Imagine you are being asked to create an online gallery with two works of art from the art movements we studied this week. The art examples do not have to be in our textbook, but the art you select must be from the art movements studied in Chapter 8 or Chapter 9. Identify the art works (title, artist, date, medium) and explain why you selected each work. Discuss the content of the art work and what issue the artists was trying to suggest.
If possible, include the image or the link for other studentâ€™s to easily view.
Minimalism, Conceptualism & Marginalized Artists
The 1960s decade began with change in the political climate with the election of John F. Kennedy, and activism of Civil Rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Antiestablishment and anti-war sentiments furthered the racial and political tensions. This societal shift and political polarization was reflected in modern American art in several different movements. Minimalism focused on geometric abstractions and rudimentary forms, and flourished in sculpture. The Minimalists wanted to strip the art of any signature techniques that would be characteristic of an individual artist. Doing away with hidden or blatant medium created an emphasis on the medium itself. The task for Minimalist sculptors was, therefore, to produce work that was about the essence of sculpture, about the object as simply an object.
Conceptual art also appeared, rebelling against the art form itself and focusing on the theory, production and idea behind it. As artists dealt with the possibilities of confining artwork to pure surface, it became clear to some that the elimination of the work of art itself was a viable alternative. This often meant that the objects were not made to be long lasting, at times consisting merely of a set of instructions for the viewer.
Some artists combined conceptual art with Happenings and created Performance and body art, in which their bodies served as the â€˜canvas.â€™ A culmination of Conceptualism and Minimalism were huge Earthworks, which were installations created using the land. This involved site-specific works that presented structures in a new way, often using the land as part of the medium. Often this work is only remembered through photographs and drawings. There is a limited amount of time in which the work exists.
During the 1970s, the unresolved withdraw from Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, Nixonâ€™s resignation, and an economic instability all contributed to a general sense of political disillusionment in America. This decade also spawned activism in both Civil Rights and Womenâ€™s Liberation. Feminist art wanted to explore the social confinements and cultural expectations that they had been subject to for years. Performance and body art was often used by many feminist artists as it allowed them control over their own representation, often questioning the traditional ways in which they had been represented in art and in popular media, cultural area that had predominantly been under the control of men. While some used their bodies to explore ideas about the female identity, others used traditional craft materials (such as knitting, quilting, etc.) to challenge the inferior view of these objects from â€˜high artâ€™. Judy Chicagoâ€™s The Dinner Party is a large installation of a triangular table with place settings for mythological and historical women who have been notable in history.
Beginning a little earlier than Womenâ€™s Liberation, black artists had started rejecting their invisibility from art histories, exhibitions and the mainstream. The Black Arts movement helped draw attention to their marginalization, and through the work of many activist groups, began to impact the art market. Many galleries and museums launched solo and group exhibitions of black artists. The success of these movements led to other ethnic groups such as Native and Mexican Americans challenging their identity in America through modern art.
Doss, E. (2004). Twentieth-century American art. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press