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ARTH209: 20th Century Art

Unit 8: Neo-Dada and Pop Art   In the 1950s, a number of artists in the United States and Europe began to react against the abstract styles, expressive brushwork, and metaphysical meanings associated with earlier 20th-century modern art in general and Abstract Expressionism and Art Brut in particular. The artists associated with Neo-Dada and Pop Art were inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s cool, intellectual approach to art and his use of common, everyday materials. Like Duchamp, they were interested in breaking down the boundaries between the fine arts and everyday life. Neo-Dada and Pop artists also looked to American popular culture for subject matter: comic books, Hollywood films, magazines, and advertising imagery became important sources for them.
 
In the decades immediately after World War II, the European nations that had been involved in the struggle were slow to recover from the war’s economic toll. The United States, however, experienced rapidly increasing prosperity and an explosion of growth in mass culture and consumerism. This, along with America’s newly won position as a powerful world leader, led to the exportation of American culture around the globe. The Neo-Dada and Pop artists shared a fascination with American popular culture, but the meanings evoked by their works vary greatly. As you work through this unit, consider the attitudes toward popular culture and consumerism that are conveyed. Do the works seem to embrace and celebrate pop culture? Do they seem to criticize it? Do they convey a desire to escape from materialism or a hope for transcendence? What elements in the works themselves support your views?

Unit 8 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take approximately 7 hours.
 
☐    Subunit 8.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 8.2: 4.5 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3: 1 hour

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - describe and identify the stylistic characteristics and technical principles of Neo-Dada and Pop Art; - explain the philosophies and sources of Neo-Dada and Pop artists; - demonstrate knowledge of the main contributors to the development of Neo-Dada and Pop Art in the United States and Europe; - discuss the influence of Marcel Duchamp on Neo-Dada and Pop Art; and - explain the impact of postwar consumer culture on Neo-Dada and Pop Art.

8.1 Neo-Dada: Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Nan Rosenthal’s “Jasper Johns (born 1930)” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Nan Rosenthal’s “Jasper Johns (born 1930)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page, and then click on the images at the top and under “Cited Works of Art or Images” on the left-hand side to read more about these paintings. What aspects of Abstract Expressionist style can you see in Johns’s work? How does his work subvert the supposed spontaneity of Abstract Expressionism?
 
Reading the essay and answering the questions should take approximately 45 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Art Story: Robert Rauschenberg Link: The Art Story: Robert Rauschenberg (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this essay on Robert Rauschenberg.
     
    Reading this essay should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: “Bed: Robert Rauschenberg” Link: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Bed: Robert Rauschenberg” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this description of Bed by Rauschenberg that discusses some of the meanings of this work. Which aspects of the work seem to be influenced by the Abstract Expressionists? Which aspects seem indebted to Marcel Duchamp?
     
    Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: “Robert Rauschenberg, First Landing Jump, 1961” Link: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Robert Rauschenberg, First Landing Jump, 1961”(Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please listen to this audio commentary on one of Rauschenberg’s “combine paintings” in which he attached everyday materials to the surface of a canvas.
     
    Listening to this commentary should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.2 Pop Art in Britain and the United States   - Reading: The Art Story: “Pop Art” Link: The Art Story: “Pop Art” (HTML)
 
Instructions: First, read over this page as an introduction to Pop Art in Britain and the United States. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Works” at the top of the page and read the accompanying text.
 
Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 43 Painting 9: Pop Art” Link: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 43 Painting 9: Pop Art” (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on the red play button and listen to this podcast. Dr. Willette discusses the historical situation in which Pop Art arose in England and the United States as well as Pop Art’s new attitudes, materials, and subjects. Please pay close attention to her discussion of Pop Art’s relation to reality and systems of representation. All forms of visual representation—painting, sculpture, comic books, advertising, photographs, and so forth—are sign systems. That is, each follows certain conventions for representing the real world. Pop artists, Dr. Willette argues, realized that they could freely borrow from any of these sign systems, thereby breaking down the boundaries between high art and mass culture.
     
    Listening to this podcast should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.1 Richard Hamilton   - Reading: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: S. C. Maharaj’s “Richard Hamilton” Link: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: S. C. Maharaj’s “Richard Hamilton” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this page on this British Pop artist, and then
click on *Interior* (October 1964) from the images at the top of the
page and read the accompanying description.  

