The best way to describe Minecraft without going into any of the actual details at all is the video above. A very open, sandbox building game. The game may look strangely pixelated, but graphics isn’t really the point of the game. That’s not even the right way of going about it, the graphics is almost the beauty of the game. I found out about Minecraft back in September while surfing around on Youtube from X’s Adventures in Minecraft by X. I’m pretty sure I watched at least 10 of his videos before actually playing the game. Just a sidenote, X is amazing at game narration while he plays through. I feel like a dork saying that, but I rarely ever watch through user-made game playthroughs and I was able to watch many of his videos.

Anyways, Minecraft being a rapidly developing very open world game where your purpose is to build and stay alive. The Minecraft Interstate in the video above is one great example of what you could potentially do in the game. My castle isn’t as elegant or spectacular, I’ve put quite a bit of effort into it though over a couple months. When I started my world, the game was still in alpha 1.1.0 and unfortunately that meant a lot less options. On top of a castle and a massive underground cavern with glass floors looking onto giant lava pools, I attempted to create a rollercoaster and a giant tree house. You can actually see the tree I started off in the left of the picture above. You’d be surprised how hard it was to grow all of them, they require sunlight and water.

Great sunset addition to the new beta. Notch also added a “hell” which was interesting to say the least. Despite the fact that I’ve played the game for months, leaving it and coming back multiple times, I have a feeling I’ve only really played a bit of the game. More detailed skins and more options will bring this game pretty far when it is eventually released. Before you cry out “dork!”, try the game out. It’s super addictive and pretty amazing.

Art History Exam Notes

Study Guide to Art History Exam for Canterbury Visual Arts Grade 12
Copyright © Respective Artists/Authors 2005.
By Vanessa (Make sure you give her a big sloppy kiss)
Edits/Additions: Jon

Notes: Tim doesn’t go into this much detail in the exam. He might ask you on two specific artists and a couple periods but that’s about it. Everything else is kind of common sense and should come to you easily if you listened to his lectures or read the notes. Don’t over memorize or you’ll just forget it all. Also, try not to tell Tim about this. Even though he doesn’t mind, I’d rather him NOT putting this up in class and mentioning my name about some old joke he has about me.

Baroque 1600-1780
Baroque is the style of the Counter-Reformation in the seventieth century in which artists sought movement, contrast, emotional intensity, and variety in their works.

Poussin and Rubens set the agenda for Classical and Romantic art.

Romanticism 1800-1850
A style of art that portrayed dramatic and exotic subjects perceived with strong feelings. This style of painting is more visceral, appeals more to your senses and emotions, has a more obvious brushstroke, and is generally warmer. For example, Rubens’ Decent from the Cross, Jesus’ body is twisted for a greater dramatic effect, the colors are more vivid, and there is more emotion from all of the characters.

Delacroix was the father of Romanticism. He was very much involved in the revolution, and he painted himself in his painting Liberty Leading the People.

Classical Art had a colder, conservative, and a more intellectual feel to it. It was more narrative than Romantic art, and was more symbolic. For example, Poussin’s Holy Family on the Steps (Virgin of the Steps) had no emotion from any of the characters.

The classical theme applies to Jacques Louis David’s Oath of Horatti, a big supporter of the revolution, and many of his pieces were a political commentary or outright propaganda. He was the father of Neo-Classicism.

A good way to compare any two pieces, be they older or contemporary, is to look for which one is more Romantic or Classical.

Neo-Classicism 1780-1820
Neo-Classicism was a nineteenth-century French art style that originated as a reaction against the Baroque style. It sought to revive the ideas if the of ancient Greek and Roman art.

Goya painted The Third of May which was slightly romantic, in that certain aspects of it were exaggerated. I.e. the distance of the shooters from the people. But it was realistic none the less, he didn’t idealize the figures. This led into Realism.

Artists began to challenge the neoclassic styles of David and Ingres, which created the two new styles known as Romanticism and Realism.

Romanticism 1800-1850
A style of art that portrayed dramatic and exotic subjects perceived with emotional intensity. Some of the paintings even seem dreamlike.

Géricault painted The Raft of Medusa. The figures are traditionally romanticized, in the ancient Greek and Roman way (with perfect, muscular bodies, and chiseled features) and made the characters of mythic proportion. He also went to the morgue to study dead and decomposing bodies, in order to make the piece more realistic. He was, therefore, looked back upon during the realism movement.

Manet painted Olympia a painting that for its time was considers scandalous and ugly. It was in your face, and was the first time the female body had been depicted in that way. Manet went against idealization and painted people just as they were. One critic said Olympia looked like a “short little monkey.”

Realism occurred around the same time as romanticism and focused more on the everyday life of the artist’s surroundings. Normally choosing peasants and the poor as their subjects, the artists portrayed the lower-class society of their time.

