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6: The Art of Engagement (1940-1970)

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    • 6.1: Introduction
      1940 found the world embroiled in war; Japan had invaded mainland China in 1937, and Nazi Germany controlled Austria and Czechoslovakia. By 1941, the war was global as Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States while Germany attacked the Soviet Union.
    • 6.2: Abstract Expresssionism (Late 1940s-1960s)
      In New York City during the late 1940s, the beginnings of a new style of art emerged, radical new directions in art. The artists associated with the Abstract Expressionists were not all similar in look as they all developed the concept of spontaneity and improvision. Their work was dynamic and gestural, highly abstracted.
    • 6.3: Color Field (1950s-1960s)
      Color field painting is closely associated with Abstract Expressionism, a movement whose beginnings were centered in New York City. The style of the color field was based on large spaces of a solid color, color its objective, color divorced from the pursuit of a specific context, color, itself the subjective concept.
    • 6.4: Bay Area Figurative (1950s-1970s)
      The San Francisco Bay Area artists were generally Abstract Expressionists until a small group of artists redefined the figure and its concept, an idea linking them together as the Bay Area Figurative artists. After World War II, artists in New York assembled in bars, restaurants, or different studios, the art dealers controlling most of their careers.
    • 6.5: Kinetic Art (1950s – 1960s)
      Op Art produced static images which gave the impression of movement. Kinetic art moved through mechanical methods and motors or viewer interaction, using natural air currents in space. The forerunner to kinetic art is found in the simplicity of Duchamp's bicycle in unplanned freewheeling motion.
    • 6.6: Pop Art (1950s-1960s)
      Pop Art was a movement developed in England and the United States during the 1950s, challenging traditional art concepts, using ordinary objects including comic books, and advertising used in mass culture. After the war, a period of experimentation, along with amplified consumerism, artists were inspired by the new world around them.
    • 6.7: Op Art (1960s – 1970s)
      Op Art was a new form based on the exploitation of illusions and different optical effects of how an image was perceived. Op Art is the short form of Optical Art, a style of abstraction challenging the viewer's visual acuity.
    • 6.8: Minimalism (1960 – early 1970)
      Minimalism became one of the important art forms during the 1960s, using primary and sleek geometric contours without decorative embellishments. The movement started in New York with young artists challenging the boundaries of traditional media, perceived emotions, and overt symbolism.
    • 6.9: Conclusion

    Thumbnail:  Yellow Still Life (1960-1963, oil on canvas, 30.4 x 30.4 cm) by Califpaint CC BY-SA 4.0

    This page titled 6: The Art of Engagement (1940-1970) is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Deborah Gustlin & Zoe Gustlin (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .

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