Shared Flashcard Set


20th Cent. Art Final
Dr. Greene
Art History
Undergraduate 3

Additional Art History Flashcards





Joseph Kosuth

Titled (Art as Water as Water): 'Image'


4' x 4'

photostat mounted on board

Conceptual Art

Joselit 160


  • prolific writer before artist, asked question of "what makes artwork artwork?"
  • wrote "Art After Philosophy" - adopting a more rhetoric in their philosophical propositions about art, reasoning that since art consits art consits of formal language or codes, its nature is fundamentally linguistic: "the propositions of art are not factual, but linguistic in character. that is they do not describe the behavior of physical, or even mental objects, they express definitions of art, or the formal consequences of definitions of art
  • TWO THINGS: art should consist of the artist's linguistic propositions and the content of the art should be its own ongoing definition
  • exactly what he shows in his definitions pieces
  • ONE AND THREE CHAIRS piece - extending readymade by breaking down into a tripartite set of relations - object, linguistic, sign, and photographic reproduction
  • analytical, logistical processes



Lawrence Weiner

A square removal from a rug in use


installation, dimensions unknown

Conceptual Art

Foster 532


  • when attitudes and artwork as a way of thinking become a form
  • words are conceptual, but still hold visual weight
  • modernist self-reflectiveness - taken to a new level, looking back on itself, more inward
  • self-taught, grew up in Bronx and travelled to NY, interested in theory behind work
  • published "Statements" - focus on distribution of the form, carries the idea of distribution form rather than redefining
  • a) the artist may construct the piece b) the piece may be fabricated c) the piece may not be produced at all - reverse traditional hierarchy of artistic reproduction
  • language based art, apart from a material form - still retains its definition
  • the SQUARE at its quintessential topos of modernist self-reflection is still in play, but now it is literally "inscribed" or written
  • simultaneous visual withdrawl - inasmuch as the "statement" ties the form to the wall that constitutes its frame, it denies the possibility of a separate visual entity

Louise Bourgeois

La Fillette


2' x 1' x 1'

latex over plaster

Foster 500

Feminist Before Feminism


  • grew up with a troubled emotional life, familiar problems
  • interest in avant-garde and surrealism, dismantling idea of housewoman, sexuality, allusion of woman and house, vulnerablity of women
  • interest in body, rupturing, not in exhuberant representation
  • CENTRAL CORE IMAGERY vs. ambivalent
  • LA FILLETTE shown hanging - like dead butcher meat, treats it with ambivalence
  • idea of "part-objects"
  • Lucy Lippard: ambivalent body ego that produces both appeal and repulsion
  • Le Regard - combination of an eye and a genital, reworking motifs in a way that troubles the "phallic gaze"
  • dirty, penile thing
  • when it is hung, it looks like meat, but when it is cradled by bourgeois herself, it seems like an object of love
  • according to Freud, women might associate penis and baby in order to compensate the lack of the first with the gain of the second

Louise Bourgeois

The Destruction of the Father


8' x 12' x 8'

plaster, latex, wood, fabric, red light

Foster 501

Feminist Before Feminism


  • interest in the sexual, central, core imagery
  • grew up with a troubled emotional life, familiar problems
  • interest in avant-garde and surrealism, dismantling idea of housewoman, sexuality, allusion of woman and house, vulnerablity of women
  • interest in body, rupturing, not in exhuberant representation
  • CENTRAL CORE IMAGERY vs. ambivalent
  • IDEA OF THE LAIR: "a protected place you can enter to take refuge" - although "the lair is not a trap" "the fear of being trapped has become the desire to trap others"
  • ultimate lair - protection turns into aggression, hunted becomes the hunter
  • a large cave made of plaster, latex, wood, and fabric, it consists of forms suggestive of breasts, penises, and teeth that protrude from a ceiling, a floor and a table
  • a CAVE, BODY, and ROOM - a phantasmic interior of the sort that young children sometimes imagine
  • "evening meal" has somehow turned into a ritual meal, where the "totem" to be devoured has suddenly become the father
  • a fantasy of patricidal aggression - a family devouring their own father - goes back to her own troubled past

