Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Lynne Hershman Beeson

Lynn Hershman Leeson, Roberta's Construction Chart #2, 1975
Eleanor Antin, Carving: A Traditional Sculpture, 1972  “purposely toy[ing]  with the traditional process of Greek sculptors, who were said to find their ideal form by chipping away at a block of marble and discarding any unnecessary material.” (Antin)

Howardena Pindell, Stills from Free, White, and 21, 1980. The Kemper Museum writes, "Presenting a strong statement against discrimination, the video draws attention to stereotypical racial roles and the ways in which people of color are expected to perform and behave. The contentious dialogue between these two women also functions as a critique of the notion of “Woman” employed in the feminist debates of the 1970s, which tended to overlook the impact of differences of class and race." 

Hannah Wilke, S.O.S Starification Object Series: An Adult Game of Mastication”, 1974-5
Hannah Wilke, SOS, 1974-5

Hannah Wilke, single chewing gum sculpture in plexi box, 1974-5

Martha Rosler, Semiotics of the Kitchen, 1975

Carolee Schneeman, Interior Scroll, 1975

Faith Ringgold, The Flag is Bleeding, 1997
Chicago, Judy: <em>The Dinner Party</em>
Judy Chicago and many others, The Dinner Party,  1979

Judy Chicago and many others, The Dinner Party,  1979

from Wikipedia
Feminist campaigns are generally considered to be one of the main forces behind major historical societal changes for women's rights, particularly in the West, where they are near-universally credited with having achieved women's suffragegender neutrality in English,reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives andabortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property.[5]Although feminist advocacy is and has been mainly focused on women's rights, some feminists, including bell hooks, argue for the inclusion ofmen's liberation within its aims because men are also harmed by traditional gender roles.[6] Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues such as the social construction of gender.


Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #3, 1977
Cindy Sherman – Untitled Horrors Moderna Museet Trajectoire magazine de luxe suisse genève
Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#153), 1985
Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#224), 1990

Lorna Simpson, Five Day Forecast (1988)

Lorna Simpson, The Clocktower, The PArk, The Cloud, as installed at the Whitney Museum, 2007
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (your body is a battleground)1989

Barbara Kruger, You invest in the divinity of the masterpiece, 1982

Jenny Holzer, 1980's
Jenny Holzer, You are a Victim, 1980's

Jennie Holzer
Carrie Mae Weems, ‘Untitled (mother and daughter)’, 1990, Phillips

Carrie Mae Weems, Kitchen Table Series, 1990
today's generation
kara Walker, Slavery! Slavery! 1997, Brooklyn Art Museummore info here

“I find that I am rewriting History, trying to make it resemble me, Kara (and me, negress) but doing it in little bits and pieces. It’s a monomaniacal undertaking, but there is a lot of (white, patriarchal) damage to undo. I mean that’s the only way history is written anyway, in little pieces. I would have preferred to make up my own Mythology and make it stick as effectively as those ante- and post-bellum characters have in the collective unconscious, or to make up stories as influential as the American Revolution and its heroes and ideals. But alas, I’ve got only myself, the Penny Empire of me to work with, so that’s what I do.”

Kara Walker, “Kara Walker,” interview by Ali Subotnick, Make, 92 (Special Edition 2002): 25-27.

“The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven", from Slavery, Slavery, Kara Walker, 1997

Kara Walker, Subtlety, or, the Marvelous Sugar Baby, 2014

Kara Walker - A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant


Janine Antoni, Gnaw, 1992

Janine Antoni, Butterfly Kisses, 1996

Janine Antoni, 

Miranda July
and many more

Late Modern, Postmodern Contemporary Artists to Consider

Very Simply Stated:
(dates prove tricky! but most agree that good reasons point to the mid-19th to mid-20th century bounding Modernism in visual art) 

with "The Painter of Modern Life," 1863, poet, essayist, revolutionary Charles Baudelaire called for an artist who would shed the conventions that painting had carried for all of the Early Modern Period. He sought an artist who would turn to the world around, rather than to the stories of myth and history, for material. Modernism might learn from history, and take from it what it found useful, but Modernism, above all, rejected tradition and took the poet Ezra Pound's fiat: "Make it new!" as its central tenet. Thus, Modernism holds its umbrella above a shower of new movements in art, the Rain of -Isms, the Reign of -Isms. 

 Modernist Traits:
… artworks include qualities of protest against the industrialized, capitalistic, militaristic, and technological modern world; philosophical, intellectual,
… artists defy rules and traditions, searching for new perspectives, content, points of view, materials, form and style;
… interest in the subconscious mind, individual subjectivity, the internal life, self-consciousness, seriousness, emphasis on flatness (against illusionism), tendency toward abstraction and self-reflection, 

Subjects include: everyday life, dreams, emotions, lived experience, search for meaning and truth

movements associated with modernism include Realism, Impressionism, post-impressionism, Dadaism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism….
Mordernism is marked by: 
Rejection of tradition

Postmodernism: A broad term encompassing literature, theater, film, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and criticism, among others. Where Modernism built on the foundational principle that scientific, emotional, and  other Truths might help explain lived experience, Postmodernism refused any overarching narrative... my truth is my truth, and yours is yours. Skepticism, irony, and doubt dominate Postmodern thinking, and any claim that suggests it might govern all cultures, faiths, traditions might well receive mockery. By this time, the "Death of the Author," has occurred, and authority rests with interpretation (reading) as much as with authorship.

