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ARTH209: 20th Century Art

Unit 14: Consumer Culture: Celebrations and Critiques   Like the Pop artists in the 1960s, some artists in the 1980s produced works that specifically comment upon art’s position within contemporary consumer culture. Some incorporated text into their works in order to speak clearly and directly to social or political concerns. Other artists used techniques borrowed from industry to highlight the relationship between works of art and other commodities intended for sale on the open market. As with the earlier Pop works, it can be difficult to determine if the work is meant to celebrate or to criticize consumer culture. This ambiguity is often a deliberate strategy: It forces viewers to consider the issues raised and to come to their own conclusions.

Unit 14 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take approximately 1.5 hours.

Unit14 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify the celebratory or critical references to consumer culture found in late 20th-century works of art; - discuss the reasons why specific artists used texts or techniques borrowed from industry in their art works; - identify the similarities and differences between Pop Art and late 20th-century works that refer to consumer culture; and - demonstrate understanding of the key contributions of specific artists to late 20th-century works that reference consumer culture.

  • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Jeff Koons” Link: PBS: Art21: “Jeff Koons” (HTML & Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “continue reading” after the first paragraph. Then click on the play button and watch the video. Consider Jeff Koons’s attitude toward the relationship between high art and kitsch. How do Koons’s ideas compare to Clement Greenberg’s ideas as expressed in “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” in subunit 7.1?
     
    Reading the essay, watching the video, and answering the question should take approximately 30 minutes,

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

  • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Allan McCollum” Link: PBS: Art21: “Allan McCollum” (HTML & Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “continue reading” after the first paragraph. Then click on the play button to watch the video. McCollum’s works question art’s relationship to other commodities bought and sold in a market economy. Then click on “Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York” and “Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston” to see examples of McCollum’s works.
     
    Reading the material, watching the video, and browsing the images should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Barbara Kruger” Link: PBS: Art21: “Barbara Kruger” (HTML & Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “continue reading” after the first paragraph to read this essay. Then click on the play button and watch the video. Think about how Kruger’s training in graphic design and her nontraditional venues affect the production of her works and the meanings that they convey to the viewer.
     
    Reading this material and watching the video should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: PBS: Art21: “Jenny Holzer” Link: PBS: Art21: “Jenny Holzer” (HTML & Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on “continue reading” after the first paragraph to read this essay that describes one of Holzer’s earliest and best known works. Then click on the play button to watch the video, in which Jenny Holzer discusses her use of texts, her works’ relationship to their sites, and her use of public spaces as well as museums and galleries to display her art.
     
    Reading the essay and watching the video 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: “Truisms, Jenny Holzer” Link: The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Truisms, Jenny Holzer” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this essay that describes one of Holzer’s earliest and best known works. Note Holzer’s use of nontraditional venues to gain a wider audience for her art. What connections can you identify between Holzer’s Truisms and the Conceptual Art discussed in subunit 10.1?
     
    Reading the essay and answering the question 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 14 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ARTH209 Unit 14 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 15 minutes.