Daumier drew caricatures (of politicians and whatnot), and did many political pieces which had great strength and he was arrested several times because of it. He also painted and when he did, his subjects were the underbelly of society and were all depicted realistically. In his painting Third Class Carriage his illustrative style can be seen in the lines he used in many of the subject’s faces.

Courbet was considered the “Father of Realism” because of his writing about realism and his thoughts against romanticism. He thought that painting a very realistic scene was enough to incite a great deal of emotion, so no exaggeration was necessary. “You paint what you see and that’s it.” His painting Burial at Ornans depicted a part of everyday life for its subjects and was honest in representing them. The darker feel of the funeral was what it would’ve been like.

Eakins was the “Father of Realism” in America. His painting The Gross Clinic was stark and frighteningly realistic for its time. Once again, he was painting the mundane parts of everyday life with no effort to make it pretty. He was 20 years later than the other realists.

Romanticism Butting With Realism
Turner and Whistler began breaking down pure elements on the canvas such as light and color, and this makes them forefathers of Realism. They were not worried so much with realistic subjects as they were with dealing with how light and atmosphere affected subject matter. They also helped kick off Impressionism.

Turner originally focused more on realistic landscape. Eventually Turner’s pieces became more and more abstract so that no defined subject matter could be seen. The ships disappeared into black dots.


Whistler began to call his paintings after musical terms, to emphasize that he did not want to imitate nature, whether in his landscapes, portraits or figure studies. His paintings were not about subject matter but beauty. They were to be evocative like music. Whistler declared: As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight and the subject-matter has nothing to do with harmony of sound or of color.

The Falling Rocket

Rodin’s figures in his sculpture Burghers of Calais were slightly idealized, but the statue was put at ground level (rather than being up on a pedestal) so that they looked vulnerable. The sculpture was done in clay and then cast. The rough texture and lack of polishing and refining makes the viewer feel closer to the artist. It makes the piece more personal.

Degas was the first artist to add clothes or a part of the subject to the piece. In his sculpture Ballet Dancer Degas added the girl’s dress to the statue, and this took realism and sculpture to another level. He also concentrated on ballet dancers in his paintings.

Impressionism 1860-1900
Impressionism is a style of paining that started in France during the 1860’s. Impressionist artists tried to paint candid glimpses of their subjects and emphasized the memory effects of sunlight. These artists also worked outside rather than in the studios. They stressed the effects of atmosphere and sunlight on their subject matter. (As you can see, Whistler and Turner “Landscape Artists” influenced this movement a lot.)

Monet did a lot of series dealing with light to catch the impression of natural light at a moment in time. Monet would have sometimes up to ten different canvases that he would work on an hour at a time depending on what kind of light there was at that time of day.

Rouen cathedral

Renoir painted people in a candid kind of way, while dealing with light. His figures would fuse into one another and the surroundings. The sharpness of the details are not important in his paintings. Just remember one word, “Pretty!”.

Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette

Degas was budding against Realism. He gave the impression of daily life and dealt with awkward moments in time. For example, his wife in the bath. This popularity in capturing snapshots of people’s day-to-day life coincides with the introduction of photography into the art world.

Mary Cassatt’s art was a lot like Dagas but she dealt with the tenderness between mother and child from the perspective of a woman. She was the first artist to do this. All previous mother-child paintings were usually of the Christ child and Mary or showed the more “dutiful” mother rather than show real emotion.

Post Impressionism 1880-1910
This is a French art movement that immediately followed Impressionism. The artists involved in this movement showed a greater concern for structure and form than did the Impressionist artists.

Vincent van Gogh is the “Father of Expressionism” and influenced fauvism. In his pieces, he highlighted color in a more subjective way, and he highlighted color that would have the biggest emotional impact on the viewer. His brush-stroke gave energy to the piece. He is known for his later pieces, such as The Starry Night. The poor guy was also bi-polar and had epilepsy.

Seurat used color theory in his paintings, and was very interested in how the eye perceives color. He invented Pointillism, thus, making him the Father of Pointillism. He began simplifying the canvas, and got the ball rolling for abstraction.

Gauguin was the “Father of Symbolism and Fantasy Art” and influenced Matisse and the Fauvists down the road. He moved from Paris to more exotic areas such as Tahiti. He was very influenced by other countries and their traditional methods of painting. His work had a certain decorative quality to it, he flattened out shapes, and he painted what was in his head.

Cezanne abstracted his subject-matter but painted form real figures. He used sketches of his pieces and broke down the figures, giving them defined plains on their bodies, and simplifying them a bit. He is the Forefather of Cubism.

Toulouse Lautrec was very influenced by Japanese prints. He flattened out his subject matter and gave his works a very graphic feel. He painted the underbelly of French society (mainly brothels).