Yayoi Kusama

Infinity Mirror Room


Dimensions Variable

sewn stuffed fabric, plywood mirrors

Foster 502

Feminist Before Feminism


  • native of Japan, moved to NY, net pieces mocked Pollock
  • approached issues of feminism, fallice, but more of a "pop" influence
  • inifinity net pieces - idea of dislocation, painting a resistance to abstract expressionism
  • accumulation pieces show chairs covered in bags stuffed with cotton - growth, mass, awray, having so many is unnatural
  • hybrid enviornments, exhuberance, reductiveness, repetition, hybridization of pop and minimalism
  • spontaneity
  • INFINITY MIRROR ROOM - is she aware of her surroundings, collapse of figure / ground relationship
  • APPROACHED the lair of patriarchy from another direction - rather than seize the phallus, she multiplied it in a way that mocks it, POPS it
  • One Thousand Boats piece - boat covered in penile protrusions
  • dispersed the phallic form as a vertical figure into the horizontal ground of other phalli
  • may have had schitzophrenia, entered a mental institution at one point

Judy Chicago

The Dinner Party


4' x 4' x 3"

mixed-media installation

Foster 573

Feminism I


  • in 70s, she made abstract paintings, feminist, socio-political movements
  • made "pasadena lifesavers" - central core imagery - eyes, breasts, vaginal openings, treated ambiguously and ambivalently
  • interest of the role of women in art history
  • system does not support women artists and women need their own space
  • initially just raising consciousness through art, are we being told what it means to be female?
  • strong direction / suggestion of what is / isn't female
  • DINNER PARTY: feminist art as collaborative, emotive, triangle with 39 places to sit with major female figures in history, with a hand-embroidered runner
  • supported by heritage floor with 2999 names of historical women
  • sculpture on plates serves as the central, core imagery
  • glorification of women - not to serve men
  • triangle as symbol of equality, women
  • 13 = last supper reference - women throughout history, even in biblical times, but we want to REWRITE HISTORY, create a legacy
  • very personal, handmade, CRAFT associated with women, ideologically influential, but aestetically not achieved - embroidery is considered less of artistic genius than painting
  • CELEBRATORY association of women and body as well as it's gynocentric view of cultural history

Faith Ringgold

Echoes of Harlem


8' x 7'

acrylic on canvas, dyed, painted and pieced fabric

Foster 572

Feminism I


  • concerned with race issues, consciousness raising, artists combine interest in gender AND race
  • did American People series - two oppressed people trying o breach false ideal of unity, interweave with stripes
  • colonized vs. colonizers - white men, black men, black men, black women, classifyers in her art
  • early feminist art sought to  reclaim bodies of women, and by women
  • revaluation of devalued forms of decorative as decorative arts and utilitarian crafts historically gendered female
  • works with COLLAGE in her "story quilts" of AA life
  • ethnic strife absolutely saturated national identity
  • soft sculptures, derived from the formal vocabulary of African masks but representing typical characters from her own Harlem neightborhood
  • she travelled widely in US using the lecture / performance format as an opportunity to communicate not only with art audiences but also with students and community groups

Ana Mendieta

Rape Scene


1' x 2'

5 photographic prints

Joselit 173

Feminism II


  • Cuban artist, when father's relationship with Castro turned sour, she went to move to the US, graduated from U of IA
  • self portraiture references Castro, androgeny, male-gendered issues, molding of body into stereotype of female
  • her connotations of blood in body tracks piece on wall are negative and positive
  • restaged a scene of rape/murder, body mutilated on the table
  • many artists were exploring the objectification of their bodies as a form of oppression, in sharp contrast to the free philosophical speculation which their male colleaugues applied to their own aesthetic intentionality and physical presence
  • painful reiteration of explicit or implicit violence directed towards women
  • PERFORMANCE of Mendieta represents feminine subjectivity as threatened by forces outside itself

Ana Mendieta

Untitled (Siloueta Series)


Red pigment silueta on the beach in MX

Foster 574

Feminism II

  • Cuban artist, when father's relationship with Castro turned sour, she went to move to the US, graduated from U of IA
  • self portraiture references Castro, androgeny, male-gendered issues, molding of body into stereotype of female
  • from SILUETAS series
  • bodily imprints, laying naked outside in various enviornments, experiences documented by a partner holding a camera
  • merging with the earth
  • "earth goddess" as cultural / ethnic displacement
  • a body HAS been here, some pieces involve blood and fire, merge of ground and figure - sterotype of mother, women, being merged with the earth
  • IDENTITY - cultural and ethnic
  • inscribed her own profile into various landscapes, an association of female body and maternal nature that reads ambiguously as joyous reunion or deathly embrace or both
  • SECOND PHASE of feminist art governed by an identification of woman and body, of woman and nature, that was at all time triumphant and at times depressive




