Art & Visual Culture 1850-2010 Modernity to Globalization by Steve Edwards

By Steve Edwards

The essays during this quantity interact at once with topical concerns round paintings and gender, globalization, cultural distinction, and curating, in addition to explorations of key artists and activities and a few much less well-documented paintings via modern artists.

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Dictatorial regimes turned their backs on ambitious art and curried favour with the masses by promoting a bowdlerised or debased form of realism that was easy to comprehend. Seemingly distinct from art made by dictatorial fiat, the visual culture of liberal capitalism pursued instant, canned entertainment that would appeal to the broadest number of paying customers. This pre-packaged emotional distraction was geared to easy, unchallenging consumption. Kitsch traded on sentimentality, common-sense values and flashy surface effects.

During this period, Duchamp came to replace Picasso or Matisse as the touchstone for young artists, but he was just one tributary of what became a torrent. Perhaps most significantly, painting and anything we might straightforwardly recognise as sculpture began to take a back seat. As chapters 7 and 8 show, a host of experimental forms and new media came to prominence: performance art, video, works made directly in or out of the landscape, installations, photography and a host of other forms and practices.

Its successor was a product of the ‘new art history’ which emerged at that time, and set the terms of reference for what followed, up to the present day. This picture is, of course, simplified, but it offers a way of gaining traction on some key terms without which it is hard to tell the story at all. 1 Modernism In the discussion that follows, I want to remain as close to actual examples of art as I can, while yet paying due attention to the ideas that animated them. 2). 2 Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 130 × 190 cm.

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