NABIS 1890
Led by Paul Serusier, the Nabis group of painters were dedicated to following the example of Paul Gaughin in his painting and color techniques. Their name derived from the Hebrew word navi, which means prophet. The group was comprised of Post-Impressionist artists who became interested in graphic art. The movement shared many of the ideas of the Art Nouveau style and Symbolism. Les Nabis began as a rebel group of young artists who met and formed at the Academie Julian in Paris. In addition to fine arts, members of the group also worked in printmaking, poster design, illustration, textiles, furniture, and set design. (Something not important. Just know how it influenced.)

Symbolism 1890
Symbolism is an art style developed in the late 19th century characterized by the incorporation of symbols and ideas, usually spiritual or mystical in nature, which represent the inner life of people. Traditional modeled, pictorial depictions are replaced or contrasted by flat mosiac-like surfaces decoratively embellished with figures and design elements.

Fantasy Art
Moreau came out of Gauguin and NABIS. His goal was to get back to content, content he felt had been lost over the years. His art had a fantastical feel to it, and was quite narrative.

Redon was budding against the expressionists and helped begin surrealism coming form fantasy and symbolism in art. He began his art career with charcoal and lithograph but moved on to pastel and oils which dominated his later works.

Sezession (Early Expressionism) 1890
Klimt, like Gauguin, flattened his figures and his paintings had a strong element of design and decoration to them. Klimt’s paintings were also extremely erotic, considered pornography at the time, and often got him into trouble with the law.

Schiele, along with Klimt was often arrested because his art was considered, at the time it was being made, to be pornography. He painted highly charged images and his main theme he addressed was the passions of our lives ex. Birth, life, sex, and death. Both artists’ works were kind of underground at the time because they were not widely accepted.

Early Expressionism 1890
Expressionism was a twentieth century movement in which artists tried to communicate their strong emotional feelings through art works. The artist tends to distort reality to achieve an emotional effect.

Picasso’s painting Tragedy is considered to be slightly romanticized but it also has a very real feel to it. He is not romanticizing any of the figures and is depicting real life. This was done during his “Blue Period”.

Munch also depicted real life in a very emotional way. For example, The Scream and Life’s Dance. All his work was extremely expressive and there is no debating what he was trying to emote through his pieces.

Fauvism 1905
Fauvism was an early-20th-century artistic movement led by Henri Matisse, from the French word fauve or “wild beast”. Characteristic elements include the use of vivid colors and distorted shapes to achieve extremes of emotionalism.

Derain and Matisse both had very expressive qualities to their work especially in the color they used. Matisse broke down his subject-matter in order to show color, and felt that when you started rendering, you lost the true essence and beauty of the color you were working with.

The Thames by Derain

Harmony in Red by Matisse

German Expressionism (Three Inter-movements)
The Bridge 1905
German Expressionism was influenced by the predominance of French painting. German artists had seen the paintings of the Impressionists and the beginnings of Fauvism in Paris. German expressionism in a simplified way can be seen as the German version of Fauvism. The name The Bridge was chosen to emphasis the link to other art movements like the European Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Tribal Art and contemporary art movements outside Germany. This movement was characterized by the flattening of color and space (like toe Fauves) and the style was slightly ‘primitive’. They assumed that life in a ‘primitive’ culture was simplistic, and tried to keep the mentality of keeping things simple when they were doing their work.

Nolde often had a religious undertone to his pieces. He kept the “primitive” feel to his art as well.

Kirchner used a colourful, decorative, and highly expressive style. He also uses clashing angular shapes in some of his paintings.

New Objectivity 1918
The New Objectivity was an art movement which arose in Germany during the 1920’s in opposition to expressionism. Although these artists all had highly individual styles, in different ways their work addressed and reflected the political and social unrest and disillusionment that prevailed in Germany following WWI. The photographer or artist remains an impartial observer, intensifying the appreciation of forms and structures in ordinary things but de-personalizing his/her approach. The subject-matter for the New Objectivity artists was everyday life in Germany. They were influenced by African art, used less color, and there work was more ‘primitive.’

Grosz was influenced by war and Picasso. He painted in a raw style and his style was a combination of The Bridge and Cubism.

Blue Rider 1911
Der Blaue Reiter (German for “The Blue Rider”) was an art movement started in Europe just after the turn of the century. The artists who took part were considered to be the pioneers of abstract art, and their work was characterized by exuberant color and profoundly felt emotionalism. Coming from a number of European countries, the painters, writers, poets, and composers who joined The Blue Rider dedicated themselves to the search for a common spiritual basis in a new international culture. Marc painted ‘Blue Horses.’ This sums up the Blue Rider movement because it shows how the subject of the painting was secondary to color.

Kandinsky was the first artist to try full out abstraction. He painted music and how it made him feel. He opened the door for Abstraction and foreshadows Abstract Expressionism.

