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MoMA The Museum of Modern Art. Arman I Still Use Brushes 1969 Brushes embedded in plastic, in acrylic box 50” x 50” Key Facts

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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Arman

I Still Use Brushes

1969

Brushes embedded in plastic, in acrylic box50” x 50”

Key Facts

Born Armand Pierre Fernandez in Nice, France to an antiques dealer, Arman changed his name upon his inspiration from the Dada movement, and his U.S. citizenship later that year. He graduated with a degree in philosophy and mathematics, going on to explore Europe by way of hitch-hiking with fellow artists Yves Klein and Claude Pascal. Arman is best known for his multimedia works, especially his “Accumulation” and “Reconstruction / Destruction” series. During his residence in the United State, explored creation versus destruction. The "Coupes" and the "Colères" featured sliced, burned or smashed objects arranged on canvas, often using objects with a strong "identity" such as music instruments or bronze statues.

“Through the history of art we can see through the emotional life, and sometimes the financial security of some of the artists, some transformation. And I really believe that it's generally about the same kind of transformation and the same kind of reaction. We are a little bit less individual than we would like to believe or guess we are.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

“I believe art has to take responsibility but it should not give up being art.”

Anselm Kiefer

Wooden Room

1972

Charcoal and oil on burlap

9’ 10” x 7’ 2”

About the Artist

German painter.

Kiefer’s early work was monumental in scale and addressed the devastation caused by WWII.

The emotional effect combines with Kiefer’s historical recollection to produce a dialogue with history. The reminders of tabooed historical signs and symbols, as well as the juxtaposition of hero-worship and irony, helped to split reactions to Kiefer into two camps. The enthusiasm toward his work, above all in the USA, was matched by violent criticism in Germany.

Figures and events from mythology, as well as Old Testament subjects (after a journey to Israel in 1984) and the campaigns of Alexander the Great, were depicted in repeated variations. Instead of concentrating on oil painting, he made increasing use of materials such as sand, straw, wood and photographs, as well as sewn material and toy soldiers, which resulted in increasingly fragile works.

About this Work

Devoid of objects, the room itself is the subject of the painting, animated by Kiefer's lifelike rendering of wood grain. The artist, who was born at the fall of the Third Reich, examines Germany's troubled and often suppressed recent history in his works.


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

“Every man is an artist!”

Joseph Beuys

Sun State

1974

Chalk and felt-tip pen on blackboard with wood frame

47” x 71”

About This Work

This drawing unites the cosmic and terrestrial, as it maps an ideal state in which the social order is conceived as a living organism, intimately linked to a balanced natural order. Each motif is a metaphor: the sun creates energy, which circulates by means of a looping line; through alchemy it takes form in a threefold system of culture—art, science, and religion—and travels toward the ideal state; this life principle is balanced by the death principle, and the earth by the primary actor, Man, an androgynous figure accompanied by an emblem of his animalistic and spiritual nature—the stag.

Untitled (Sun State) is one of Beuys's Blackboard drawings, which were created during his lectures at educational institutions and museums. This drawing evolved during his participation in the public dialogue, "Art into Society, Society into Art" at The Art Institute of Chicago in 1974. Here Beuys demonstrates, with a thin looping line and verbal descriptions, the connections among myth, alchemy, astrology, anthropology, and the social and political sciences. The result is a work described by the artist as a kind of astrological chart embodying his ideas of the ideal state, in which democratic principles inform cultural life (freedom), law (equality), and economics (fraternity).

Key Facts

German artist

Influenced by WWII and the totalitarian society that he lived in

Known for drawing, sculpture, performance art, and installations


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Alice Aycock

Studies for a Town

1977

Wood

9’ x 11’

About the Artist

Aycock's monumental sculpture was built for her 1977 Projects exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. The artist identifies many architectural sources for the work, including "medieval walled towns, Roman amphitheaters, military bunkers, Egyptian shanty towns and desert citadels, and an eighteenth-century Indian observatory at Jaipur." The viewer is intentionally barred from having full access to the work—parts cannot be seen at all; others may be viewed partially from the corridor in the center of the structure. Through this project Aycock seeks to heighten viewers' psychological reaction to architecture and their awareness of the spaces they regularly occupy.

From the 1960s Aycock developed phenomenologically site-orientated works to include metaphor and simile, referring to machinery and construction sites, archaeological sites, models, children’s play areas and funfairs and other public or social settings.

