Conceptualism and Minimalism of two artistic genres
Respond to no more than four of the questions below. You may choose to respond to fewer than four.
1) The Course states that photographs were the first affordable mass produced commodity of any cultural consequence. Given theories of commodity fetishism, does it follow that photographs are fetish items. Given that other items of visual culture are also commodities that are bought and sold, to what extent can they also be considered fetish items?
2) Photographs are meta-signs; that is to say they are both images in themselves and can be images of other things. For example, a photograph can be a work of art and an image of a work of art. A photograph is both a commodity in itself and it commoditizes other things. Given this duality, critically discuss the inter-connections between the fields of visual art, photography and fashion in the first half of the twentieth century.
3) The American critic and theorist, Clement Greenberg had considerable influence on the development of late modernist art. Greenberg was an advocate of formalism. What do you understand about formalism in art, and why did Greenberg advocate it? Had formalism been an issue in previous iterations of twentieth century art practice?
4) The work of Marcel Duchamp had gained notoriety in the early twentieth century, yet it wasn’t until the 1960s that the work of Duchamp was recognized as highly significant. What was it about visual art discourse in the 1960s that initiated the second coming of Marcel Duchamp?
5) Conceptualism and Minimalism were two artistic genres that emerged towards the end of modernism. Using examples, summarize the characteristics of these two genres. Are there elements in common, or conversely, to what extent do they differ? Your answer should include a selection of work from both oeuvres.
6) Super realism, also known as photo realism was a tendency in painting that emerged simultaneously with minimalism and conceptualism. What does this say about the artistic conditions of late modernism? Also, what does the term photo realism imply in regard to the perceived nature of realism at this time?
7) What is essentialism and how has it manifested in art and design during the course of the twentieth century? To what extent is essentialism a product of modernism? Your answer should refer to a particular example, or examples.
8) The progression of tendencies and styles that constituted the main body of twentieth century modern art can be likened to an extended narrative within which the idea of art was held to be inviolate. However, towards the end of the modernist period this narrative was starting to unravel. Using examples, can you suggest reasons for this?
9) In reference to the significance of imagery in mid-twentieth century culture, Guy Debord writes, “All that was once directly lived has become representation”. What do you think is meant by this statement? Debord also states, “The spectacle is not a collection of images, rather it is the social relations between people, mediated by images.” What do you think is meant by this? By using examples, discuss why you think such imagery mediates the social relations between people.