Cubism 1907
Cubism was the most influential style of the twentieth century, developed in Paris by Picasso and Braque. Analytical Cubism is based on the simultaneous presentation of multiple views, disintegration, and the geometric reconstruction of objects in flattened, ambiguous pictorial so space; figure and ground merge into one interwoven surface of shifting planes. Color is limited to neutrals. Synthetic Cubism began to appear; it was characterized by fewer, more solid forms, conceptual rather than observed subject matter.

Picasso’s Les Demoiselles D’Avignon was a brutal painting depicting prostitutes in a very unflattering way. The painting shows multiple angles all at the same time, was greatly influenced by African tribal paintings and African masks. People hated this painting and even Picasso’s colleagues were shocked by it. He kept it a big secret while he was working on it because he knew it was not going to be well received by the public. “Picasso de-constructed the traditional ways of painting and looking at art, and then re-constructed a new reality.”

Braque was also an important part of the cubist movement and he and Picasso had their own kind of thing going.

Futurism 1909
Futurism dealt principally with movement, speed and machinery. This was one of several movements to grow out of Cubism. Futurists added implied motion to the shifting planes and multiple observation points of the Cubists; they celebrated natural as well as mechanical motion and speed. Their glorification of danger, war, and the machine age was in keeping with the martial spirit developing in Italy at the time. They also opposed traditionalism and sought to depict dynamic movement by eliminating conventional form and by addressing the speed, flux, and violence of the machine age. Artist depicted the hustle and bustle of society, but the whole theme of movement pretty much ended with Futurism. They depicted movements in sculpture as well as in painting. Photography also had an important role in this movement (shutter speed).

Leger The Mechanic with the use of primary colours including black and white. His earlier pieces also included very mechanical shapes such as tubes and blocks. He gradually worked towards more organic objects which assumed more irregular shapes.

Duchamp’s Nude Descending the Staircase the figure was in motion, rather than the artist moving around the model type of cubism. This was new and, at the time, exciting.

Umberto Boccioni sculpted the movement of someone walking. This was more about catching the essence of movement, and representing motion.

Balla experimented with representing motion. This painting shows that photography had an impact on the painting world (shutter speed).

Russian Constructionism 1213-1917
Destinl was interested in breaking down form, shape, line and color. There was a higher intellectual feel to his paintings, and he didn’t want subjects to intrude on the purity of painting.

Mondrian was breaking down his work to its purist form. He thought a balance in color would be the most satisfying experience people could get from looking at art. All the lines in his paintings could continue infinitely, and he did hundreds of his little blue, red, and yellow paintings.

Malevich combined the fragmentation of cubism and the manipulation of futurism. He however, was fired with the desire `to free art from the burden of the object’ and launched the Suprematist movement, which brought abstract art to a geometric simplicity more radical than anything previously seen.

Tatlin made designs for a building to be built for the Russian Government but since there was a huge shortage of metals at the time, it was never built. He made many miniatures of the building.

DADA 1916
An Early twentieth-century art movement that ridiculed contemporary culture and traditional art forms. It was born as a consequence of the collapse of social and moral values during WWI.

Marcel Duchamp was kind of the father of conceptual art and ready-mades. His work was anti-art after the war, and he was against western society because of the things they had done during the war. The DADA movement started with writing, then collage work, and then ready-mades (found art). This movement and Duchamp were both pivotal as far as conceptual art goes. Duchamp later dealt with machines in a pseudo-erotic way to comment on industrial society! He is also one of the most elitist conceptual artists. People loved to analyze the hell out of his work, when really his message was really straight forward.

Metaphysical Painting 1917
Metaphysical painting is an Italian art movement founded in by Carlo Carr and Giorgio de Chirico. They aimed to depict an alternative reality which engaged most immediately with the unconscious mind. In this style of painting, an illogical reality seemed credible. Using a sort of alternative logic, Carr and de Chirico juxtaposed various ordinary subjects, typically including starkly rendered buildings, trains, and mannequins.

Dechirico depicted in his paintings the feeling of something that has been taken away. He dealt with the space between our conscious and subconscious mind.

Surrealism 1924
Surrealism is a movement grew out of Dada and automatism. Based upon revealing the unconscious mind in dream images, the irrational, and the fantastic, Surrealism took two directions: representational and abstract. Dali’s and Magritte’s paintings, with their uses of impossible combinations of objects depicted in realistic detail, typify representational Surrealism. MirÙ ‘s paintings, with their use of abstract and fantastic shapes and vaguely defined creatures, are typical of abstract Surrealism.

There are two main kinds of surrealism: Biomorphic Surrealism where the work is completely irrational and there is no planning at all. The piece takes on a life of its own and the artist would try to attain a trance-like state while doing this kind of work. Basically the artist was just building one form from the previous form. (Miro did this kind of work)

Subconscious Surrealism is the kind of work that Dali did where the work was based on dreams and the subconscious mind.

Dali represented his dreams in a realistic and narrative way. Freud (the psychoanalyst not the artist) was important in this movement because of his theories on the subconscious.