Cindy Sherman

Untitled Film Still #7


10" x 8"

black and white photograph

Foster 582

Photographic Appropriations


  • Sherman's upbringing marked by the domination of television, idea of makeup, dress up, interest in a fascination with identity
  • "pictures generation" - Douglass Crimp - work that already is imagery understandable
  • did DOLL CLOTHES piece - we all have multiple selves
  • inspired by movies, but her work is not movie-specific - something is off, dark side of hollywood is referenced
  • VULNERABILITY, feminism
  • uncanniness, reproduction, seen it, familiar, but not exactly - quotes tropes from other things
  • she is like a sponge, takes on the identity, sense of fiction
  • manipulations operated by Hollywood can no longer be seen as gender-neutral - role in the stills were feminine, but the feminist argument according to which those roles should be understood had shifted
  • Sherman's settings came to be analyzed less for their mass-cultural associations and more for their visual vectors - MALE GAZE vs. waiting and defenseless female, reacting to the gaze, entreating it, ognoring it, placating it

Group Material

AIDS Timeline


Mixed Media installation

Politicized 1980s

Foster 605


  • starting to think about the development of alternative spaces - using collaborative ways of working, emphasis on the message vs. artist, getting away from idea of a "personal autograph"
  • moving away from originality / authorship
  • grouping of artists, writers, critics
  • focus on social conditions instead of the ART market
  • modernist idea of art for art's sake is no longer relevant, ephemera of found objects used, serve to connect to outside world - and integrate into it
  • art and life as ONE thing
  • AIDS and ART criticized by right wing conservatives
  • epidemic to cultural crisis, poke at government actions/inactions
  • were very much included in the art world
  • artist vs. historian
  • most governments were indifferent to AIDS outbreak, and desensitive to gay men in particular on account of it - as the decade went on, political art in the US was also galvanized by a number of beatings and other violent events that were racially and/or sexually motivated - pitted world against the NEA
  • MISSION of Group Material: "to maintain control over our work, directing our energies to the demands of th social conditions as opposed to the demands of the art market

Leon Golub

Mercenaries (IV)


10' x 19'

acrylic on canvas

Foster 606

Politicized 1980s


  • worked with highly charged political material, was a painter in WWII, in Paris
  • explosive subject matter, aggressive, angry colors, wounded, bloody, canvas itself feels like a wound, broken, torn, empty space, scraping down eroded surfaces
  • classical adn mythological subject matter
  • tragedy and how we relive tragic moments
  • separation of the attacked and the attackers
  • built on linen, no supports, tortured surface
  • atrocities of American soldiers in Vietnam, "dirty wars" of the 1980s - intercut with this representation of politics is POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION - reworking of public symbols and media images with subversive kinds of social menaings and historical memories

Jenny Holzer

Selections from Truisms


3' x 2'

posters, mixed media

Foster 598, Joselit 203

Politicized 1980s


  • known for using text, language, had an intense year of theory-based art training
  • "theory" means "text" - philosophy, history, psychology
  • connection to Lucy Lippard, Edward Said - post-colonialism, issues of identity and cultures in art
  • went to Whitney ISP program
  • selections of Truisms were posted all around town, but never been presented in its entirety
  • usually just some selections in ABC order
  • became her own source material - printed on normal paper but without her name
  • her inflammatory essays showed that any person can simultaneously believe in two different things
  • made merch out of her scathing one-lineers - voice awareness interest, polarized colors, bold, billboard usage, uses specific contexts to reach out to specific people
  • control / power of advertising and its subversion, we must realize our own effectiveness
  • personal v. political, consumer society, viability of public art
  • messages even in form of gravestone sculpture
  • postmodernist textuality was first brought to bear the modernist idea of "master" works and "master" artists which were viewed as ideological "myths" to expose - to demystify or to "deconstruct" - since myths were usually created by men, it seems appropriate that women should lead this movement

Guerilla Girls

Do Women Have to be Naked to get into the Met. Museum?


dimensions not available

Joselit 227

Politicized 1980s


  • anonymous female protestors that want more diversity, gender, cultural, racial, in art
  • take on pseudonyms of female artists of past
  • well-known artists take part
  • fear of backlash, separate selves from other work
  • use of humor is disarming
  • anonymous to focus on the WORK, and there is fear of retribution
  • use of statistics, humor, drama, to draw attention to discrimination, self-deprication, want to reinvent word "feminism"
  • criticality, information-oriented, offense v. defense, taking back and reinventing the female defined
  • being feminine is what YOU define it as - NOT essentialized
  • Do Women Have to be Naked - designed to be a billboard for a public art forum
  • idea of "indecency" and censorship of messages that are too subversive
  • also breaks stereotype that feminist artists are humorless
  • founded in NY in 1985 to assail the sexism and racism of the art world - idea of name "guerrilla" vs. "gorilla" - intentionally misidentifies women, esp women of color, putting them on a lower evolutionary scale than humans
  • deliberately obscured their indivudual identieis in order to create a politically efficacious portrait of gender and ethnicity, which they delineated in great detail through witty posters carrying statistical analysis of the unequal representation of womena dn people of color in the commercial and academic art worlds

