Late 20th Century Art Post WWII
Key Ideas • Experimentation in a restless era • Short-lived, intense movements • Variety of media used by individual artists (not just a painter or sculptor) • Technological advances – digital media • Closer equality of the sexes in art
Post War EuropeanFigural Art Alberto Giocometti, Swiss, Walking Man, bronze, 1960 Figural art was used to stay close to the human condition of the war Response to the human casualties of war Similar to the fleshiness of concentration camp survivors plaster
Post War EuropeFigural Art Francis Bacon, English, Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef, 1954, oil on canvas Jean Debuffet,,French, Cow with the Subtile Nose, 1954, oil on enamel on canvas Art brut – childlike primitive
Abstract Expressionism“The New York School” Reaction against minimalist abstraction (Mondrian, Malevich) Jackson Pollack, Number 1, 1950, oil, enamel, aluminum paint on canvas. Action painting, Immense size. William de Kooning, Woman II, 1952, oil on cnavas. Slashed paint, woman with huge breasts mocking magazine ads, ferocious women.
New York School Sculpture Louise Nevelson, Sky Cathedral, 1958, wood. Cubist influence Shallow boxes with wooden contents Huge constructions painted black to unify the composition
Color Field Painting Mark Rothko, Orange and Yellow, 1956, oil on canvas Tension in the color relationships Blocks of color with hazy edges No names beyond colors used “only in expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions . . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point.” “I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however . . . is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn’t something you command!” Rothko
Pop Art1950s-1960s Andy Warhol, Marilyn, Campbell Soup Cans 15 minutes of fame Mass marketing Mass popular culture The Factory Richard Hamilton, Just What is it that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?, 1956, collage.
Pop Art Roy Lichtenstein, Hopeless, 1963, oil on canvas. Heavy black outlines Benday dots Inspired by comic books Precise drawing
Minimalism/Postminimalism Frank Stella, Avicenna, 1960. Aluminum paint on canvas. Suppression of personality Denies all representation Lacks narrative Precursors were Mondrian/malevich
Site Art (Earth Art) Dependent on location for meaning Continues today… Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970. Great Salt Lake, Utah Christo, Running Fence, 1972-76. Nylon Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, CA.