By the 1990s Aycock produced both elaborate site-specific and gallery installation works.

“It bothers me when I don’t have some problem to work on that I don’t understand. That’s when I become unhappy.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

“We cannot rely on it that good painting will be made some day. We have to take the matter in hand ourselves”

Sigmar Polke

Watchtower

1984

Synthetic polymer paint and dry pigment on fabric

9' 10" x 7' 4 1/2"

About the Artist and Work

Sigmar Polke, one of Germany's most important contemporary artists, belongs to a generation marked both by the Second World War and by the excesses of West Germany's "economic miracle." In Watchtower, Polke layers acrylic paints, artificial resins and brightly colored commercial fabrics to form a jarring backdrop for a spectral watchtower—an image to which he returned repeatedly during the 1980s.

Polke's layering is a visual metaphor for the ways memory works—joining bits and pieces of the past in often surprising juxtapositions. Is this watchtower a reminder of Nazi concentration camps or is it a relic of the armed border that divided East and West Germany in the Communist era? Or perhaps it is merely an elevated platform allowing hunters to scout deer—an image close to the romantic sensibility of nineteenth–century German landscape painting? Polke seems to suggest that our memories of the past are constantly in flux, evolving in ways that cannot be represented in a permanent monument.

In the 1960s Polke had produced what he called "Capitalist Realism," a German variant of Pop art. An element of Pop survives in Watchtower's support, made of commercial yard goods printed, respectively, with a cheerful floral and with a weave or mesh. Refusing consistency, however, Polke combines these with both the sinister tower image and an abstraction


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

“I remember the years just after the war, when Anti-Semitism was still strong in France, ‘feeling…different from the others’. I fell into such a state of withdrawal that at age eleven I not only had no friends and felt useless, but I quit school, too.”

Christian Boltanski

The Storehouse

1988

Seven photographs with seven electric lamps and one hundred ninety-two tin biscuit boxes containing cloth fragments

Enlarged photographs of seven young girls are propped atop a stack of unlabeled tin biscuit boxes containing scraps of fabric. These boxes are corroded as if marked by time and are infused with symbolic associations—they evoke reliquary boxes, archival containers, and funerary urns. The black-and-white photographs connote another era; out of focus, they constitute a visual analogy to memory, fading over time. Electric lights illuminate the seven faces like devotional candles, underscoring the effect of a memorial, an orchestration of signifiers indicating loss and remembrance. Old photographs, the tension between individuality and sameness, and the implication of vast numbers evoke the tragedy of the Holocaust.

However, the girls pictured are not victims of genocide: the photographs, of anonymous children, were culled from magazines and newspapers. The boxes are not truly old, and the cloth contained in them is generic and has no special origin. Boltanski creates an atmosphere of general, unspecified mourning through means—photographs, relics—traditionally valued for their privileged claim to specificity, uniqueness, and authenticity. A vocabulary of documentary signs is used movingly, but deceptively, for symbolic effect.

Key Facts

Born in France 1945, the summer that German occupation ended

Half Jewish – experienced stress of Anti-Semtisim

His work is considered chilling because it has the distinct ability to bring back disturbing memories about the anonymously lost

His materials are most always very delicate (photographs, artifacts, found objects, candles, clothing, etc.)

He seeks to evoke suppressed memories or install synthetic ones.

His life is marked by immeasurable pain, both internal and external


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Paul McCarthy

Baby World

1984

Charcoal and watercolor on paper

Key Facts

Forceful linear quality

Example of Vienna Actionist drawing technique

Monumental size: 135 7/8 x 252 1/8”

Lines retraced, cartoon-like quality

Drawing shows artist’s interest in childhood, sexuality, and the body

McCarthy known for obscene images often portrayed in video installation

His work refers to the superficiality of modern society: refers to Disney and Hollywood

Much of his work is about the act of making it. He often records the making of his work and shows it in conjunction with the result of the artistic event.

In an interview, he described his work this way:

My work came out of kids' television in Los Angeles. I didn' t go through Catholicism and World War II as a teenager, I didn' t live in a European environment. People make references to Viennese art without really questioning the fact that there is a big difference between ketchup and blood. I never thought of my work as shamanistic. My work is more about being a clown than a shaman."

“It was an intentional decision to do the drawing as an action.”