Max Ernst was the “Father of Fantasy Art”. He was also very interested in Freud’s theories and into artists exploring their own minds.

Armory Exhibition NY 1913
Many works were brought over form Europe to NY and people were shocked. They thought that the artists couldn’t draw and it did not get good reviews at all. People generally didn’t understand works like Nude Descending the Staircase because in the states, the art world was behind by a few movements. Although much of the public didn’t like the show, many young artists were inspired and excided by what they saw.

The realistic artists known as the Ashcan rebelled against the idealism of the academic approach and chose to paint the life around them. Most of these artists had been cartoonists or illustrators. The Aschans chose the subject matter of city’s nightlife, cafés, streets, alleys and theatres. Their goal was to record all of the city’s color, excitement, and glamour. Artists such as Bellows was part of this movement.

Georgia O’Keeffe took off from the Armory show. She was just breaking down form.

American Regionalism
Regionalism is an art movement of the 1930s that focused on portraying aspects characteristic of American life. Midwestern painters are identified most closely with the trend, depicting scenes of rural America, often with a nostalgic tone, but some regionalists also focused on urban life.

Hopper and Cadmus painted his figures in a narrative style. Hopper was overshadowed by Pollock and focused more on “Realism”.

Early Abstraction
Many artists such as Duchamp and Mondrion moved to the States and were teachers and mentors for new and young artists.

Tobey is a good example of how artist were beginning to go more abstract.

Gorky did so as well.

Abstract Expressionism 1945
Abstract Expressionism originating in New York City emphasized form and color within a nonrepresentational framework. It emphasized spontaneous personal statement, freedom from accepted artistic values, surface qualities of paint, and the act of painting itself. Pollock, de Kooning, Motherwell, and Kline, are important abstract expressionists. Jackson Pollock initiated the revolutionary technique of splattering the paint directly on canvas to achieve the subconscious interpretation of the artist’s inner vision of reality.

Jackson Pollock’s paintings were “action paintings” and were meant to be a record of his “performance.” Therefore, the scale of the paintings went up so that he would be able to make huge sweeping gestures with his arm, or whatever. Some people like them.

William de Kooning wasn’t an action painter or a field painter, but his paintings were abstract and they were expressive. He painted almost grotesque, insulting, and ugly women which expressed that a woman is a great deal more than just a pretty face, but a complex human being with unique interests, skill, and responsibility.

Mark Rothko did field paintings that were very big. He dealt with colors to give an emotional impact and to make the viewer feel something. When people looked at his paintings, they felt an almost seperation from the colours which reminded them of sad times, deaths, etc. People CRIED in front of these paintings because it was such an emotional experience for them, looking at a color.

Readymades is taking something which is already made and putting it into an art gallery. Taking average items out of context and making it art. You saw it with Duchamp’s urinal. Assemblage is basically the same thing except less LAZY. It is collaging real objects onto a canvas or a piece of art. Rauschenberg did that thing with the tire and goat thing which wasn’t included in this.

Style of painting where the artist handles the materials in a rough/raw way, usually depicting violent emotion. It is a rejection of traditional standards of composition and design, lack of concern for idealizing or beautifying the figures.

This art movement includes Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Jenny Saville, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, and George Immendorff.

Jenny Saville

Lucien Freud

Anselm Kiefer

Neo Dada 1955/Pop Art 1960
It was an anti-intellectual art movement which involved lots of “appropriating” of other material, stealing from magazines or ads to put them in new contexts.. ie comicbooks. Early appropriating started with Andy Warhol’s slew of cosumer goods and his Brillo Boxes/Campbells soup. Alot of his art was very humorous to some.

Art Povera/Art Brut 1945
Dubuffet is considered the father of this movement in the 1940s
basically artists created mostly sculpture using ordinary materials they already had.

Canadian Contemporary Art
Joyce Weiland Passion over Reason 1968. Tim mentionned that she used traditional female craft material to get a bigger message across.

Performance and Installation Art
Joseph Beuys. He stayed in a room with a wolf and talked to a dead rabbit… this was pretty hard to miss. He saw himself a “healer and a teacher”. This was the type of art where the artist became part of the art, usually because of the very weird things he did.

(Tim has a really horrible, barely visible print of this. Beware)

Contemporary Sculpture
Ron Mueck and how he influenced sculpture by making realistic scluptures which are much larger than what we can refer to. For example, the 11 foot tall preteen girl or the 3 foot small “dead dad”.

Art in the 80
Eric Fischl painted “Bad Boy” and it is basically new image painting (a bit of leftover neo-expressionism) and it deals with erotic overtones, like the sezesion period.

Tim talks a bit about photography and land art. More likely than not, it won’t be on the exam. So don’t really worry about it. This is more for your own interest than anything.

