Survey of Modern to Contemporary Art and Architecture
Please respond to any TWO of the following questions with essays of approximately 1,000 words. (Your exam as a whole, then, should be about 2,000 words in length.)
Essays must draw on course lectures, discussions, and readings. Please cite course readings with parenthetical documentation of author and page numbers and append a bibliography of works cited at the end of the document. (Formatting of bibliographical entries should follow the format used on your course syllabus. For authors by whom we read more than one essay, if you are referring to both contributions in parenthetical documentation, utilize publication dates to indicate the specific essay: for example, Nochlin 1988 or Nochlin 1989.)
1. In the second half of the course we have encountered numerous artists’ groups who have attempted to combine artistic and political activities. Compare and contrast three such collectives, evaluating their artistic and political successes and failures, as well as how particular styles, forms, and practices were allied to particular political agendas.
2. Select any five artists we have studied in this class and provide an analysis of how their production negotiates the medium of photography. Consider, for instance, how photography has served as both model and anti-model for modern artists, the new approaches it has enabled, as well the hybrid media that have emerged since its invention.
3. Interest in the psychological and perceptual lives of children pervades the thought of modern critics and artists. Beginning with Charles Baudelaire’s “Painter of Modern Life,” compose a short history of modern art and childhood. Think about the different uses to which the child has been put in modern art-making and art-writing and how such uses have evolved over time.
4. Although modern art was largely about embracing the new—the experience of modern life, the city, industrialization and new technology, etc.—many modern artists looked to earlier times as a basis for their art-making. Select five artworks we have studied in this course and discuss how they relate to the specific pre-1800 interests of the artists who made them. Consider how and why historical styles and approaches resurfaced at later moments, the appeal certain time periods or cultural contexts held for certain artists, and, more generally, how the pre- and even anti-modern gave shape to the development of modernism.
5. Self-portraiture has long served as a vehicle for thinking deeply about art-making. Choose five examples of modern artists’ self-portraits we examined in the course and discuss how these works relate to their makers’ ideals, artistic investments, and the cultural moments in which they were working.
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