Contemporary Art Terms and Quotes Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Abstract Expressionism
Term applied to a movement in American painting that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s, sometimes referred to as the New York School or, very narrowly, as ACTION PAINTING. The works of the generation of artists active in New York from the 1940s and regarded as Abstract Expressionists resist definition. They were linked by a concern with varying degrees of abstraction used to convey strong emotional or expressive content.
"push and pull"
Hofmann's concept of "push and pull" asserts that all mocement within a painting necessarily implies a reciprocal pictorial space demanded a balancing advance toward the viewer.
Clement Greenberg
american art critic, promoter of abstact expressionism, supporter of pollock, incredibly influential and powerful critic in the 20th century; suggested art works of realism, or works rooted in images of popular culture, are inferior and depend on elements not essential to painting; avant-garde is high culture and, therefore, superior; called for a new American art; recognized the shift of the center of the art world
Harold Rosenberg
The critic known for first exploring, coining, and defining the term of "abstract expressionism"
"action painting"
A style of nonrepresentational painting that relies on the physical movement of the artist in using such gestural techniques as vigorous brushwork, dripping, and pouring. Dynamism is often created through the interlaced directions of the paint. A subcategory of Abstract Expressionism., a New York school of painting characterized by freely created abstractions
Art Brut
raw art, interest in primate, pure, childlike, insane, or uncontaminated by culture
Jean Dubuffet, Cow With Subtile Nose 1954
A group of EXPRESSIONIST painters formed in Paris in 1948. They were interested in art derived from unconscious gesture and in that respect had affinities with American ACTION PAINTING. However, they also placed an emphasis on the development of strange and fantastic imagery, related in some cases to Nordic mythology and folklore, in others to various magical or mystical symbols of the unconscious. The leading members of the group were Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, and Corneille, who were soon joined by Jean Atlan and Pierre Alechinsky. The group organized a number of exhibitions 1948-51 and then disbanded.
Nouveau Réalisme
A term coined in 1960 by the French critic Pierre Restany to characterize a group of artists who included real objects (often junk) in their work with the intention of making ironic comments on modern life. Yves Klein and Tinguely were among the leading artists of Nouveau Réalisme.
an artwork composed of objects, parts of objective materials originally intended for purposes other than art
Neo Dada
style of art that melds painterly abstraction with Dada's emphasis on culture and society. unites painterly abstraction with objects from everyday life
Lawrence Alloway
member of the Independent Group, fascinated with the imagery of science and engineering, organized with other memebers "Growth and Form:
Independent Group
1952-55. This group consisted of painters, sculptors, architects, writers and critics who wanted to challenge prevailing modernist approaches to culture. They introduced mass culture into debates about high culture, re-evaluated modernism and created the "as found" or "found object" aesthetic.
Pop Art
an artistic movement that emerged in the early 1960s; pop artists took images from popular culture and transformed them into works of fine art
Gene Swenson
Funk Art
In the late 1950s, artists who were starting to use junk materials or "the leftovers of human experience," as Kienholz called it, were described as "funky" -- or bad-smelling. Funk artists reacted against Abstract Expressionism, which they considered too removed from humanity. They sought to bring the contemporary art scene back to including some realism and social responsibility. Funk artists liked often to use shock tactics in the Social Realist traditional of cultural critique and protest.
development of performance art originated with artists like sculptors, art moved from being completely visual to a less static form, not only the art was on display but also the space and of all of those who atteneded must be considered essential parts of the total artistic experience
Performance Art
is art in which the actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time constitute the work. Also called 'happenings'
Set up in Germany in 1962 and lasting until the early 1970s, Fluxus was a loosely organized group of international artists. It had no set programme but, in the spirit of its distinguished predecessor DADA, was anti-art and revolutionary in spirit and was opposed to tradition and professionalism in the arts. Its leading figure was Joseph Beuys (1921-86), but as the movement spread rapidly abroad other famous names such as the Japanese-American artist Yoko Ono came to be associated with it. Fluxus festivals were held in many European and American cities and many of their activities were concentrated on HAPPENINGS (called Aktions in Germany).
Process Art
Art that focuses on the process of it being made rather than the actual outcome of the piece
Arte Povera
Italian for "Impoverished Art" or "Poor Art", the term was introduced by Germano Celant as a label for a small group of artists who were experimenting with nontraditional and politically charged art. Duchamp was inspiration
Conceptual Art
A movement of the 1960s and 1970s that emphasized the artistic idea over the art object. It attempted to free art from the confines of the gallery and the pedestal.
an art movement in sculpture and painting that began in the 1950s and emphasized extreme simplification of form and color
Op Art
modern technique with which a painter creates optical illusions with the use of dazzling patterns.
Hard-Edge painting
A variant of Post- Painterly Abstraction that rigidly excluded all reference to gesture, and incorporated smooth knife-edge geometric forms to express the notion that painting should be reduced to its visual components.
