Relating to the Viewer
Your reading for last week covered several art movements that flourished in the 1960s, such as Performance art and Pop art. This week your reading focuses on the way in which the modernist abstraction of the 1950s and and 1960s continued to evolve alongside these movements through the development of Post Painterly abstraction, Hard-edge abstraction, Op art, and Minimalism. In last week’s assignment you focused on the relationship of art to society. This week you will instead focus on the relationship of the work of art to the viewer.
Although their methods were very different, both Op art painters and Minimalist sculptors sought to engage the viewer physically. Op art paintings stimulate the retina of the viewer’s eyes in various ways to create optical phenomena. Minimalist sculptures are often meant to be navigated by the viewer and understood in relation to the viewer’s body. Both the modernists of the Greenberg school and Minimalist artists often presented the viewer with a work of art meant to be seen as a singular “object”, blurring the lines between sculpture and painting. Last week, you learned about how Performance art and Happenings engaged their audience, and were asked to consider how Pop art cast the viewer’s experience as a consumer in a new light.
In your assignment this week, you will choose a work of art and analyze the way in which the artist has tried to engage the viewer. In the previous paragraph, I summarized the basic goals of the various movements included in this section of your textbook. Your task is to describe the strategies employed by an artist as they attempt to engage a viewer? How do they use color, form, materials, and scale? What impact would these choices have on the experience a someone visiting the work in person?