Becoming Modern: European Art From Futurism to Surrealism
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
27 September 2023
Requisites for this module
This module seeks to answer a fundamental question: `What makes art modern?` In pursuit of this question, we will concentrate on key strands of European modern art in the first decades of the twentieth century, such as Futurism, German Expressionism, Constructivism, and Surrealism.
This module will closely analyse and re-examine a range of iconic artworks, such as Umberto Boccioni's Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Wassily Kandinsky's earliest non-representational compositions, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's street scenes, Rene Magritte's The Key to Dreams, and Alexandra Rodchenko's Spatial Constructions.
The aims of this module are:
- To develop a greater understanding of key developments in modern European art in the first decades of the twentieth century.
- To introduce students to artworks from this period and to the comparative study of modernism across European countries.
- To expose students to debates in past and recent literature about the interpretation of modern European art from the first part of the 20th century.
- To raise students` awareness of different methods for analysing works of art.
- To stimulate students to develop skills in communication through assignments and seminars.
Skills for your Professional Life
By the end of this module, students will be expected to have acquired a set of transferable skills and in particular be able to:
- Define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant.
- Seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information.
- Process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments.
- Compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure.
- Write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications.
- Be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them.
- Think 'laterally' and creatively (i.e., to explore interesting connections and possibilities, and to present these clearly rather than as vague hunches).
- Maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position based on feedback.
- Think critically and constructively.
Some of the topics under consideration include the ways in which new technologies transformed art-making and art discourse from the period; the intersections between art, mass media, and consumer culture; the impact of war on artists and their art practices; and the so-called birth of abstraction.
This module will be delivered via:
- One 2-hour combined lecture and seminar per week.
There will also be a Reading Week when no teaching will take place, exact week to be confirmed.
Harrison, C. (1997) Modernism. London: Tate.
Foster, H. et al. (2016a) ‘1909’, in Art since 1900: modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism. Third edition. London: Thames and Hudson, pp. 90–97.
Marinetti, F.T. (2009) ‘The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism’ ’, in Futurist manifestos. London: Tate, pp. 19–24.
Wood, P. (2014) ‘Modernism and the Idea of the Avant-Garde’, in P. Smith and C. Wilde (eds) Companion to Art Theory
. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 215–227. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470998434
Behr, S. (1999) Expressionism. London: Tate Gallery Publishing.
E. L. Kirchner (2003) ‘Programme of the Brücke’, in Art in theory, 1900-2000: an anthology of changing ideas. New ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp. 65–66.
Kandinsky, W. (1992) ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art [excerpt]’, in Art in theory, 1900-1990: an anthology of changing ideas. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 82–89.
Zimmermann, R. (2006) ‘Early Imprints and Influences [excerpt]’, in Kandinsky: The Path to Abstraction. ex. cat. London: Tate Modern, pp. 32–42.
Dickerman, L. (2005) ‘Introduction’, in Dada: Zurich, Berlin, Hanover, Cologne, New York, Paris. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, pp. 1–14.
Tzara, T. (2006) Dada Manifesto 1918, The Dada reader: a critical anthology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 36–42.
Malevich, K. (1968) ‘From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism’’, in T. Andersen (ed.) Malevich, Essays on Art. Copenhagen.
Foster, H. et al. (2016b) Art since 1900: modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism. Third edition. London: Thames and Hudson.
Foster, H. et al. (2016c) Art since 1900: modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism. Third edition. London: Thames and Hudson.
Wingler, H.M., Gilbert, B. and Jabs, W. (1978) The Bauhaus: Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, Chicago. Edited by J. Stein. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Foster, H. et al. (2016d) Art since 1900: modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism. Third edition. London: Thames and Hudson.
Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (2003) Art in theory, 1900-2000: an anthology of changing ideas. New ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||2000 word essay
||Main exam: In-Person, Open Book, 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period)
||Reassessment Main exam: Remote, Open Book, 24hr during September (Reassessment Period)
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Michael Tymkiw, email: email@example.com.
Dr Michael Tymkiw
PHAIS General Office - 6.130; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Dominic Paterson
University of Glasgow
Senior Lecturer in History of Art / Curator of Contemporary Art
Available via Moodle
Of 581 hours, 18 (3.1%) hours available to students:
563 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
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