Adrian Piper

The Mythic Being Cycle I


14" x 17"

Joselit 177

Ad on paper

Gender / Race


  • discomfort with difference, "other" determines superficiality
  • in concrete infinity, recorded everything about everyday - minute by minute idea of self
  • identity, complicated aspects and multiple strands of identity
  • association of language
  • feminist artists worked to articulate those gender-based inequities which determined who could and who could not possess this property - one way of dramaticizing this difference was to insist upon the painful objectification of women's bodies (like in Rape Scene)
  • Piper apper approached the question of selfhood from a more playful perspective - a question of assumed personnae, rather than stable identities
  • impersonations of "the mythic being", for instance, a macho AA persona wearing a prominent afro, facial hair and reflective sunglasses is jarringly endowed with the thoughts and musings of intellectual AA woman
  • in Village Voice magazine, Piper reproduced a photograph of herself as the Mythic Being paired with a thought balloon quoting a randomly chosen passage from her journals of the previous fourteen years
  • surreal juxtaposition of a "male" persona and his vulnerable "feminine" reflections was mirrored by an additional private component of the work in which each month Piper memorized the autobiographical passage quoted in her ad
  • seeks to alienate her own thoughts
  • Piper undermines her own self-possession by objectifying her relation to her own intimate diaries
  • self-objectification

Lorna Simpson

The Waterbearer


4' x 6' x 1'

silver-gelatin print with vinyl lettering

Foster 641

Gender / Race


  • body language, sense of a narrative without a whole story, anonymity
  • worked with Alan Kaprow at UCSD
  • multiculturalism of 1980s - those who support it say it CELEBRATES different cultures
  • some say it creates an "us" "them" relationship
  • studied photography, began to deal with stereotypes concerning blackness and race
  • Waterbearer - anonymous figure wearing housedress, her hair is messy, muscles are taught
  • resisting something? water bottles in hand - one for servants, one for those she is serving? - different time periods - does time change?
  • difficult to pin as contemporary or historical
  • artists use textiles as related to memory
  • exposed, vulnerable
  • gender identity through "gesture"
  • idea of MODES OF REPRESENTATION - way people are portrayed - positively or negatively?
  • combines critique and beauty in her work, as if to refute advocates of either principle who deem the combination somehow impossible
  • figure appears nonchalant
  • declares the existence of subjugated knowledge, as the critic bell hooks has argued, bt it is a knowledge that appears resistant even when it is ignored, for the action of the girl indicated a small refusal, a slight subversion: spilling the water, releasing her burden, forgoing her task, she nonchalantly spites her implied deniers, seeming oblivious to all observers
  • pose is transformative: her unbalanced arms suggest a tilted scale of justice and her CONTRAPPOSTO stance recalls any number of cananical figures in Western art - from ancient muses, through the maids of Vermeer, to direct them to a subject rarely shown in Western art at all

Carrie Mae Weems

Untitled: Man Reading Newspaper from the Kitchen Table Series


2' x 2'

silver gelatin prints

Foster 640


  • is a black woman allied with union issues and labor issues
  • influenced by ROY DECARVA - has cited him (Langston Hughe's book)
  • she thought his book inverts while culture's idea of aesthetics, reframes the black image within subversive politics of representation that challenge the concept of racist colonization and humanization
  • issues of slavery and colonization, folklore influence
  • did the FAMILY pictures and stories, combining snapshots of her family misconceptions based on surface portrayals
  • delves beyond the superficial
  • piece about "looking into the mirror" - are black women always less pretty than white women?
  • colors are loaded, dramatic, comical extremities
  • uses incongruency to provoke us, shock us, shame us
  • works made as a result of theory - women did not know how to construct an image of herself
  • TABLE SERIES: 20 images and 13 text panels
  • men, women, supersticion, pop culture
  • feels like we sit at the had of the table, can enter the dialogue, drama as participants
  • depending on who you identify most with changes with perspective
  • using a kitchen table - intimate, personal
  • lamp spotlight lends a dramatic effect
  • references to Caravaggio, 17th century table scenes
  • stark light
  • voice of text mulls over the different demands of personal longings, romantic relationships, domestic arrangements, and workday obligations - not often that such subjectivities are given such evocative expression

Gender / Race



Sherrie Levine


black and white photograph

Joselit 92


Cindy Sherman

Untitled #167


Foster 634

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