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Art History 1 Essay

646 words - 3 pages

1. Discuss the development and characteristics of Abstract Expressionism; be sure to include Gorky, Pollock, and de Kooning in your discussion, using examples of their work as discussed in the text.

The characteristics of Abstract Expressionism are paintings that have an image of being rebellious, anarchic, highly idiosyncratic and, some feel, rather nihilistic. They are usually on large canvases and use the whole canvas as a vocal point verses just the center. The term Abstract Expressionism was first used 1929 in the US by Alfred Barr Jr., to refer to Kandinsky’s work. Later on in the 1950’s it was used to categorize the work of New York school of painters. A lot of Abstract expressionists had gone through a surrealist phase. This had an effect on the Abstract expressionists unconsciously. One artist who made the transition from surrealism to Abstract Expressionism was Arshile Gorky (1904-48). In 1943 he painted Garden in Sochi. ...view middle of the document...

In 1947 Pollock started using a drip technique to create his most renowned paintings. The technique required to engage his whole body while working on paintings. In 1954, Pollock painted White Light which abolishes all indication to distinguish objects. Another “action” painter is Willem de Kooning (1904-97). Kooning paintings subject matter was only partially recognizable from his iconography until later on in his career. In Woman and Bicycle, Kooning combines the frontal image of a huge, terrifying lady with aggressive brushstrokes slashing through the figure’s outline. Another form of Abstract Expressionism is Color field painting. Color field painters paint in a more traditional way than action painters. They paint on a flat lane that is capable of inducing images of a meditative response.

2. Discuss the development and characteristics of Pop Art; include Hamilton, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Warhol in your discussion.

The characteristics of Pop Art are themes and techniques drawn from pop culture, such as advertising, comic books and Television shows. Richard Hamilton’s small collage called “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” could be considered as the example of what Pop Art would look like later on. The collage was first exhibited in a London show in 1956 called “This is Tomorrow” and inspired a English critic to coin the term “Pop”. Pop Art was in full development in New York by the 1960s. One artist that was part of this movement was Jasper Johns (born 1930). In 1958 Johns painted Three Flags. The painting depicts a popular image, the American Flag, which is also a national emblem. Another artist in the Pop Art Movement is Robert Rauschenberg (born 1925). In 1964 Rauschenberg created Retroactive I. Retroactive I is a silk screen print that is a collection of cut outs that looks like a collage. Andy Warhol (1928-87) was a very talented Pop Artist. In 1964 Warhol created Elvis I and Elvis II. Elvis I and Elvis II is a painting that depicts Elvis in one pose four times in two different colors, blue and green. Sculptures were also a vital part of Pop Art. Sculptor George Segal (1924-2000) made sculptures that were “figurative”.

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