Here are the art handouts from the students.
Abstract Expressionism
Land Art
Female Artists
Performance and Installation Art
Figurative Art

Original before update

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract expressionism © Resepective Authors 2005

Abstract Expressionism is a modern art movement that flowered in America after the Second World War and held sway until the dawn of Pop Art in the 1960’s. With this movement New York replaced Paris as the center of the art world. Abstract Expressionism has its roots in other earlier 20th century art movements such as Cubism and Surrealism that promoted abstraction rather than representation. The psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung provided the intellectual context in this quest for new subject matter. The A.E goal was a raw and impulsive art. What mattered were the qualities of the paint itself and the act of painting itself. The canvas was not a picture but an event.

Jackson Pollock

“Blue poles”, 1953

Father of abstract expressionism and action art. Enamel and aluminum paint on glass. The sporadic use of paint on his canvas was simply the essence of what this movement was all about. Pollock was an action painter. He was greatly influenced by Mexican muralist painters and surrealists. He made every stroke and splatter instinctively on his canvas to create a generally large display of emotion and passion. `On the floor I am more at ease, I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around in it, work from the four sides and be literally ‘in’ the painting.” This manner of Action painting had in common with Surrealist theories of automatism that it was supposed by artists and critics alike to result in a direct expression or revelation of the unconscious moods of the artist.
— Jackson Pollock, 1947

Tobey Mark

“Broadway” 1936

Strong use of horizontals and verticals, plain colours, rough edgy contour, intricate detailed center eye is drawn to the middle with the use of white in contrast with the background.
Subject: a cityscape of New York City through the eyes of a creative abstract delusionist
Dec, 1943,
Won 6th prize in the Artists for Victory exhibition, which made the painting a part of the Metropolitan’s permanent collection. Maria Willis, publisist, was responsible for naming almost all of his paintings.

Gorky Arshile

“The Liver is the Cocks Comb” 1944

Oil on canvas
73 1/4 x 98 in. (186 x 249 cm)

Subject matter in his work is usually decipherable, being that unlike most other abstract masterworks, Arshile was capable of creating a whole new style within a style. The use of bright colourful tones and contour lines gives the image almost a graphic look to it.
This painting is considered Arshile Gorky-‘s masterwork and is an example of his mature style. Gorky began to paint in this way after being exposed to a group of artists from Europe known as the Surrealists. The Surrealists were interested in exploring dreams and the unconscious in their art. Gorky combined their ideas with his love of the landscape. In this painting we see the fluid, abstract forms inspired by nature that he used to suggest growth, movement, energy, and the entire cycle of life. Although he died young, Gorky’s art inspired many younger artists associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement.


“Woman and bicycle” 1952-1953

Dekooning, one of the later secondary artists in abstract expressionism, had a very raw look to the material he created. Scary faces of the women subjects he used in his paintings…a series of the woman on the bicycle, and other Parisian women were created as almost a surreal perspective of humanistic features. He was a painter dealing with emotions and colour, and vibrant strokes with his paintbrush. He was definitely a defining artist in the movement, due to a rounded style of subject matter being figurative and vet conveying the message across that abstract art could be just as effective next to any other technique of painting. It was the beginning of reaction art.

Female Artists

Female Artists © Resepective Authors 2005

The art world had been dominated by men. Women began demanding greater representation of their art. Women wanted to bring about social and political change through their art. As a result the feminist art movement began to form in the early 1970’s and had enormous effects on the art world. Female artists began to move beyond gender stereotypes and create art based on the female experience. They attempted to make a place within the artistic tradition for images that embody the strength and power of the female

Judy Chicago
The Dinner Party

This piece was one of the leading icons of the feminist movement because it symbolically represents the important function of women in history and also at the time reclaimed female genitalia from degradation. There are 39 china painted porcelain plates, each shaped like an intricate vulva and each representing an important but understated woman in history.

Alice Neel
Margaret Evans Pregnant

Neel was primarily a portrait artist. Neel’s portraits are never flattering and depict vulnerabilities. She was never subtle with her brushstrokes and painted what she saw within people rather than just their physical appearance. Neel depicted the pregnant woman as alert and aware. It is meant to shock rather than provoke sympathetic emotion. You can similarities to Velasquez, Goya and Van Gogh in her painting style.

Barbara Kruger
Remote control, Untitled, Untitled.

Kruger was born in 1945 and therefore grew up in a world of post war consumerism. She ended up doing photography and graphic work with magazines, which led her to her art career. Most of her work looks as if it could be an ad for a magazine. She is known for her use of black and white photography layered with text and slashes of red.

Louise Bourgeois
Works unknown

Born in 1911 in Paris, she was married in the 1930’s to an art historian and moved to America. She started her art career as a painter but began sculpting in the 1940’s. Her sculptures are abstract yet figurative, and often leave the viewer uneasy. Some theorize that she gets her inspiration for art from her traumatizing childhood.

