Art and Modernity
Full course description
This course studies the different ways in which artists and authors have responded to and participated in the rise of modern mass society, beginning with late 19th century Impressionism and ending with the Situationniste Internationale, with a focus on the various avant-garde movements of the first half of the twentieth century. The rise of modern mass society was a multifaceted phenomenon comprising societal transformations such as urbanization, imperial and colonial expansion and the political mobilization of the masses in epoch-making events such as the Russian Revolution and the two World Wars. The course studies how artists understood these events as preludes to a new society and a new humankind and how they attributed a leading role to themselves in bringing this utopian world about. Art and Modernity also explains why artists have eventually given up on these all-inclusive utopian blueprints for the world to come.