 Reading this essay should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.2 Andy Warhol   - Reading: The Art Story: “Andy Warhol” Link: The Art Story: “Andy Warhol” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after
the “Andy Warhol Biography” section. Then click on each of the
images under “Analysis of Andy Warhol’s Art Works” at the top of the
page to read more about these works. As you read the text and look
at the images, think about the references to popular culture that
you find in Warhol’s works and statements. Do you think that these
works celebrate popular culture? Do they criticize it in some way?
Or do they simply accept it as a fact of contemporary life? How easy
or difficult is it to answer these questions?  
    
 Reading this essay and answering the questions should take
approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Web Media: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 44 Painting 10: Andy Warhol” Link: arthistoryunstuffed.com: Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette’s “Podcast 44 Painting 10: Andy Warhol” (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on the red play button and listen to this podcast. Dr. Willette discusses a number of important issues in Andy Warhol’s art. Please pay particular attention to the relationship Warhol’s art has to mechanical reproduction, consumer culture, the art of Marcel Duchamp in particular and modernist art in general, and to ideas about originality and authenticity. You may find it useful to review Clement Greenberg’s essay, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” in subunit 7.1 and to compare Warhol’s attitude toward popular culture with Greenberg’s.
     
    Listening to this podcast should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: Philadelphia Museum of Art: Andy Warhol’s “Camouflage Self-Portrait” Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art: Andy Warhol’s “Camouflage Self-Portrait” (Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please press the Start button “Audio Stop 435” to hear a short discussion of Warhol’s work. 
     
    Listening to this audio should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.3 Roy Lichtenstein   - Reading: The Art Story: “Roy Lichtenstein” Link: The Art Story: “Roy Lichtenstein” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this essay and remember to click on “More” after the “Roy Lichtenstein Biography” section. Then click on each of the images under “Analysis of Roy Lichtenstein’s Art Works” at the top of the page to discover more about these works. How is Lichtenstein’s version of Pop Art similar to or different from that of Andy Warhol?
 
Reading this essay and answering the questions should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: DukeLibDigitalColl: “Inside New York’s Art World: Lichtenstein and Castelli” Link: YouTube: DukeLibDigitalColl: “Inside New York’s Art World: Lichtenstein and Castelli” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch the interview with Roy Lichtenstein, where he explains his technique of Ben Day dots and answers questions about his life, career, and work.
     
    Watching this interview should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.3 Sculpture: Claes Oldenburg and George Segal   - Reading: WordPress.com Artist Statements: “Claes Oldenburg: I Am for an Art” Link: WordPress.com Artist Statements: “Claes Oldenburg: I Am for an Art” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this brief excerpt from Claes Oldenburg’s famous statement on art. Oldenburg uses humor, poetry, and shocking imagery to convey his desire for an art that embeds itself in everyday life instead of trying to transcend it.
 
Reading this excerpt should take approximately 15 minutes.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.3.1 Claes Oldenburg   - Reading: Museum of Modern Art: Barbara Haskell’s “Claes Oldenburg” Link: Museum of Modern Art: Barbara Haskell’s “Claes Oldenburg” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article as a summary of Oldenburg’s life and creative work. Think about how Oldenburg’s choice of subject matter and materials subverts the boundaries between high art and mass culture.
 
Reading this essay should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: “Claes Oldenburg’s Other Works in Philadelphia” Link: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: “Claes Oldenburg’s Other Works in Philadelphia” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this essay that discusses several of Oldenburg’s most famous public sculptures. Think about the way these sculptures relate to their specific locations and the effect of monumentalizing very ordinary subject matter.
     
    Reading this essay should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.3.2 George Segal   - Reading: Wikipedia: “George Segal” Link: Wikipedia: “George Segal” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this article as a summary of George Segal’s life and creative work.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Wikipedia and the original version can be found here.

  • Reading: Miami Art Museum: “George Segal” Link: Miami Art Museum: “George Segal” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article about George Segal’s sculpture acquired by the museum.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 8 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 8 Quiz” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Complete this assessment to gauge your understanding of the topics covered in this unit. The correct answers will be displayed when you click the “Submit” button.

    Completing the quiz and reviewing, if necessary, should take approximately 20 minutes.