American Dialectics: Art in New York

Term: Fall 2009

Subject Code: GLIB

Course Number: 5281

Since the end of World War II, art in New York has been animated by powerfully conflicting tendencies-between romanticism and empiricism, abstraction and representation, spontaneity and reflection, nihilism and tradition, the artist and the public. New York City's melting pot excitement gave a new kind of weight, thrust, and velocity to debates that had had their origins in Europe, and the dialectic in all its variety-ranging from Hegelian idealism to Kierkegaard's Either/Or to Hans Hofmann's "push and pull"-was shaping the artist's sense of self and society in the rush-hour city of the postwar years. This course will present a reading of American art since 1945 by focusing on five themes, each of them tied to a specific period.

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