HAD-446 Painting in the Mid-Twentieth Century, 1930-1980
9:00 am – 11:50 am
Main Building, 214
This course will examine the fortunes of the art of painting as it was practiced in the industrial world from 1930 to 1980. As prominent critics encouraged artists to demonstrate by practical example what it was that their mediums did in contradistinction to other mediums, others who had kept alive the spirit of the traditional avant-garde employed painting as one among a host of artistic strategies to achieve radical ends. Painters during this period found themselves in a very strange position. On the one hand, their medium was far and away the most popular with cultural institutions like museums and galleries as well as with art patrons and critics, and on the other it found a welter of contestations of its hegemony. This course will discuss the ways the art of painting was shaped by these factors, and focus on five central issues: The changing meaning of realism and the choice to paint abstractly, the aesthetic responses to industrial capitalism, the influence of new media on painting's traditional practices, the influence that the collapse of traditional historical narratives had on critics, and the way marginalized voices found expression in the medium.