Home Open Arts Object: Critical Term Modernism I: What is Modernism?

Open Arts Object: Critical Term Modernism I: What is Modernism?

In this short film, Warren Carter and Paul Wood discuss the complex and shifting status of the term modernism from the nineteenth century through to the present. They look at how the meaning of the term was codified retrospectively in the mid-twentieth century in the United States so that the art of Jackson Pollock was traced back to developments in French art almost a century beforehand. The fluidity of the term is made clear in relation to the self-declared Realism of artists such as Gustave Courbet and the purported Impressionist Edouard Manet, and the art of both are understood not so much as styles but more as a response to the shifts of modernity itself in the nineteenth century. Finally, by focusing on Paul Cézanne, Wood demonstrates how the modernism of the work migrates from the subject of the painting into the very painting itself.

Artists discussed include: Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courbet, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and Georges Seurat.