Exercise 2.1 – Barr’s chart after 1935


Text snippet taken from Understanding Visual Culture

Exercise 2.1
Make your own copy of Barr’s chart and extend it up to the year 2000 by including
movements such as Pop Art. In a separate column list major events in politics and culture
that you think have had some bearing on the kind of art practiced at the time.

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I have to say I have had some motivational issues with this exercise due to the fact that I am not a big fan of politics nor was I very attentive at school when it came to learning historical events 🙂

Due to some of my internal aversions that I am still struggling to overcome – I am not happy with the outcome and the result of the work I put into this part. Nevertheless, here it as – and I will let myself sleep over, think and digest my blocking points during the next weeks.

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Art movement Details of the movement and context
Harlem renaissance 1920 – 1930s, United States https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance grew out of the changes that had taken place in the African-American community since the abolition of slavery, as the expansion of communities in the North. These accelerated as a consequence of World War I and the great social and cultural changes in early 20th-century United States. Industrialization was attracting people to cities from rural areas and gave rise to a new mass culture. Contributing factors leading to the Harlem Renaissance were the Great Migration of African-Americans to northern cities, which concentrated ambitious people in places where they could encourage each other, and the First World War, which had created new industrial work opportunities for tens of thousands of people. Factors leading to the decline of this era include the Great Depression.

American scene painting c. 1920 – 1945, United States https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_scene_painting

Partly due to the Great Depression, Regionalism became one of the dominant art movements in America in the 1930s, the other being Social Realism. At the time, the United States was still a heavily agricultural nation, with a much smaller portion of its population living in industrial cities such as New York City or Chicago.

New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) 1920s, Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Objectivity

The Nazi authorities condemned much of the work of the New Objectivity as “degenerate art”, so that works were seized and destroyed and many artists were forbidden to exhibit. A few, including Karl Hubbuch, Adolf Uzarski, and Otto Nagel, were among the artists entirely forbidden to paint.

Social realism, 1929, international https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_realism

Many artists who subscribed to social realism were painters with socialist (but not necessarily Marxist) political views.

Socialist realism – c. 1920 – 1960, began in Soviet Union https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_realism

Socialist realism is characterized by the glorified depiction of communist values, such as the emancipation of the proletariat, by means of realistic imagery

Abstract Expressionism – 1940s, Post WWII, United States https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_Expressionism

The political climate after World War II did not long tolerate the social protests of these painters. Abstract expressionism arose during World War II and began to be showcased during the early forties at galleries in New York such as The Art of This Century Gallery. The McCarthy era after World War II was a time of artistic censorship in the United States, but if the subject matter were totally abstract then it would be seen as apolitical, and therefore safe. Or if the art was political, the message was largely for the insiders.

Action painting United States https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_painting

A product of the post-World War II artistic resurgence of expressionism in America and more specifically New York City, action painting developed in an era where quantum mechanics and psychoanalysis were beginning to flourish and were changing people’s perception of the physical and psychological world; and civilization’s understanding of the world through heightened self-consciousness and awareness.

Lyrical Abstraction https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyrical_Abstraction

Just after World War II, many artists old and young were back in Paris where they worked and exhibited

COBRA (avant-garde movement) 1946 – 1952, Denmark/Belgium/The Netherlands https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COBRA_(avant-garde_movement)

During the time of occupation of World War II, the Netherlands had been disconnected from the art world beyond its borders. COBRA was formed shortly thereafter. This international movement of artists who worked experimentally evolved from the criticisms of Western society and a common desire to break away from existing art movements, including “detested” naturalism and “sterile” abstraction.

Neo-Dada 1950s, international https://www.widewalls.ch/neo-dada/

The fierce desire to be noticed and heard was celebrated and carried on by the later 20th century painters and contemporary artists who were rising up against racism, the war in Vietnam and government policies. Collaborations and performance of Neo-Dadaists influenced the nature of performance art of the late 1960s and onwards.

International Typographic Style 1950s, Switzerland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Typographic_Style

After World War II international trade began to increase and relations between countries grew steadily stronger. Typography and design were crucial to helping these relationships progress—clarity, objectivity, region-less glyphs, and symbols are essential to communication between international partners. International Typographic Style found its niche in this communicative climate and expanded further beyond Switzerland, to America.

Pop Art mid-1950s, United Kingdom/United States https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pop_Art
Raise of advertisment industry and consumerism. The Golden Age of Television.
Situationism 1957 – early 1970s, Italy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situationist_International

Rooted firmly in the Marxist tradition, the Situationist International criticized Trotskyism, Marxism–Leninism, Stalinism and Maoism from a position they believed to be further left and more properly Marxist. The situationists possessed a strong anti-authoritarian current, commonly deriding the centralized bureaucracies of China and the Soviet Union in the same breath as capitalism.

Minimalism – 1960 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimalism
Reaction to Abstract Expressionism.
Video art – early 1960 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_art

Prior to the introduction of consumer video equipment, moving image production was only available non-commercially via 8mm film and 16mm film. After the Portapak’s introduction and its subsequent update every few years, many artists began exploring the new technology.

Psychedelic art early 1960s – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelic_art

Psychedelic art is informed by the notion that altered states of consciousness produced by psychedelic drugs are a source of artistic inspiration. The psychedelic art movement is similar to the surrealist movement in that it prescribes a mechanism for obtaining inspiration. Whereas the mechanism for surrealism is the observance of dreams, a psychedelic artist turns to drug induced hallucinations. Both movements have strong ties to important developments in science. Whereas the surrealist was fascinated by Freud’s theory of the unconscious, the psychedelic artist has been literally “turned on” by Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD.

