This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of EUROPEAN modernist art, architecture and design.

The course begins with the innovations and collisions of early twentieth century art--in response to the growth of modern urbanism, industrialist production, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation--and ends with the cooptation of modernist radicalism in the wake of World War II. Distinctions between the terms modernist, modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected movements and groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, L’Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Constructivism, and New Objectivity) this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, utopianism, primitivism and difference as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modern art.


There are two required textbooks for this course:

• Steve Edwards and Paul Wood. ''Art of the Avant-Gardes''. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004). Available at Amherst Books.

• ''Art in Theory 1900-2000'', edited by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002) is available in its entirety on line on Monoskop.