"At a certain moment, the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act - rather than as a space in which to reproduce, redesign, analyze or 'express' an object, actual or imagined. What was to go on the canvas w
Harold Rosenberg, from "The American Action Painters," 1952
William Wright: "Mr. Pollock, there's been a good deal of controversy and a great many comments have been made regarding your method of painting. Is there something that you'd like to tell us about that?
Mr. Pollock: My opinion is that new needs need new
Interview from 1958
"I paint very large pictures. I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however - I think it applies to other painters I know - is precisely because I wan
Mark Rothko, I Paint Very Large Pictures, 1951
"I had rejected the brush long before. It was too pyscholological. I painted with the roller, more anonymous, hoping to create a 'distance' between me and my canvases, which should be at least intellectual and unvarying. Now, like a miracle, the brush ret
Yves Klein on his "Living Brush" technique, c. 1958
"I was doing at that time sculptures of small objects - flashlights and light bulbs. Then I heard a story about Willem de Kooning. He was annoyed with my dealer, Leo Castelli, for some reason, and said something like, 'That son-of-a-bitch; you could give
Jasper Johns
"Pop Art is: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term resolution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big business. . . . This is just the beginning."
Richard Hamilton in his "Letter to Peter and Alison Smithson," 1957
"I am for Kool-art, 7-UP art, Pepsi-art, Sunshine art, 39 cents art, 15 cents art, Vatronol art, Dro-bomb art, Vam art, Menthol art, L & M art, Ex-lax art, Venida art, Heaven Hill art, Pamryl art, San-o-med art, Rx art, 9.99 art, Now art, New art, How art
Claes Oldenburg from "Documents from The Store," 1960-61
"What is Pop Art?"
"I don't know - the use of commercial art as a subject matter in painting I suppose. It was hard to get a painting that was despicable enough so that no one would hang it - everybody was hanging everything. It was almost acceptable to
Roy Lichtenstein from interview with Gene Swenson, 1963
"I guess it was the big plane crash picture, the front page of the newspaper: 129 DIE. I was also painting the Marilyns. I realized that everything I was doing must have been Death. It was Christmas or Labor Day - a holiday - and every time you turned on
Andy Warhol, in regard to why he began the "Death series," from interview with Gene Swenson, 1963
"What is great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same thing as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks
Andy Warhol, from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), 1975
"Duchamp did not make a toilet, he made an untoilet. It's about transformation - he took a toilet and made a work of art out of it. I wasn't transforming anything. I was looking at a toilet like someone would look at a figure, you know, a very traditional
Robert Arneson
"The idea of revolution coming from outer conditions, in the industrial field or the so-called reality of economic conditions, can never lead to a revolutionary step unless the transformation of soul, mind, and will power has taken place."
Joseph Beuys, in regard to his action, The Chief, 1963/64
"When you build something rigid you know what it is going to look like. . . . I wanted a material that I could predict even less about."
Robert Morris
"I would like the work to be non-work. This means that it would find its way beyond my preconceptions. What I want of my art I can eventually find. The work must go beyond this. It is my main concern to go beyond what I know and what I can know. . . . As
Eva Hesse, from Untitled Statement, 1968
"I wanted to rip out anything that in my eyes made traditional works of art, art, to get rid of any lingering object orientation by emphasizing horizontal scale. Formwise, to have no visible structure, no unification, no pattern - not to accentuate the fo
Barry Le Va, from interview with Liza Bear, 1971
"When you build something rigid you know what it is going to look like. . . . I wanted a material that I could predict even less about."
Robert Morris
"I would like the work to be non-work. This means that it would find its way beyond my preconceptions. What I want of my art I can eventually find. The work must go beyond this. It is my main concern to go beyond what I know and what I can know. . . . As
Eva Hesse, from Untitled Statement, 1968
"All art (after Duchamp) is conceptual (in nature) because art only exists conceptually . . ."
Joseph Kosuth, from "Art after Philosophy," 1969
"The idea or the concept is the most important aspect of the work."
Sol Le Witt
"My final paintings are the intimate dialogue between my total being and the visual agents which constitute the medium. My intentions have not changed. I have always tried to realize visual and emotional energies simultaneously from the medium. My paintin
Bridget Riley, from Untitled Statement, c. 1968
"The form of my painting is the content."
Ellsworth Kelly, from Notes of 1969
"There are two problems in painting. One is to find out what painting is and the other is to find out how to make a painting. The first is learning something and the second is making something. . . . One learns about painting by looking at and imitating o
Frank Stella, from the Pratt Lecture, 1960
"Three dimensions are real space. That gets rid of the problem of illusionism of literal space, space in and around - marks and colors, which is riddance of one of the salient and most objectionable relics of European art. . . . Actual space is intrinsica
Donald Judd, from "Specific Objects," 1965
"The answer I want to propose is this: the literalist espousal of objecthood amounts to nothing other than a plea for a new genre of theatre; and theatre is now the negation of art."
Michael Fried, from "Art and Objecthood," 1967
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