Conceptual art – 1960s – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_art

Conceptual art also reacted against the commodification of art; it attempted a subversion of the gallery or museum as the location and determiner of art, and the art market as the owner and distributor of art. Lawrence Weiner said: “Once you know about a work of mine you own it. There’s no way I can climb inside somebody’s head and remove it.”

Graffiti 1960s- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti

The emerging music styles of hip hop, punk and other styles that have been acused of fighting againts authority.

Performance art – 1960s – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_art

The work of performance artists after 1968 often showed influences of the cultural and political events of that year.

Process art mid-1960s – 1970s
Land art – late-1960s – early 1970s
Arte Povera 1967 –
Use of perishable materials. Raising awareness of environmental issues.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the environmental movement focused its attention on pollution and successfully pressured Congress to pass measures to promote cleaner air and water. In the late 1970s, the movement increasingly addressed environmental threats created by the disposal of toxic waste. Toward the end of the century, the environmental agenda also included such worldwide problems as ozone depletion and global warming.

Photorealism – Late 1960s – early 1970s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photorealism

Pop Art and Photorealism were both reactionary movements stemming from the ever increasing and overwhelming abundance of photographic media, which by the mid 20th century had grown into such a massive phenomenon that it was threatening to lessen the value of imagery in art. However, whereas the Pop artists were primarily pointing out the absurdity of much of the imagery (especially in commercial usage), the Photorealists were trying to reclaim and exalt the value of an image.

Sots Art 1972 – 1990s, Soviet Union/Russia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sots_Art
Komar and Melamid continued tweaking well-known Soviet symbols and icons, often replacing Vladimir Lenin and Stalin’s portraits with their own, and signing famous Soviet slogans and catch-phrases with their own autographs.
Installation art – 1970s – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Installation_art

What is common to nearly all installation art is a consideration of the experience in toto and the problems it may present, namely the constant conflict between disinterested criticism and sympathetic involvement. Television and video offer somewhat immersive experiences, but their unrelenting control over the rhythm of passing time and the arrangement of images precludes an intimately personal viewing experience. Ultimately, the only things a viewer can be assured of when experiencing the work are his own thoughts and preconceptions and the basic rules of space and time. All else may be molded by the artist’s hands.

Digital art 1990 – present Digital devices, personal computers and other have entered the households and have become an accessible tool for everyone not just engineers
Toyism 1992 – present After the end of the Cold war, break of the Berlin wall and the rise of globalisation, the 1990s bring in more and more global collaborative trends.


Toyism as art movement is a reaction on the post-modern world of individualism, which existed in the 1970s through the 1990s, the era in which “everything is allowed”.The philosophy of Toyism is that the artists operate as a collective, instead of separate individuals, hence one toyist cannot be seen as more important or famous than the other. There is no rivalry among the artists. The evident message they carry out is that the artworks count, not the artist itself that has created it. Although the artists do make their own art, in many occasions the toyists work together, which means that the produced artwork cannot be attributed to a single artist.”What I find even more interesting is the contemporary sense of Toyism. We live in an era of individualism with egocentric characteristics. The toyists present themselves as a group. That is exactly what distinguishes them from the rest.”[9]

Transgressive art https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgressive_art
Transgressional works share some themes with art that deals with psychological dislocation and mental illness. Examples of this relationship, between social transgression and the exploration of mental states relating to illness, include many of the activities and works of the Dadaists, Surrealists, and Fluxus-related artists, such as Carolee Schneemann – and, in literature, Albert Camus’s L’Etranger or J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

However, the term can also be applied to transgressive literature as well. Recent examples include Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, Blood and Guts in High School by Kathy Acker, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, and J.G. Ballard’s short story The Enormous Space. These works deal with issues that were considered to be outside the social norms. Their characters abuse drugs, engage in violent behaviour or could be considered sexual deviants.[citation needed] Trangressive writing can also be reflected in non-fiction, such as the writing style of Jim Goad.[1]The term transgressive was first used in this sense by American filmmaker Nick Zedd and his Cinema of Transgression in 1985.[clarification needed] Zedd used it to describe his legacy with underground film-makers like Paul Morrissey, John Waters, and Kenneth Anger, and the relationship they shared with Zedd and his New York City peers in the early 1980s.

Massurrealism 1992 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massurrealism

Massurrealism is a development of surrealism that emphasizes the effect of technology and mass media on contemporary surrealist imagery.[1] James Seehafer who is credited with coining the term in 1992[1] said that he was prompted to do so because there was no extant definition to accurately characterize the type of work he was doing, which combined elements of surrealism and mass media, the latter consisting of technology and pop art—”a form of technology art.”[2] He had begun his work by using a shopping cart, which “represented American mass-consumerism that fuels mass-media”, and then incorporated collages of colour photocopies and spray paint with the artist’s traditional medium of oil paint.[2]

Stuckism 1999 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuckism

Stuckism is an international art movement founded in 1999 by Billy Childish and Charles Thomson to promote figurative painting as opposed to conceptual art.[2][3] By May 2017 the initial group of 13 British artists had expanded to 236 groups in 52 countries.[4]Although painting is the dominant artistic form of Stuckism, artists using other media such as photography, sculpture, film and collage have also joined, and share the Stuckist opposition to conceptualism and ego-art.[11]

Part of remodernism.

Remodernism 1999 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remodernism

Remodernism in an attempt to introduce a period of new spirituality into art, culture and society to replace postmodernism, which they said was cynical and spiritually bankrupt


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