Key Concepts 1

We were looking at ways in which artists have chosen to respond to modernism, since the birth of French democracy (1780-90).

In the mid 19th centenary in Paris there was a mass rebuild, in response to productivity. The factories along with the working class people moved to the edges of the city. Large boulevards were built and the look of Paris was changed.

The French poet Charles Baudelaire, wrote about the changing nature of beauty in modern industrializing Paris, in his work Les Fleurs du mal (The flowers of Evil). He is also credited with coining the term ‘modernity’, the quality or condition of being modern.

Modernism was fundamentally a response to the wide-scale changing western-world in the 18th and 19th centuries. Different views were taken in response to modernity.

Kirchner ‘Bathers’ (1909) imagined a primitive world retreating back to nature.

Bathers at Moritzburg 1909/26 by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1880-1938

Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ (1917) challenged what art actually was/is. Is it the gallery space that makes an artwork and artwork?


Barbara Kruger ‘From Harper’s Bazaar’ (1994), took a more political view, challenging our behaviour.


Levine’s ‘After Egon Schiele’ (1982) confronts issues of authorship, repetition and authenticity.


These are just some examples of the plethora of possibilities and routs art can take in response to an event. My take away is that there is no way we can feel limited in regards to art.


Author: Crisiant Williams

I am a Fine Art student, studying at Cardiff School of Art and Design.

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