Jenny Saville

In the majority of Saville’s paintings we see obese and often extremely foreshortened nude women. Saville consciously remains within the realm of realism, because she wants viewers to know what it is that they are looking at. She names Willem de Kooning as her main influence. Saville’s work speaks to issues surrounding body image and obesity within the western world. Her work is also a critique of the more traditional female nude that has been present throughout the history of art. By painting ugly, fat, bulging and distorted female nudes, Saville challenges this stereotype. In no way is the viewer permitted to objectify or take pleasure in the figure that is being presented.

Susan Rothenberg
Works unknown

In addition to being a woman painter, Rothenberg was also struggling to introduce representational images during a time when the minimalist movement was overwhelming the art world with its strict focus on the formal elements of art. Rothenberg’s work explored the differences and similarities between figurative and abstract art. She was also interested in the relationship between the image and the background of a painting. Rothenberg frequently depicted the outline of a horse in her paintings. At times she painted the whole animal, and at other times it was fragmented.

Land Art

Land Art © Respective Authors 2005

Land art is a school of arts that evolved in the late 1960’s. It is the artist’s work within and with a landscape. Often displayed in wide and remote areas, like deserts, the pieces interfere with nature by markings, structures and holes of different kinds. The development of Land Art was related to other arts like Minimal Art, Concept Art and Process Art. Land Art arose at the same time as the ecological movement.
In Europe the interference with nature has a different origin and different possibilities than in America. These differences reveal in a smaller scale and in a much smoother treatment of landscape and nature.
Artists working during the Sixties saw their earthwork schemes as reactions to traditional gallery art and the material gain represented by large institutions. Inspired as they were by primitive structures, the movement can be seen in line with hippie culture in the move away from developing technology to embrace the beauty of nature.

Land Art is commonly interpreted as a primal symbol of life and death and understood to represent the ultimate revolt against the stifling confines of the gallery and the crude commercialization of the art world.


Background Info
• Often worked with his wife, Jeanne-Claude (French-born)
• Worked all over the world using the environment in which he placed his work as part of his art (wind, water, hills, buildings, people, etc)
• Best known for wrapping and covering things: parks, shorelines, large buildings, bridges, statues, trees, etc
• Made money for his massive works by selling his preparatory drawings to collectors and dealers
• The art he did made the viewer look at things in a new way
• E.g. draping floors — setting up for a new exibit, or art?
• E.g. wrapping packages at a dockside — really goods to be shipped or art?

“Surrounded Islands”
• Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-1983
• 6.5 million sq. ft (600 000 sq. meters) of floating fabric around 11 islands
• the pink colour over the green island and blue-green water underlined and emphasized the culture there, the art-deco hotels and flowers and clothing and people
• One of the main issues for artists in the late 20`h century was communicating an artistic idea to the masses, which he did

“Valley Curtain”
• Grand Hogback, Rifle, Colorado, 1970-1972
• 142 000 sq. ft (13 190 sq. meters) of orange nylon fabric and 110 000 lbs. (49 500 kg) of steel cables.

“Running fence”
• Sonoma and Martin Counties. California. 1972-1976
• 2.3 million sq. ft (216 000 sq. meters) of white nylon fabric, steel poles and steel cables 18ft(5.5m)high. 24.5miles (39.4km) long
• Went through ranches and roads (intersected fourteen roads and US highway 101) and over hills and into the pacific ocean
• The courts didn’t want all that material going into the ocean, and the artists were sued, so they went into hiding so that an injunction could not be served, so the judge figured it would be pointless to not let them have it up for 2 weeks, and let them do it.

N.B. for both running fence and valley curtain, the fabric and the cables were only part of the art itself; he used the natural hills and water and wind as important elements of these works

Robert Smithson

“Spiral Jetty”
Robert Smithson remains one of the most influential and an original artist whose voice has had a major impact on artists of his generation, and continues to do so today. He was one of the founders of the art form known as earthworks or land art, and is most well known f or the Spiral Jetty, 1970, located in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. He utilized non-traditional art materials such as language, mirrors, maps, dump trucks, abandoned quarries, hotels, contractors, and earth to produce his radical sculptures, photographs, films, and earthworks.
• How it was made: The jetty, which was made from earth, rocks, and salt crystals from the site of the sculpture, extends off the shore into the Great Salt Lake. From the air, it looks like a large whirlpool.

“Broken Circle”
• The broken circle is from and ancient symbol which means destruction. Smithson said that the rock in the centre was like the heart of darkness.
• How it was made: sand in a quarry.
• The work was only supposed to be up for a few months but the people of Emmen voted to preserve it as a park. That was something that Smithson had always hoped.

Mary Miss

• Studied architecture

“Blind Set”
• Three huge concrete rings which get smaller and deeper going from the outer to the inner circle set into the ground. Two troughs with v-shaped bottoms cross over the rings, and let the viewer see a snippet of the horizon from inside the dish.
• Forces the viewer to see things from different perspectives (lowest: only sky, middle: sky and bits of the horizon. top-most: the whole landscape.)

