When I began my first semester here at Fontbonne this spring I knew that I was going to learn a lot. With three studio art classes and one modern art history class, how could I not? The thing that surprised me the most was how much I’ve learned in my modern art history class. In general I don’t care for most modern art. I know that art is generally subjective, and everyone likes different things, but I admit I wasn’t looking forward to being visually assaulted by elongated figures, arbitrary color, and abstractions.
The surprising thing was the information behind the art that my professor supplied to us. Historically, art has been influenced by society, technology, politics, religion, etc. Modern art is no exception to these influences. I learned that social upheaval, the Industrial Revolution, and both world wars had a huge impact on the art being produced at the turn of the century. Logically, this all made sense to me, but to see the visual progression of this process was something else entirely. The artists of this time period were literally trying to change the world around them through their art; they had a message they wanted to impart to the general public and they did so fearlessly. Their spirit and passion is something to be admired. Learning each artists’ story and seeing the resulting work has been a fascinating journey and I’m very grateful to my professor for each lesson.