Write no more than a few paragraphs but try to include what you se as the five key points the authors are trying to communicate about modernity and various modernist subsequent responses to the condition of modernity.
Include a bibliographic Harvard reference for the text at the end.
Notes from text
First decade of 20th century saw attempt to create art, which was ‘new’ but also could stand alongside traditional art.
A concept of expression – notion of the self – self-portraiture using nature as inspiration whilst under urban circumstances.
Development of cubism ensued Paris was at the forefront of the forces of modernity.
3 related movements of the modern –
Modernisation – process of scientific and technological advance.
In developing societies the new was overtaking the old at a rapid pace.
Modernity – the social and cultural condition – experience, awareness and adaptation to change. Both a social and inner experience.
Modernism – a reflection upon the representation of the new.
Experience cannot be grasped until it is represented.
Responses to the modern condition.
Pessimism at the increase in population and the urban concentration fuelled by increasing control by the machine. A sense that life was losing depth and freedom – humans were being imprisoned in ‘the iron cage of modernity’.
Some places were at first delayed with the changes but then even more rapidly changed when they felt the need to catch up.
Some people overcome by hysterical exhilaration while others a mix of alienation and apocalypse.
Depression and exhilaration 2 sides of same coin – both responses to the effects of modernisation.
The effect on art before 1st world war is slight.
Modernisation not totally a technological fact also social – new social relations between people – particularly classes of people (capitalist modernisation)
The culture thought of itself.
Ideology of modernisation – acute and contradictory forms of bourgeois response to bourgeois society.
Bourgeois needed and feared the working class, who had ideologies of a shared nation, race and culture, who were excluded from capitalist wealth – socialism.
Socialists believed art should be used to change that modernity.
Cubism with its still life’s and portrait figures gave little clues to the modern storm brewing, became a thing in itself, rather than depicting the modern life, on first reflection could think it had internalised its modernity.
However this may have been seen by those who were unable to grasp this new pictoral language, the picture still remained a signifier.
Mattered less what subject artist addressed.
Meaning of cubism remained focus for conflict – a decoration of the surface (aesthetic) and the true reality (meaning). Prising apart 2 aspects of cubism – its continued referentiality and an autonomous picture surface. One side – art whose duty to decode modern world, the other – art that transforms itself.