Instructor: Lauren Kaplan
4 Mondays; registration is open throughout
For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: Nonmember $355, Member $325, Student/Educator/Other Museum Staff $250
On February 20, 1909, the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published the “Founding Manifesto of Futurism” on the front page of Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper. He used the first person plural—“we stayed up all night, my friends and I”—to discuss the new type of art he and his cronies were inventing for a modern Italy. As it turned out, the manifesto was a brilliant ploy; not only was Marinetti working alone, he was not even a visual artist. Marinetti’s declaration piqued the interest of Italians living abroad, and within a year several leading Italian artists had moved back to Milan to join Marinetti in creating a new movement: Futurism.
Marinetti was a fabulist, but many other modern movements also have questionable origin stories. Using Futurism as a starting point, we will examine key artist texts from the 20th century in an effort to answer one question: How can an artist’s writing help us better understand his/her work? Earlier in the century, many artists took an earnest, idealistic approach, believing the creative stakes to be extremely high. However, following the Second World War this seriousness gave way to a more ironic tone which acknowledged the failure of the modernist project. In examining writings by the Futurists, Vasily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, the Surrealists, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Lee Krasner, Gerhard Richter, Tarsila do Amaral, and others, we will see how tones shift over time and affect the art and movements they are reflecting upon.
Bio: Lauren A Kaplan (PhD candidate, The Graduate Center, CUNY) specializes in art and architecture of the 20th century, with a unique focus on cross-cultural exchange between Europe and Latin America. In addition to working on her dissertation, she teaches art history at Hunter College and works as an educator at The Museum of Modern Art and at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.