Lecture #5.doc

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Victoria College Courses
Lisa Steele

October 15, 2012 - Max Ernst - fled to America pre-WWII - Abstract Expressionism - mid-1940s - Berlin - totally bombed 1945 - “Mortar women” - picked up fallen bricks etc. to make building material - Several thousands killed in Siege of Berlin - America became confident after Great Depression while Germany was in ruins - Abstract Expressionism (originally New York School -American painters centred in New York) evolved into independent movement - Diverse movement - some hardly abstract, some hardly expressionist st - 1 movement presided over & created by critic - Clement Greenberg (called it painterly abstraction) - Greenberg made people’s careers => financial success to artists - Market determines or distorts art success of movements and artists - “The picture [painting] has now become an entity, belonging to the same amount of space as our bodies…”; it’s a stand-in for self (male only) - Greenberg - Influential statement: painting is real, it’s an object that occupies space like a body - New paintings weren’t stand-in for something else (e.g. portrait = stand-in for e.g. person in power, state, Church/word of God in Renaissance paintings) => painting is the painting - Abstract Expressionism = it is itself, it’s not a representation Willem de Kooning - Embodiment of physical gestures - No illusion of space - Women paintings: thing slapped on the canvas - Eliminated compositions, light -- stick to the very basics: eyes, mouth - They’re figurative but no accurate representation - Figure invaded by ground & ground by figure - not much difference between the two - Abstraction & figuration - hard to tell where figure ends and ground begins - Figure details not so important Barnett Newman: - “Action in chaos” - late 1940s-1950s; Cubism and Surrealism => pure abstraction - Pure use of colour (vs. Chaotic, splashy use of colour), cerebral use of colour - Abstract Expressionism: Aware of surface and quality of paint = subject of painting - No illusions of 3D space like Cubism - Uneasiness of European art => e.g. Surrealism didn’t change society despite manifestos; wars happened - They were influenced by & respected Surrealist artists but they didn’t feel it accomplished what it was supposed to (new society hasn’t been made) - Turned from Freud to Jung - Familiar of Cubism - Newman’s “the zip” - p.192 in textbook - unmodulated ground colour - Paintings in general known for monumental size - Newman’s paintings = impossible to experience in reproductions; he wanted viewer to be absorbed in the work; feeling of own totality, individuality - Covenant = objectness of painting - Awareness of physical presence, the body - Work called empty - spaces cause anxiety - Scale (empty space) = part of painting, meant to absorb; sensation of time - Social environment - sense of absorption = about time itself, the time you take to view them (not
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