ART101 Art History and Appreciation
Module 4 Case
20th Century Modern Art
Image of Pollock’s One: Number 31:
Image of Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans:
Moving toward the present day in our Art History timeline, the ability to ‘name’ the art period becomes more difficult; however, art historians have come to settle on the term Modernism. Not only is the period difficult to categorize, the artworks from roughly 1907-present day are so wide ranging, it is impossible to pinpoint how different art genres exactly relate to one another. Yet, they are connected by the social conditions in which they exist and are responses to those conditions—though they respond in very different ways. In postwar America (WWII), New York City becomes the art capital of the world and two artistic genres emerged: first Abstract Expressionism and second Pop Art. Both art genres were grappling with the question of ‘what is art’ and how to represent a world shaped by global capitalism, consumer culture, and mass media. In this Case Assignment, you will be comparing Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock’s One: Number 31 with Pop Artist Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. Pollock can be read as championing ‘the role of the artist’ as his art seems a pure abstraction of his body movements and his handling of the paintbrush; whereas Warhol seems to not have any real connection to the making of his art, as he upholds the everyday, mass-produced object as subject matter for high art. Use the required course materials to help you discuss, briefly, (1) the history of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art and these two artists in particular, (2) the ways these artists represent the tension between individualism and mass production (a tension that defines American capitalist society), and (3) how the artworks approach questions as to the role of the artist and the role of art in society.
It is important to note that this assignment is your last encounter in thinking and writing about Art History and Art Criticism, so this is your chance to let your visual literacy shine; you will need it in order to analyze pure abstraction. The required course materials under “How To Write About Art: Art Criticism and Formal Analysis” will continue to be an essential reference here.
Here are five keys to writing a great Case Assignment! For each Case in this course, please:
1. Make sure you fully address the case assignment prompt- don’t just describe the painting and don’t forget to ‘really look’ at the painting. Be sure to respond to the expectations stated under “Learning Outcomes” in the Syllabus.
2. Apply ideas from the background readings to your analysis and discussion of the case assignment prompt.
3. Write, at minimum, three to four pages, not including images or references.
4. Include a separate cover page that includes your name, the course name, the module, and assignment name.
5. Set your format to 1″ margins on all four sides, 12-point font, double-spaced.
Include a separate cover AND reference page at the end that includes every website and article on which you base your information and analysis. In the reference list, please note that a URL with no additional information is not a complete reference. Over time, link root will make any URL useless. Each reference should contain all the information a reader would need to find the source.
In this Case Assignment, you will:
Give an explanation of the values—influences, themes, techniques, subjects—characteristic of the period or style under study.
Give some information about how the social, political, or religious history of the period influenced its art and artists.
Provide biographical information about the artist whose work is assigned or (in SLP assignments) chosen for reflection.