“I am not interested in art being a cure-all.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

“And as we know its all about looking natural, its all about being the normative aspect of whatever segment of culture we’re dealing with, of life.”

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Untitled (Death by Gun)

1990

Stack of Photolithographs

About this Work

Presents 460 individuals killed by gunshot in one week in the United States

Includes name, age, and circumstances of each individual.

Presents social issues to the public

Presented in a way to encourage dissemination of information (the public is encouraged to take their own flyer of the artist’s work)

Essentially an ongoing work of art

Printed and massed produced

Perfect, minimalist composition

Detached, grainy photograph aesthetic

About The Artist

Cuban born artist who began his career as a photographer.

In 1987 he joined Group Material, a New York-based group of artists whose intention was to work collaboratively, adhering to principles of cultural activism and community education. His own engagement as a gay man with socio-political issues, as well as his exploration of the way in which politics can infiltrate personal life, forms the background to his work, centered around the interaction of public and private spheres.

The piece reflects not only on the AIDS epidemic, but to contemplate the universal experiences of illness, death and loss that the sculpture in part symbolizes.

Over the course of the exhibit the sculpture transforms, as visitors are invited to take a piece of the exhibit with them.


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Perfect lovers

1991

Clocks on blue wall

Key Facts

American artist born is Cuba

Died form AIDS

His work was influenced by his disease, making much of his art about the idea of dying (ex. burnt out light bulbs)

The two clocks, initially set to the same time, eventually fell out of sync. Used to represent time and the change of relationships

“It’s a liberating aspect of the way that most of my generation does art, but it

also makes it more difficult because you have to justify so much of what you do.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Martin Kippenberger

Martin, Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself

1992

Aluminum cast of himself

Key Facts

Kippenberger cultivated his reputation as the bad boy of German art in the 1980s, acting deliberately and often outrageously provocative in both his art and his personal behavior. With this sculpture he reaps what he has sown, placing himself in a position all naughty schoolchildren know well: in the corner, alone with his enforced remorse. A particularly vicious article by a German art critic served as the catalyst for this and several other mock-apologetic Martin–in–the–corner sculptures. However, the work’s resonance goes far beyond the specific occasion, deftly setting into a contemporary vernacular the Romantic identification of the artist as outcast, whether genius, prophet, beggar, or madman.

Each work in this series is uniquely made and clothed, and the faces and hands are cast in aluminum from molds of the artist's own body. While the other figures are dressed more formally, the Martin in this sculpture (commissioned by MoMA) wears Levi's jeans and a shirt with a globe on it. Kippenberger chose the shirt as a nod to MoMA's international role as a center of modern art. Its presence in the galleries is a witty upending of the museum's traditional glorification of the artist. Kippenberger zeros in on a trade secret: for contemporary museum officials, artists and the challenges their works present can be as vexatious as they are beloved.

“A good artist has less time than ideas.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Sigmar Polke

Der Ziegenwagen

1992

About the Artist

Polke was raised in West Germany, where he spent time in galleries and work as an apprentice in a stained glass factory. Referred to as an Alchemist Artist, and the Master of the Unexpected, Polke uses a variety of uncommon, experimental materials in his work such as lavender oil, meteor dust, cinnabar, arsenic, gold flakes, beeswax, malachite, jade, and turquoise to name a few. Within his work Polke strives to embody the entirety of the human experience through his art. His work alludes to human emotions, curiosity, science, sex, humor, mythology, biology, childhood, and politics.

About the Work

Der Ziegenwagen (The goat wagon, 1992) is Polke at his full-blown best. On a background consisting of floral and geometric tablecloths stitched edge to edge, Polke has printed an enlargement of an old photograph of a peasant boy with a goat cart, and has embellished the picture overall with strokes and splashes of white, suggesting badly developed film stock or the drips of action painting.

The visual complexity of his paintings and drawings is matched by their thematic obscurity. His refusal to swear allegiance to any aesthetic creed goes deeper than a simple desire on his part to raid his cultural heritage at will. It is rooted in a quite reasonable fear that dogmatic principles of any kind lead to sterility or, as this century has shown, far worse. Polke has made disorder his medium. No artist of the day seems more comfortable in chaos, nor has anyone shown its attractions more cleverly or more masterfully.

