, difficulty of patriarchal society with intimacy, how state intervenes
in everyday life
- Your Body is a Battleground - silkscreen print, fundraising poster & rallying cry for women’s
rights to abortion - “keep your laws off my body”
- Work used in campaign against domestic violence
- Like John Heartfield’s work in Berlin Dada - used as propaganda tool
- Allowed her work and encouraged it to be used for women’s rights
- Postmodernism = historical condition
- Rupture of sovereign from Enlightenment; regulating powers (determine how we see
ourselves); about formative power of images, positioning of social body - everything is
determined by social constructs
- Not losing anything by seeing image on computer because they’re all reproduced images
- Kruger: biggest influence came from being a graphic designer - image and text
- Aims to disrupt stereotype from image with the text - image says one thing; text contradicts that
- Gender - not innate but constructed; adaptation to social standards of sexuality
- Men act, women appear; men watch women and women watch themselves being looked at

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- Gaze = gendered; what does it do to both sizes of the gaze
- Cindy Sherman - signifier has come loose from what is being signified; film still but no film
- Film stills = so many details
- She takes her entire cultural memory of movies and distilled them into these film stills
- Creates scenes so carefully, so many details, you know what will happen next
- Images = posed; characters are “types”; part of search for identity
- Jenny Holzer - Truism series
- Truism = things people say for no reason, cliches; e.g. “every cloud has a silver lining” “it
doesn’t rain, it pours”
- Takes things that women always say; empty, profound queasiness of the 70s
- Conventional wisdom => controversial thoughts, uncomfortable
- Alphabetical order
- Take the shape of truisms but reveal ambivalence and queasiness of era - morality of society no
longer a given; postwar era - everything exploded in Western world
- Survival series - concern for society (context) in which she was living; gap between wealthy
and poor growing larger; people living on the streets started to appear in the 70s - registered
with a lot of artists
- North America hasn’t seen this kind of crisis since the Great Depression
- LUSTMORD - Confession of perpetrator - words inscribed on skin; takeoff on tattoos - we read
in voice of male murderer
- Repetition, domesticity, boredom = stereotypical women’s lot in life
- Postmodernism in visual art - pastiche
- Tanya Mars - performance artist
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