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Modernism. Historical Context. World War I– The Great War: Technology of destruction Communism—Stalin’s industrialization of the Soviet Union: 20 million dead Social realism in the arts

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historical context
Historical Context
  • World War I– The Great War: Technology of destruction
  • Communism—Stalin’s industrialization of the Soviet Union: 20 million dead

Social realism in the arts

  • Fascism-Nationalism and racism: Hitler’s institutionalization of genocideRadio and film used for propaganda
mass media in the u s
Mass Media in the U.S.
  • Documentary arts:

Commercial film

Radio programs



  • Einstein’s Theory of Relativity
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Mastered traditional techniques“blue period”“rose period”
  • Abandoned Renaissance tradition: new rules
  • Les Demoiselles D’Avignon
influences on picasso
Influences on Picasso
  • Cézanne’s Bathers
  • African and Polynesian masks
  • Primitivism
  • Revolutionary departure from representational art. The area around painted objects became part of the abstract geometric forms.
  • Presented the object from many angles simultaneously.
  • Georges Braque
stages of cubism
Stages of Cubism
  • Analytical phase: browns and grays. Colors should not distract from lines and planes
  • Synthetic phase: collage
  • Pure line, shape and color: non-objective
  • Sculpture: Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space Brancusi’s Bird in Space
  • Painting: Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie
anti art
  • Dada: rejection of reason and order in art
  • Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades: sculpture, urinal
  • Later influenced performance art, pop art
  • Henri Matisse: fauvism
  • The Blue Window, Issy-les-Moulineaux
  • German Expressionism: Die Brücke
  • Emil Nolde’s Dance Around the Golden Calf
  • Der Blaue Reiter
  • Wassily Kandinsky’s Improvisation 28 (Second Version)
  • Paul Klee’s All Around the Fish
  • The Interpretation of Dreams influenced the humanities of the Twentieth Century
  • Psychoanalysis: freeing unconscious desires repressed by parental and societal taboos
  • Georgio de Chirico’s The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street
  • André Breton: automatism
  • Surrealist painters sought to release the images of the subconscious
  • Joan Miró’s The Birth of the World
  • Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory
modernism in literature
Modernism in Literature
  • Poets discarded meter and rhyme: vers libre
  • Prose: Virginia Woolf’s interior monologues or stream of consciousness reveal the characters’ inner thoughts.
  • Mrs. Dalloway: A single day
  • James Joyce’s Ulysses: A single day
modernist literature
Modernist Literature
  • T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land
  • New hero: ironic, frustrating, disappointing, self-doubting, anxious.
  • Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis
  • Character becomes a giant insect
music stravinsky
  • Le Sacré du Printemps shocked the music world
  • Russian folk tradition
  • Diaghilev: artistic director
  • Nijinsky: dancer-choreographer
  • Stravinsky’s music introduced multiple meters, or polyrhythm, and multiple simultaneous keys or polytonality
  • Creates disturbing dissonance
music schoenberg
  • Rejected the classical tradition of orchestral music
  • Atonal music: not composed in a key: expressionistic
  • Pierrot Lunaire
  • Twelve-tone method: not popular with audiences
modernist architecture
Modernist Architecture
  • Bauhaus School (German) Walter Gropius: Clean, functional design
  • Le Corbusier (French) functional glass and metal designs
  • Art deco: sleek, simple shapes with decorative forms, like the “gargoyles” of the Chrysler Building
bertolt brecht
Bertolt Brecht
  • Epic theater
  • The Threepenny Opera
  • The disparity between the ruling class in Germany and the working classes
political paintings
Political Paintings
  • Orozco, Siqueiros and Rivera: murals on public buildings in Mexico
  • Rivera’s The Enslavement of the Indians: criticism of Spain’s oppression of the indigenous people
  • Kahlo’s The Broken Column
  • Picasso’s Guernica: decimation of the town of Guernica by German bombs during Spanish Civil War
  • D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation
  • Silent film: Charlie Chaplin
  • Soviet film: Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin
  • Montage technique: “Odessa Steps”
  • Leni Riefenstahl’s The Triumph of the Will, Nazi propaganda
the u s a n y
The U.S.A./ N.Y.
  • Photography: Alfred Stieglitz
  • Painter: Georgia O’Keeffe
  • The Harlem Renaissance:Countee CullenLangston HughesZora Neale Hurston
u s a other artists
U.S.A/Other Artists
  • Edward Hopper Nighthawks
  • Willa Cather
  • William Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!
american dance
American Dance
  • Modern Dance: freedom from classical ballet Isadora Duncan
  • Modern Ballet: classical training/freer expressionGeorge BallanchineMartha Graham
american music
American Music
  • Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring
  • Charles Ives’ Three Pieces in New England
  • Frank Lloyd Wright: incorporate nature
  • “Fallingwater”
  • Improvised melodies, “swing” rhythm
  • African-American origins
  • George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Rhapsody in Blue: concert music
  • Large dance bands
  • Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie “Bird” Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis