Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were the two artists credited with indicating the two most important directions in 20th century art: a painting of a bold, expressive color, and a painting of analytical attention to the picture's surface. These two artists were rivals for the leadership of an intentional but tightly-knit avant-garde community of other artists, writers, critics, collectors, and provocateurs. Their art has been the focus of numerous studies, books, and exhibitions, but nonetheless remains difficult to describe in words. It will allow students to familiarize themselves with different methods of art historical study, will introduce them to the rich cultural world of early 20th century Paris, and will give them the rich opportunities to develop the kinds of writing skills useful not only in studying art history, but also in working in museums, galleries, auction houses, or in any task that requires sharp, critical writing about something not inherently verbal. The course will touch on critical issues such as the appropriation by European artists of the art of other cultures, the intersections of high art and popular culture, and exhibition practices. This course counts towards the WIM (Writing in the Major) requirement for art history majors.
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