Week 7: Assignment (Individual Topics)

Week 7 Assignment

After the background readings and videos, here are some topics that I am assigning individually  to help you work with our method and make connections for how meanings develop in dialogic contexts. I think starting with a significant “node” in the dialogic network will help you in learning what you can discover with our method, and not get frustrated in choosing your own example. (Read the general instructions in the Syllabus for this week for using Google Slides for the assignment.)

Note: We are now moving into the modern contexts where everything in Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre is being thoroughly reinterpreted and rejected as the place to start for defining “Art” and what artists should do. No one (then or now) would argue for ignorance of the history, but artists (and gradually) art receiving publics understood that “modern” art was no longer obligated to reproduce or continue “tradition,” and no longer obligated to make pictorial representations, or just “pretty pictures” (as Picasso remarked). Look what opened up!

Julia: Discover some of the important parts of the dialogic relations (ongoing reinterpretations) about painting in Picasso’s early Cubist work (before the 1920s). Hints: how was he (and others in his community) responding to Cezanne’s late paintings (planes of color on a flat surface); African sculpture and non-western art forms; and mathematics (for approaches to the geometry of a surface). Wikipedia’s background on the famous painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) is good: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Demoiselles_d%27Avignon).

Grant: Discover some of the important dialogic relations in Marcel Duchamp’s famous (infamous) Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912). How/why was he going beyond Picasso’s kind of Cubism? How/why does he draw from cinema (moving picture frames)? What did that open up for painting on a single 2D surface? How was the painting received? Wikipedia background is a good place to start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Duchamp#Nude_Descending_a_Staircase,_No._2

Alex: Discover some of the major dialogic reinterpretations of art, art genres, and painting itself in the early developments of Abstract Art, 1900s-1930 (for example, Picasso, Paul Klee, and Kandinsky before the 1930s). Choose a work by one of the major artists in this time period as a “node” for which you can make the connecting links (including writings and influences from other media and technology). The video “The Case for Abstraction” provides lots of good suggestions. Hint: a major “influence” that caused artists to move away from pictorial representation was photography, the photographic “realistic” image. Man Ray (artist, avant-garde photographer) said: “I paint what I can’t photograph.”

Yao: Discover some of the major dialogic re-interpretation steps in Mondrian’s transition to abstraction, with his colleagues in “De Stijl” (“The Style”) movement in the Netherlands. After our sources in the syllabus, the Wikipedia background is a place to start on Mondrian: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian. Choose one of his “iconic” paintings from the 1920s-1930. What conversations were his paintings part of, in the artworld and more broadly in society and ideas for “modern” philosophy.

Veronica: If you are feeling better and able to work on this week’s assignment, follow the instructions in the syllabus and choose a major artwork in the early modern era (1880s-1930) that allows you to discover how and why it has meaning from it dialogic relationships in its own time and context of reception.

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About Martin Irvine

Martin Irvine is a professor at Georgetown University and the Founding Director of Georgetown's graduate program in Communication, Culture & Technology. He is interested in a wide range of interdisciplinary topics, including media theory, semiotics, cognitive science approaches to language and symbolic culture, computation and the Internet/Web, philosophy and intellectual history, art theory, contemporary music, vintage guitars, and all things post-postmodern.