Project #158077 - Intro to Modernism Paper

Art Tutors

Subject Art
Due By (Pacific Time) 12/09/2016 12:00 am


Choose one of the following topics. Please submit your paper online in .doc or .pdf format using the Turnitin system. You do not need to submit a hard copy. When you log onto the Course Website, “Paper #2” should be visible as an assignment in the course module in which it is due (the week of December 10 – 16). If you are having any trouble submitting your paper, please contact Please pay close attention to ALL of the following instructions:


Your essays will be graded on the basis of a number of factors, including: the presence of a clear thesis; use of visual and textual evidence to back up your thesis; integration of your analysis of works of art with the texts; command of material and concepts discussed in seminar; adherence to instructions in this essay prompt (for example, proper use of citations; proper page count).


Papers should be 5 to 8 pages long (not including illustrations and bibliography) and must use double-spaced 12-point font. Papers must discuss at least two texts that have been assigned as readings in class. Further research is not required. However you are welcome draw on other texts of your choice, provided that they are published books or periodicals (do not rely on Wikipedia, for example). A selection of books has been placed on reserve at the Art Center Library to help you get started.


Illustrations should be included as a separate section at the end of your paper, not inserted within the main text. The illustration section does not contribute to the page count. In your captions, please include the name of the artist, the title of the work, and the work’s date of creation.


You must properly cite your sources. For course readings, you only need to provide author name, title of the text, and page number(s) if applicable. You must include citations for quotations and paraphrases, factual claims that are not self-evident, or any reference to an argument that another author has made. Citations may take the form of footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical in-text citations with a bibliography at the end of the paper. (Bibliographies are not required if you include full citations in your footnotes or endnotes. Bibliographies also do not contribute to the page count.) The exact format of citations is not important, but you MUST provide the following information: author, book/article title, place of publication (for books only), publisher (for books only), date, and page number(s). Whenever possible, try to rely on printed sources rather than information from the Internet. Here are a few examples of citations that you can use as a guide:


For a single-author book: Michael Ann Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1984, p. 97.


For an essay in an edited book: Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood,” in Gregory Battcock, ed., Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1968, pp. 116-147.


For an article in an academic journal or other periodical: Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, “From Faktura to Factography,” October, Vol. 30 (Autumn, 1984), pp. 82-119.



What was the role of women in modernist art? Compare and contrast at least TWO works of art in any medium dating from between 1860 and 1960. Your examples may be works by female artists (with any subject matter) and/or works by male artists depicting female figures (or that otherwise address questions of gender). Is there something distinctive about the work of female artists in modernism, or did they simply take part in modernist movements as equal participants? Do your chosen works of art perpetuate sexist attitudes, or do they break with stereotypical gender roles?





Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many modernists sought to break down the division between “fine arts” (such as painting and sculpture), on the one hand, and crafts, design, and architecture, on the other. Discuss at least TWO works of modernist design, architecture, and/or “craft” media such as textiles or ceramics. Your examples should date from between 1880 and 1960. Try to say why your chosen works are modernist, in the terms we have developed together in class. If appropriate, you may compare your chosen pieces to works in other media such as painting. Movements you may wish to consider include Russian Constructivism, the Bauhaus, and De Stijl, although you are not limited to these.





Choose TWO works from the following list of paintings currently on display at the Norton Simon Museum and/or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Both of your works may come from the same museum; in fact, both may be by the same artist, if you like.) Compare and contrast the role of abstraction in your chosen works. Try to address at least some of the following questions in your essay (you do not have answer all of them):

Which of your works is more abstract (in the sense of lacking recognizable subject matter)? Do either of your works contain representational elements? If so, what effect do these elements have on your interpretation of the work(s) as a whole?

What is the role of the medium (oil paint, stone, etc.) in your chosen works? Do your works draw attention to the physical substance of the medium, or is this aspect subordinated to the overall visual effect?

Does there seem to be a rule or pattern that governs the composition of your works, or are the forms distributed more or less at random? What techniques do you think your chosen artist(s) used to compose these pictures?

How would you characterize the marks or forms in your works (brushstrokes, lines, etc.)? Are they smooth or discontinuous? Organic or geometric? Spontaneous and/or “expressionistic,” or carefully planned?


Norton Simon Museum:

Sam Francis, Basel Mural 1, 1956-58

Vasily Kandinsky, Heavy Circles, 1927

Vasily Kandinsky, Unequal, 1932

Paul Klee, Possibilities at Sea, 1932

Agnes Martin, Leaf in the Wind, 1963



Jay DeFeo, The Jewel, 1959

Paul Klee, Diagonal Media, 1922

Paul Klee, Motion of a Landscape, 1914

Lee Krasner, Desert Moon, 1955

Frantisek Kupka, Irregular Forms: Creation, 1911

Fernand Léger, Composition, 1925

Fernand Léger, The Disks, 1918-19

El Lissitzky, Proun 3A, circa 1920

Joan Miró, Animated Forms, 1935

Liubov Popova, Architectonic Painting, 1917

Aleksander Rodchenko, Untitled, circa 1920

Kurt Schwitters, Construction for Noble Ladies, 1919


(All works in the Norton Simon Museum are in the 20th Century galleries. All works in LACMA are on Floor 2 of the Ahmanson Building.)


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