1. Class intro a. For a long time, modernism has been taught as the culmination of the European tradition—2000 years of triumphal history and triumphal arches b. This class will root modernism in centuries of cross-cultural contact and a series of colonial encounters that occurred throughout the world c. We will be grounding global contemporary art in western and non-western art d. We are trying to present 1 single idea: that modernism is not a singular European invention, but that it is multiple, contested, and global. 2. Global Modernisms: Multiple, contested, dispersed a. Multiple: there are many kinds and strains of modernism and conflicting ideas of: i. What it means to be modern ii. What it means to be contemporary b. Contested: the multiple makes it contested, debated i. There is rarely agreement on what is modern, what is best, or correct c. Dispersed: Modernism developed in numerous places, and at different paces, scattered across the globe i. Even though history may reduce the complexity of the story to “centers” like London or Paris, cities all over have had their own contemporaneities and modernisms d. Global: Modernism (the visual form of modernity) is a product of—and embedded in—the larger structures of politics and economics that spread across the globe: colonialism, globalism, capitalism e. Modernism is rooted in the colonial encounter i. Sometimes peaceful, but often unspeakably violent ii. Modernism is part of Europe’s encounter with non-western art and design 1. But also a traumatic response to the radicality of other traditions, ideas, beliefs and representational systems iii. Global modernism is highlighting encounters with non-western cultures from the beginning of the Modern project 3. What do art historians do? a. Art history explores what’s in the picture and what sits in the world beyond b. Formalism + social/political context i. Not a question of one or the other, it’s a question of both c. As the world changes, we have to ask: where does the frame end and the world begin? What is at stake in drawing that line? What is the politics of drawing that boundary?
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- Fall '17
- Professor Nickles
- Global Modernism