jump to page contentcalifornia state university, sacramento
s a c r a m e n t o  s t a t e     

Elaine O'Brien

o'brien home | department home | college home | csus home

Syllabus (see revisions!)

Readings and links




Art 109 :: Modern Art

Art 109, Fall, 2015
TuTh 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Kadema 145
Professor: Elaine O'Brien
Office: Kadema Hall 190
Hours: W 12-2 and 6-7 pm
Email: eobrien@csus.edu

To see this Dada periodical and many more,
click here. University of Iowa Dada archive

Course description: This is a survey of avant-garde modern art from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The first half of the course will focus on the art of Western Europe and the United States. In the second half we consider case studies of modern art in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  Taking a world perspective on Modern art - the first truly global visual language - we will see how the aesthetic of newness, originality, anti-academicism, and radical formal invention characteristic of avant-garde modernism was rooted in the universal societal transformation that was modernity: the rise to power of European and cosmopolitan middle classes, secularism, positivism, faith in “progress,” individualism, and capitalism.  Modern art was the product of the forces of modernization – industrialization, urbanization, colonialism – that transformed the entire world during the era we will study.

After defining “Modern” art and “Modernism,” the course begins with the Post Impressionism of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin and proceeds through the modern movements of Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, Constructivism, Dada and Surrealism: movements that fundamentally reinvented the vocabulary of visual art. The first half of the course concludes with American Abstract Expressionism in the post-WWII decades and the End of the Age of Europe worldwide.  The second half of the course switches to a seminar format with discussions of readings in the modern art of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Prerequisites: Upper-division standing and Art 1B, Art 1C or equivalent with instructor approval


top of page