Art Analysis I: What is Modern Art? What is Modern?

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Course Information
Art History
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 



The concept of “Modern Art” will be the theme of discussion of art movements that arose in the 20th century. This includes the value of color, space and form and the underlying theory of art and artists. Modern ideas in past periods of Art History will add a broader basis to the discussion. Artworks are analyzed from various perspectives, compared to related art in Vienna, and connected to the cultural background of the period from which they arose. The focus of the course is on artistic expressions of “modern”, new, innovative ways of seeing and experiencing the world.

Attendance policy: 

IES Abroad Vienna requires attendance at all class sessions, including field study excursions, internship meetings, scheduled rehearsals, and exams. Attendance will be monitored and unexcused absences will affect the student’s grade via the “Participation” component of each course’s final grade.

Excused Absences

  • Excused absences are permitted only when a student is ill, when class is held on a recognized religious holiday traditionally observed by the particular student, or in the case of a grave incident affecting family members.
  • To be granted an excused absence, the student must write an email to his/her professor in a timely manner stating the reason for the absence (and, if appropriate, how long they expect to be away) with a cc to Center administrative staff. In an emergency, the student may call Student Services or the Front Desk. If the student is unable to send an email (too sick, no computer), he/she may call the Student Assistant at the front desk (01/512 2601-11) who will then write the email described above and send it to said parties as stated above, with a cc to the student.
  • If a student is absent 3 consecutive days or more, he/she will need to obtain a doctor’s note and then submit this to the Registrar’s office.
Learning outcomes: 

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamental changes and possibities of art during the 20th century
  • See instead of just look when analyzing pieces of art
Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures and discussions, both in the classroom and at exhibits.
  • Visits to museums/exhibitions are essential.
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Oral reports - 30%
  • Term paper based on research - 30%
  • Midterm - 15%
  • Final - 25%

Oral Reports and Term Papers
Students will be asked to give short oral reports on assigned art objects, a term paper is to be developed out of these reports.

Note: Active participation in class discussion is expected.

  1. Color – Matisse, Fauves, Expressionism
  2. Form – Cubism, Picasso
  3. Action – Futurism
  4. Kandinsky
  5. DADA
  6. Surrealism
  7. Constructivism
  8. De Stijl
  9. Bauhaus
  10. Art after 1945 – OP, POP
  11. Abstract Expressionism
  12. Concept Art
Required readings: 

For each section of discussion a special Reading List will be issued