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*The 1920s: A Celebration of Modernism

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*NOTE: This was a slideshow with audio. For the full version, see it now on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_gOezyDhGg.

For my US History class, a brief discussion of modernist art in the early years. CC Lisa M Lane Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2012.

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*The 1920s: A Celebration of Modernism

  1. 1. The 1920sA Celebration of Modernism A slideshow by Lisa M Lane Music by Igor Stravinsky
  2. 2. Armory ShowPoster (1913)Modernism is aconsciousrejection of thepast. Mosthistorians tracethe beginnings ofmodernism in artto the ArmoryShow exhibit of1913.
  3. 3. Marcel Duchamp, NudeDescending a Staircase(1912)The centerpiece of theArmory Show wasMarcel Duchamps"Nude Descending aStaircase". This Frenchwork caused acommotion, for it didntlook like the art to whichmost people wereaccustomed.
  4. 4. Charles Sheeler, Landscape (1913)American artist Charles Sheeler displayed his"Landscape". The geometric shapes were an indicator ofa new modern aesthetic.
  5. 5. Constantin Brancusi, Bird inSpace (1923)During the 1920s, modernismcame into its own. But many wereunprepared. This is Brancusis"Bird in Space". It was shippedfrom Europe for an exhibition in1927. Although art works hadbeen exempt from customs taxessince 1913, a customs officertaxed this piece because he didnot consider it to be art. Theresulting court case lateroverturned his decision.
  6. 6. Louis Losowick,Chicago (1923)American modern artshowed appreciationfor the machine age.Artists used bold color,geometric shapes, andspatial organization toconvey a feeling ofimmediacy. Flattenedperspective seemed tomake anannouncement ofform, rather thandrawing the viewer into the picture.
  7. 7. Thomas HartBenton,My Egypt (1927)This painting ofgrain silos is called"My Egypt". Thetitle suggests ananalogy betweenthe pyramids andthese silos, imagesof modernagriculture andtechnology.
  8. 8. Stuart Davis, EdisonMazda (1924)Stuart Davis had beenan artist during theteens, when he haddesigned covers formagazines like "TheMasses", and exhibitedat the Armory Show.During the 20s, he usedordinary objects to showmodern style.
  9. 9. Stuart Davis,Percolator (1927)This is Davis"Percolator" of 1927.Notice how the designis becoming moreabstract. This is areflection of cubism, anartistic movement thatbegan in Europe.Cubist painterssometimes portrayedtheir subject frommultiple anglessimultaneously, orvisually took theirsubject apart.
  10. 10. Gerald Murphy,Cocktail (1927)Spanish artistPablo Picasso,one of theoriginators ofcubism, said thatthe work of painterGerald Murphyhad a particularlyAmerican style.Murphy, likePicasso, studiedpainting in Parisduring the 1920s.
  11. 11. Charles Demuth,The Figure 5 in Gold(1928)In 1928, CharlesDemuth wentbeyond cubism in hisexpression of thenumber 5.
  12. 12. Edward Hopper, The Lighthouse at Two Lights (1925)Edward Hopper was the most famous among Americanpainters. His painting of an ordinary lighthouse seems to elevateit to monumental status. It reminds me of the palaces of theshoguns in Japan.
  13. 13. Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin (Spring Green, Wisc, begun 1925)Architecture also reflected modernism. Frank Lloyd Wrightdesigned houses which fit in with their natural surroundings, butclearly demonstrated modern style, with clean lines and plainmaterials.
  14. 14. Frank Lloyd Wright, Graycliff (1927)Frank Lloyd Wrights "Graycliff" in New York was situatedon a cliff overlooking Lake Erie. Again, here are modernlines in natural surroundings.
  15. 15. Frank Lloyd Wright, Freeman House (Hollywood Hills 1923)Southern California in particular seemed suitable for the cleanlines of modernism.
  16. 16. Robert Schindler,Schindler House(WestHollywood, 1922)The interiors ofmodern homesoften reflected theinfluences ofJapanese orScandinaviandesign, workedinto an Americanaesthetic.
  17. 17. Charles Sheeler,Cross-cross conveyer,River Rouge Plant,Ford Motor Company(1927)Photography was an artform made possible bymodern equipment andchemicals. It became anart form in the 20s, andsometimes anexpression of industrialideals. This celebrationof industry wascommissioned by theFord Motor Company.
  18. 18. Elsie Driggs,Pittsburgh (1927)The new dependence onmachinery promised greatbenefits to Americansociety. Modern artportrayed all that themodern era had to offer:efficiency, prosperity, andprogress. It also hinted atthe costs of suchadvancements. The newstyle was representative ofa changing nation,and thebeginning of the modernage.