Michael Heizer

“Double Negative”
Heizer: Michael Heizer was born to a family of geologists and archeologists leading him to a fascination with mysterious sites marked by evidence of ancient technology such as t he shifting of huge stones. In awe of these primitive efforts, Heizer was inspired to make his own markings on the earth.

• Double Negative was completed in 1971 in Nevada. Double Negative involved the removal of 240,000 tons of stone making two slices 30 feet wide by 50 feet deep on opposing sides of an existing canyon. The two slices in the canyon walls were aligned to imply a line between them. The form was minimal; in fact, it was about removal rather than making something.

Performance Art and Installation

Performance Art and Installation © Respective Authors 2005

Performance art is a way to fully explore the space and kinetic energy of visual art. While it blurs many distinctions, it differs from the Performing Arts (dance, theatre…etc) in that it is an extension of visual arts, and represents the kinetic energy of a visually-presented piece. Its conceptual art brought into the familiar four dimensions: using motion of the human body in a specific context, provided by a particular place and time. Thus, performance art has four elements: time, space, the corporal presence of the artist, and the artist-viewer relationship.

Movement and action has always been a way of furthering the scope of other art movements (most notably Dada, Futurism, and Surrealism) but it became recognized as a medium in and of itself in the 60s, when the term ‘happenings’ was coined by Allan Kaprow. It encompasses body art, Fluxus, action poetry, intermedia, live art, action art, intervention, maneuver and other visual mediums using human motion as a medium. It arose from the experimental performances of Dada, the early days of Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, and the formalization of the creative process in all art.

Some notable artists include: Jospeh Beuys, Robert Rauschenberg, Gina Pane, Allan Kaprow, Vito Acconci, Hermann Nitsch.
Slide List

Jospeh Beuys


Beuys wrapped himself in felt and lived for five days in a room with a coyote. Showing harsh relationship between nature and humanity, a return to survival instinct in the oppression of violent culture.

How To Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare

With his face plastered with honey and gold leaf, Beuys wandered a gallery carrying a dead hare, explaining to it the pictures in the gallery. This was a comment on the division between human and animal consciousnesses.

Gina Pane

Psyche 1974

The ritual infliction of pain was a strong theme in Pane’s work. This performance piece involved her making cuts on her back, stomach and face. Such dangerous measures she considered necessary to break through to a numbed society.

Robert Rauschenberg
Pelican 1963

This piece was his first performance piece. He and one other wearing roller-skates moved through space, impeded by parachutes on their backpacks, while a third person glided around them on points. He sought to represent pure movement through space, and to merge animate and inanimate objects into unemotional beings in motion.


Figurative Art

Figurative Art © Respective Authors 2005

Figurative art is art which is defined by an object, such as the human figure which is predominant, but can also be other objects and does not always have to be representational. Figurative art is also known as a “genre” and not a movement because it can be found in every movement since the beginning of art itself. Most figurative artists choose the human form because it provides a deeper insight into the piece than an abstraction could. The use of a human figure in a piece makes it easier to enforce a meaning and to make a statement because it has a greater impact and is easy for the audiences to relate.

Lucien Freud

Lucien Freud has developed a way of painting the figure that embodies modern beauty in a particularly contemporary way. He is known for his meticulously painted close-ups of portraits and nudes. The subjectivity and intensity of his work set him apart from the sober tradition characteristic of most British figurative art.

Jenny Saville

Closed Contact

Jenny Saville has `one against society’s obsession with physical appearance and has painted obese “ugly” women. Some of her paintings have women with deformalities, forced or natural as which can be seen in the closed contact series where the bodies were deformed using glass.

Mark Tansey

Action Painting II

Mark Tansey was exposed to many pictures of art from his art historian parents. His illustrative images are accompanied by allegories of his own devising about the meaning of art and the mystery of the human impulse to make images. The single hue of his paintings acts as a reminder of the essential falsehood of all painting, and as a means to focus on the ideas presented. Tansey’s subjects are notable, sometimes surreal scenes in which intellectual theories about art are dramatized, often complete with portraits of characters drawn from art history. Usually his art mocks previous eras of artists. He had a sense of humour which he subtly included in alot of his art. For example in this painting, such an amazing event of a spaceshuttle lifting off and the artists are so into their own paintings.

David Hockney

Hockney’s photography- photocollaging, which was later called ‘joiners’, had a great affinity with cubism, in that Hockney would take pictures from different angles, also while the figure was in motion or had changed positions. This would also show change in the perspective. In later works Hockney would move the camera around the subject instead. The major aim was to discuss the way human vision works.

De Kooning

Woman 1

De Kooning style was a combination of figurative and geometric art. His styles progressed simultaneously as he would first follow a geometric and abstract path, and then on to portrait painting. Through the development of the different paths, De Kooning’s style was being flushed out.