Later Europe and the Americas Until 1980s

From the mid-1700s to 1980 C.E., Europe and the Americas experienced rapid change and innovation. Art existed in the context of dramatic events such as industrialization, urbanization, economic upheaval, migrations, and wars. Countries and governments were re-formed; women’s and civil rights’ movements catalyzed social change. Artists assumed new roles in society. Styles of art proliferated and often gave rise to artistic movements. Art and architecture exhibited a diversity of styles, forming an array of “isms.” Works of art took on new roles and functions in society and were experienced by audiences in new ways. Art of this era often proved challenging for audiences and patrons to immediately understand.

ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS 4-1
From the mid-1700s to 1980 C.E., Europe and the Americas experienced rapid change and innovation.  Art existed in the context of dramatic events such as industrialization, urbanization, economic upheaval, migrations, and wars.  Countries and governments were re-formed; women’s and civil rights’ movement catalyzed social change.

4-1a:  The Enlightenment set the stage for this era.  Scientific inquiry and empirical evidence were promoted in order to reveal and understand the physical world.  Belief in knowledge and progress led to revolutions and a new emphasis on human rights.  Subsequently, Romanticism offered a critique of Enlightenment principles and industrialization.

4-1b:  Philosophies of Marx and Darwin impacted worldviews, followed by the work of Freud and Einstein.  Later, postmodern theory influenced art making and the study of art.  In addition, artists were affected by exposure to diverse cultures, largely as a result of colonialism.  The advent of mass production supplied artists with ready images, which they were quick to appropriate.

ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS 4-2
Artists assumed new roles in society.  Styles of art proliferated and often gave rise to artistic movements.  Art and architecture exhibited a diversity of styles, forming an array of ‘isms’.

4-2a:  Diverse artists with a common dedication to innovation came to be discussed as the avant-garde.  Subdivisions include Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Cubism, Constructivism, Abstraction, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, performance art, and earth and environmental art.  Many of these categories fall under the general heading of modernism.

4-2b:  Artists were initially bonded by sanctioned academies and pursued inclusion in juried salons for their work to be displayed.  Later, when this system broke down, they joined together in self-defined groups, often on the margins of their mainstream art world, and they often published manifestos of their beliefs.  Change and innovation dominated this era and became goals in their own right. Women artists slowly gained recognition as many artists competed for admiration of their individuality and genius.

4-2c:  Artists employed new media, including lithography, photography, film, and serigraphy.  They used industrial technology and prefabrication, as well as many new materials, to create innovative and monumental works, culminating with massive earthworks.  Performance was enacted in novel ways and recorded on film and video.

4-2d:  Architecture witnessed a series of revival styles, including classical, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.  In the mid-19th century, advances in technology, such as the steel frame, ferroconcrete construction, and cantilevering, hastened the development of building construction.  Skyscrapers proliferated and led to an international style of architecture that was later challenged by postmodernism.

ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS 4-3
Works of art took on new roles and functions in society and were experienced by audiences in new ways.  Art of this era often proved challenging for audiences and patrons to immediately understand.

4-3a:  Art was displayed at public exhibitions such as the Salon in Paris and later at commercial art galleries.  The museum became an important institution of civic and national status and pride.  The sale of art to the public became the leading driver of art production.  The collection of art increased, driving up prices, as art became a commodity that appreciated in value.  After the devastation of Europe of World War II, artists in the United States dominated the art market.

4-3b:  Church patronage declined and corporate patronage emerged.  The influence of the academies receded in favor of radical individualism; some artists worked without patronage.  Audiences ranged from private patrons to the public, which was sometimes hostile toward art that broke with tradition.

 

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