First in series "Understanding Contemporary Art" by art historian Professor Nancy G. Helle
My notes from the wonderful lecture by Nancy G. Heller as she took us through the decades that define Pluralism and some of the artists that define it. Nancy has also published a book that compliments our lecture series. "Why a Painting is like a Pizza: A guide to Understanding Modern Art. Here is the link on Amazon.
My notes from the lecture.
We will start with Pluralism - radical art from the 1970's.
Abstract Expressionism - began with Jackson Pollack
Leaves Europe and comes to NYC
1960's rejected it and began POP ART
Minimalism - 1960's abstract with out the baggage. Mechanical ways of presenting art
Things changed again in the 1970's to PLURALISM
PLURALISM - makes sense of the trajectory of the previous areas..
1970 things changed... and a half century later and it is impossible to pin down the artistic developments. Explains why we still use the term PLURALISM to describe the radical art.
POSTMODERNISM - experts also disagree as to when this begins.. 1970's, or when?
No general agreement.
What are the main ways to see..
What is more important is what is behind the art as opposed to the art.
Class Oldenburg - Placid Civic Monument - 1967 the invisible monument. The art was a space where
grave diggers dug a grave and then filled it up and called it conceptual art
"Nothingness" - an empty gallery. Based on Zen Buddhism
Marcel DuChamp - empty glass vessel of Paris air.
If there isn't anything - does that mean there is something?
John Baldessari - appropriates objects in his work.
"I will not make boring art"...over and over
Used a professional sign painter to do some of his art.
SUPER-REALISM.. AKA NEW REALISM
Takes art a step further.
PHOTO REALISM - remember, this all took place before digital photography
Painting from Photographs. Paintings so much like the photograph the viewer can hardly tell the different. Famous artists in this genre were
Richard Estes (b 1936)
Chuck Close - (b 1931)famous for his large portraits. His approach was different. Large and black and white. Mimicked the camera. He was inspired to make portraits.. in color in the early 1970's Confrontational scale. Doesn't hide the imperfection . Chuck Close has face blindness. He can't recognize faces. In 988 at the age of 48 he had a stroke and now uses a wheelchair. Paints with a mechanical arm with studio help.
Last year there was a scandal involving his photographs and paintings
Audrey Flack (b 1931) - used airbrush and other new tools. Deliberate blurring
Audrey Flack - Chanel
Was faulted for being to "feminine". Taught in the 1970's in NE Colleges. She has been recognized and did her Vanitas series..
Marilyn- part of the Vanitas Series - 1977
Large 8 feet by 8 feet in size.
1982 she changed her style to making statues (20 ft tall) of heroic women.
SUPER REALIST SCULPTURE.
Duane Hanson "Self Portrait with Model" 1978
He made well known sculptures using LIFE CASTING. Paved the way for lots of other sculpture. Assembles the body parts from a cast made from a real person. Add hair, clothes.. age spots. And things to meek them real looking..
Hanson started with political and horrific events.
Motor cycle accidents, drug addicts. Social satire. Tourists, women iwith shopping carts in the market, curlers in her hair. Children with dog. None of his sculptures were smiling. They were all VERY realistic. Criticism has compared his work to Madame Trussards Wax figures.
The next several decades were inspired by Hansen
John De Andrea, Ron Mueck, George Segal,