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Week 7: Abstract Expressionism and EXAM TIPS

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Mark Cheetham

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FAH246 WEEK 7 10/24/12 find, copy, paste, look at EACH ARTWORK or you FUCKING FAIL. Wilhelm de Kooning: -the gesture in the 1950s: from autographic expression to the evacuation of the personal  evacuation, 1950  Pink Angels, c. 1945 -Paul: whole thing as surface -has de Kooning ever left FIGURATION? -returned to it with a huge assertiveness; here, we have modernism turning on itself: de Kooning returns back to a staple of western art, the NUDE. -he has no real part to the nude but he revisits it in a non-traditional way -do you HAVE TO BE FULLY ABSTRACT all the time? Does art always have to move in a trajectory towards SOME goal? Or can it turn and twist back and forth? -now, in contemporary work, there is no real trajectory “forward” (minor) Guston, Painter III, 1963 -one of major artists -but doesn’t get as much coverage as some of the ppl we look at -shares w/ De Kooning not only a way of thinking, but also a way of addressing the FACE/BODY and upsetting everyone -(abstract texpressionists were always upset at each other, at others, etc.) -human element has entered here. Artist in his Studio, 1969 -why is the artist envisioned as cartoon-like, painting someone like himself? -cartoon painting cartoon; window or landscape? -upsets the normalcy of the relationship between hand, brush, and depiction Scared Stiff, 1970 -continues w/ Artist in his Studio motif -relationships between pointing, sign, fear -uses quotidian images – shoes, fingers, with a sense of presence -*in art History, we tend to identify the MOMENT in which an artist MAKES A CONTRIBUTION*** -to be more subtle in our analysis, we should look at the DEVELOPMENT each artist pursues; they don’t just create one monument and then die off Philip Rothko -tried to express what he deemed “basic human emotions” -very particular about how his paintings were displayed: in dark, looming rooms -looming, weighty, portentious shades -they “imply” that something is there, whether it’s a sound, a relationship to nature, to landscape, etc. -one of his fav painters was Turner No. 1 (Untitled), 1948 -likes yellow, green tones against earth colours -has not “gone” to characteristic blocks yet Number 3-13 (Magenta, Black, Green on Orange), 1949 -blocks Seagram murals, 1959 (Tate Modern) -see textbook; -these have been put into a very contemplative setting -they are very heartstopping -> the Rothko rooms are very powerful Newman -Newman was an anarchist who wrote for Abstract Expressionist leading magazine “Tiger’s Eye” -spokesperson -was not one of the primary painters in the 40s, and was encouraged by Jackson Pollock and he finally had an exhibition in New York City -was a COMPLETE DISASTER -because his work seemed ANTI-ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM; the simplicity of his work seemed counter to the expressive gesture of other ab-ex works -also had huge titles to work -staying with the idea that subject matter was VERY IMPORTANT Euclidian Abyss, 1947-8 -works not only with texture of surface (thin painting but still textural) but also w a certain geometry - Onement 1, 1948 -a “breakthrough” -oil on canvas and oil on masking tape on canvas -huge change from The Moment, -> compare! -put masking tape on a canvas and then painted over it in cadmium red -in The Moment, you have a division between two realms on opposite sides of the white stripe. -but in Onement 1 there is the DIVISION of ONENESS. The moment when a cell splits, when light becomes “light and dark” -because he had painted whole surface at first AND THEN RIPPED OUT THE MASKING TAPE, he made an artwork that is ON THE CUSP -> one INTO two -Newman wanted us to GET CLOSE to his work Newman, Aspiring Heroic Man, 1950 -he did NOT want us to just stand back and see everything -he just wanted us to feel the visual impact of colour -only when you get close to the painting, then in your peripheral vision, you feel the interruptions “zips” of different colours. They don’t divide the surface symmetrically -there is a “sculptural doubling” to the far right; precise geometry you’re only aware of if you are up close-> an extra red thing -he is very good at creating emotion Political context!  Newman, Voice of Fire, 1967 -see it up close, or see it in a far-off installation (theres’a barrier there that you could walk around) -was sold to Canada because of its ties to Canada -but there was a huge outcry; when abstract art (itself a symbol of modern art/elitism) became a constant butt of jokes in the press -see Voice of Fire cartoon, Sudbury Star -there was a controversy surrounding its purchase -> how Canada purchased American art -the government was getting hit from all sides about the failure of economy -> why spend $$1.76 million on this? -Progressive Conservative MP said “yeah, only two cans of paint and two rollers could do this” -these types of attacks are quite frequent -a lot of these attacks were also from artists who thought people should suppo
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