Postmodernism doesn't come at the end of Modernism (because many artists continue to work in a modernist mode), but it denies its validity. The idea that there could be any original, much less that it would express a truth, broadly speaking, seems ridiculous to postmodernists.

By its very nature, postmodern art looks very different in the hands of different artists. Artists work with a wide range of materials, in some cases without any materials other than their bodies or minds.

Terms associated with postmodernism:
Pastiche, assemblage, collage, montage, commodity
appropriation, repetition, reproduction, re-presentation, simulation
irony, humor, cynicism, ridicule
multiculturalism, multiplicity, fragmentation
all mark postmodernism.
high and low culture merge

depthlessness-- beyond flatness
against Meta-Narrative

Choose three artists to read about; consider what qualities of their work seem modern, what postmodern. What sets the artist apart? 

Betsy's picks for Most Important Artists Working today. 
Gerhard Richter, ‘Elizabeth I’ 1966
Gerhard Richter, Elizabeth 1, 1966
Gerhard Richter, Betty, 
Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting, 1990
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Cindy Sherman, Art History Series, 

Vija Celmins, To Fix the Memory in my Mind, 1980
Vija Celmins,  untitled Ocean, 

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Ai WeiWei, Neolithic Vase with Coca-Cola Logo 2010 Paint on Neolithic vase (5000–3000 BC) 
Gerhard Richter
Cindy Sherman
Vija Celmins
Yasumasa Morimura
james turrell
Kara Walker
Ai WeiWei
Cai Guo-Qiang
Marina Abramovic 
kiki smith
damien hirst
el anatsui

Folk Art

Henry Darger. I recommend that you view Jessica Yu's remarkable documentary In the Realms of the Unreal,  2004

James Hampton, Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millenium General Assembly, found materials, 1950-1964, now in the smithsonian

Untitled (After H.B.)
Robert Longo, his own homage project, here.

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Robert Longo, Men in the City,  here

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Chuck Close, Self-Portrait, starting point here, Marion Cajori's documentary Chuck Close, a Portrait in Progress.1998
Vija Celmins, learn more with Art 21 here

Photorealist Sculpture

Patricia Piccinini, starting point, including her 'altered vespa sculptures' (my term) here

Ron Mueck, photo credit here, start with Mueck here.

Post-Medium Condition

Cai Guo-Qiang (fireworks, gunpowder drawings, and taxidermy installations), photo credit here, start with Art 21 Episode about Cai Guo-Qiang .
Mark Dion When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (Toys R U.S.) 1995 mixed media installation Courtesy Skarstedt Fine Art
Mark Dion, installations, mostly based on natural objects altered by humans,  start with the art 21 episode here.

Buckminster Fuller, start here.

Mike and Doug Starn, multimedia and video installations. Start at their own website

Gordon Matta Clark, altered buildings, photo credit here, start here.

Felix Gonzales Torres, Perfect Lovers, 1990 image credit and valuable interview from Queer Cultural center website here.

Damien Hirst, photocredit and short article here. Start at the artist's website for further info.

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Jeff Koons, image credit, many more images, and bibliography here.

Shepherd Fairey, starting place here.
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Nicolas Lambert

Kinetic/Machine/Science Art

Arthur Ganson, great images here, and view his talk here.

Theo Jansen, view his talk here.

Nicolas Lambert


Brothers Quay

Jan Svankmajer. valuable interview here.


Pippilotti Rist, good short article here.

Bill Viola. Start at Viola's website here.
"I am interested in what the old masters didn't paint, those steps in between." - Bill Viola

Starn Twins. Start here.

One of my favorite videos by William Kentridge. Begin your study of Kentridge by watching his episode on Art21


Cindy Sherman

Yasumasa Morimura. a brief, harsh, critique here.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto. Start with Art 21 here.

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Francesca Woodman, good article here. Another, very strong, here.

Sally Mann, start here.

Emmet Gowin, one source. richer source.

Nicholas Nixon, brown sisters  series, good source of images here. more info here.

Bill Brandt, short article here. a bit more here.

Dawoud Bey, photo credit here. start here.

Lorna Simpson, start here.

Abstract Expressionism (loosely interpreted) (and Modern, not contemporary!)

Mark Rothko

Jackson Pollock

Georgia O'keefe

Helen Frankenthaler

Willem de Kooning

Joseph Alpers

Arthur Dove

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Jeff Donaldson

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Julie Heffernan

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Walton Ford. start here.

Yayoi Kusama. Amazing installation here. start here.

Moyo Ogundipe start here.

Street Art:
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Swoon (Callie Curry) see her talk on here. (Street art and Installation Piece)

Jean-Michel Basquiat. start with the documentary Radiant Child and in the library.


Janine Antoni. start here.

Adrien Piper start here.

Ana Mendieta

Joseph Beuys

Eleanor Antin. start here.

Chris Burden start here.

Revolutionary Art

Geurilla Girls start here.

Judy Chicago start with the documentary Women!Art!Revolution!
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Barbara Kruger. start here.

Jenny Holzer start here.

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Betye Saar. start here.

Faith Ringgold start here. and watch the documentary WomenartRevolution
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Sue Coe


Philip Johnson start here. high modernism

Gehry Residence / Gehry Partners, via

Frank Gehry. Start here. postmodernism

Frank Lloyd Wright start here. high modernism

Richard Bofill, United Airlines Headquarters,