I am teaching the undergraduate modern art survey at Penn this fall. Enroll here. Course description below:
Early twentieth-century art in Europe is marked by a number of major transformations. This period witnessed the rise of abstraction in painting and sculpture, as well as the inventions of collage, photomontage, constructed sculpture, the readymade and found object, and performance art. Encounters with the arts of Africa, Oceania and other traditions spurred innovations in media, technique, and subject matter. Artists began to respond to the challenge of photography, to organize themselves into movements, and in some cases, to challenge the norms of art through “anti-art.” A new gallery system replaced traditional forms of exhibiting and selling art, and artists took on new roles as publicists, manifesto writers, and exhibition organizers. This course examines these developments, with attention to formal innovations as well as cultural and political contexts.