“For me the image isn’t important, it’s the human behavior of wanting to touch it that is.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Dan Perjovschi

Wonderful World

1994-1997

Mixed Media

Key Facts

Romanian artists

Plays an active role in European affairs and politics

Inspired by the Revolutions of 1989, free press, and the international art scene

Wonderful World is a collection of flip books that changes each time it is shown

“I make ephemeral marks with a permanent marker”

“I understand the world if I draw it. As simply and directly as possible”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Andreas Gursky

Times Square, New York

1997

Chromogenic color print6’ 1”x 8’ 2”

Key Facts

Gursky was born in Germany in 1955, and grew up in Dussledorf the child of a successful commercial photographer.

“…the picture is, to a considerable degree, an invention—a seamless image derived from photographs but recomposed and otherwise manipulated in Gursky's computer. It is at once hyper-real and unreal, an indelible image of our artificial world, made with the aid of the tool of our time.”

“For me, vision is an intelligent form of thought.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Chuck Close

Self Portrait

1997

Oil, Gold, and Platinum on Canvas

8’6”x7’

Key Facts

Super-realist

Had to change the way he paint because his spine collapsed

Has to paint with the brush strapped to his hand

Uses a grid

Uses a mechanical easel because of his paralysis

Uses a grid

Painting is pixilated

Each square is small circles of color that look like nothing close up but when you pull away it turns into a picture

Huge scale

“It doesn't upset artists to find out that artists used lenses or mirrors or other aids, but it certainly does upset the art historians.”

“You know, the way art history is taught, often there's nothing that tells you why the painting is great. The description of a lousy painting and the description of a great painting will very much sound the same.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Cai-Guo-Qiang

Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows

1998

Mixed Media

60” x 23’7”x7’6”

Key Facts

Born in China. He was trained in stage design. Often uses gunpowder because of its uncontrollable qualities as a way of rebelling against strict Chinese art and society. Uses many Chinese symbols and stories in his art.

“I wanted to make of Impressionism something solid and enduring, like the art in museums.”

“All objects in nature can be broken down into the sphere, the square, and the cylinder”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Damien Hirst

The Last Supper

1999

Screen prints

Key Facts

Single mother, protective; At first refused, but eventually accepted at Leeds/Goldsmiths art colleges. Placement in mortuary as a student influenced future work. Rewarded with a cluster of solo exhibitions upon ending college. Often used dead animals in his work. At the ’93 Venice Biennalehe presented Mother and Child Divided; Struggled with substance abuse. He is the 2nd most expensive living artist, selling his $12 million shark, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

A Thousand Years; “living art”; Holds record for single-artist auction;

He has a factory setup for creating art.

“Art goes on in your head. If you said something interesting, that might be a title for a work of art and I'd write it down. Art comes from everywhere. It's your response to your surroundings.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

Gary Hume

Spring Angel D

2000

Screenprint

Key Facts

British. Moved from Minimalism/Conceptual to Pop Art. Started screenprinting after Warhol and Lichtenstein. Leading member of Young British Artists (YBA). Abandoned early success of hospital doors to concentrate on “literal and metamorphic surface.” Featured in 1999 Venice Biennale.

He was big on the process of art  he made sure he was in this image to represent the journey from start to finish. His Spring Angel series was based on concrete angels on ceiling of Brazilian Cathedral… he took the images and enlarged and simplified the details to generate outlines of “quasi-abstract” compositions (there is one for every letter in this series, again to mirror start to finish process)…

“If I only worked during the day, it would all grind to a halt. During the day you worry, you’re trying to sort things out and don’t have the courage. But as soon as the national working day is finished, the bravery level goes up.”


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MoMAThe Museum of Modern Art

“I’m basically the idea person. I’m not physically involved in the production. I don’t have the necessary abilities, so I go to the top people…”“I try to be truthful as an artist and try to show a level of courage. I like that. I’m a messenger.”

Jeff Koons

Balloon Dog

1946

High chromium stainless steel with transparent coating

121 x 143 x 45 in.

Key Facts

Born in York, PA in 1955

A widely respected Pop/Conceptual artist  his work is often controversial, but there’s no denying that he makes art and makes it well

Interested with the public’s obsession with sex and lust, racism and poverty

His works “rarely inspire moderate responses”

He doesn’t actually make the works himself; he simply comes up with the idea and gets artists to make it for him

Instead of seeking traditional values, he depicts real-time middle class values such as sex, money, and popularity


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