In this unit of study, you are introduced to the important role of modernism as an antecedent of contemporary practice. You analyse the social, political and economic underpinnings of modernity that gave rise to modern art. Freed from the controls of patronage, modern art grew more autonomous, to the point of providing a point of social critique through what became known as the avant-garde. The modern period is characterized by contradictory forces, from utopianism and technophilia on one hand, to a new interest in unreason, disorder and destabilization on the other. These forces found expression in the wide variety of artistic approaches that you will study in this unit, including: realism, abstraction, utopian visions, expressionism, surrealism, and art and the everyday. You are encouraged to make links between historical developments within their specific contexts, and their contemporary legacies.
1-hour lecture and 1-hour tutorial/week
short writing task (30%) and major essay (70%)