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25 April 2019An Introduction to 20th Century Art
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An Introduction to 20th Century Art Linda Smith Thursday 25 April 2019

Linda holds two first-class degrees in Art History. She is an experienced guide and lecturer at Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. She lectures to secondary school audiences and independent arts societies.

This study day aims to explain the often bewildering and controversial world of modern and contemporary art. It covers all the key developments in painting and sculpture during the twentieth century, and examines how they relate to the major social changes and historical events of their times. The baffling list of ‘isms’ is explained, and the huge post-war expansion away from traditional painting and sculpture into areas like Land Art and Performance art is also examined.

Session One: 1900-1930: The day starts by covering all the key early developments in painting and sculpture including Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism, Neue Sachlichkeit, Dada, Primitivism, and ‘Call to Order’ Classicism. Links between painting and sculpture are explored, and how it all relates to major social change and historical events of the period. It is chiefly concerned with art in Europe and Britain.

Session Two: 1930-1960: This session starts with Surrealism, and the tensions created between it and different kinds of abstraction. It then moves on to look at art produced by the totalitarian regimes of the thirties and how that affected ideas about art after the war. The focus then shifts from Europe to the United States to look at Abstract Expressionism, Pop and Minimalism. British art, which was particularly strong in figurative painting in the post-war period, is also covered.

Session Three – art since the 60s: This section explains the likes of Land Art, Body Art, Performance Art, and how they relate to the counter-cultures of the 60s and 70s, and demonstrates how those artists were reviving techniques used by the early avant-gardes before the First World War. It also looks at the impact of feminism, the rise of film and video techniques, neo- expressionist painting of the 1980s, the Turner Prize and Young British Artists of the 1990s. 

Please note the change of date since the membership cards were issued. This study day has been rearranged for 2019 following its cancellation due to snow in March 2018. It will be held in Kennaway House and the booking form can be found on the Docs/Forms page of this site.