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Unit 10

10.1 Global Contemporary, 1980 CE to Present

4 min readโ€ขoctober 29, 2020

charly511115

Charly Castillo


AP Art Historyย ๐Ÿ–ผ

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Unit 10: Global Contemporary, 1980 CE to Present

Welcome to the final unit of AP Art History (cue the round of celebratory applause ๐Ÿ‘ )! Unit 10 is a great way to finish off this course because its works are unlike any that we've seen previously with respect to theme, media (things used to make a work ๐ŸŽจ), and technique. Unfortunately, though, contemporary art (art made in the second half of the 20th or the 21st century) gets a bad rap from many viewers. Here are some common stereotypes and phrases said about art from this period in history:
  • I could've made that when I was 5!
  • Contemporary art has no meaning behind it.
  • The meanings that artists give behind their works are such exaggerations.
  • Artists call anything they make art.
  • Contemporary art isn't visually appealing.
  • All contemporary architecture looks futuristic.
These common stereotypes โฌ†๏ธ are anything but true! Just because contemporary art may look different than the works that we've studied in earlier units, doesn't mean that it's a less valid movement. Be sure to keep this in mind ๐Ÿง  as we head into the unit's contextualization and works.

Contextualization (AKA The Historical Background) ๐ŸŒŽ

Advancements in Technology โš™๏ธ

In the late 20th century, technology began to drastically improve as new machines were being created and manufacturing techniques were perfected ๐Ÿญ. This has caused the production of different media to rapidly increase โฌ†๏ธ and their manufacturing costs to decrease โฌ‡๏ธ, making art more accessible to people around the world, regardless of wealth or status. (Before this time, many artists, especially in Europe, came from well-to-do families ๐Ÿค‘ and were educated at private art schools.)
As technology becomes more advanced over time, artists are also beginning to abandon traditional media like oil paint and stucco for new, innovative materials (ex. Mylar) and everyday ones (ex. cut paper, glass, and burlap). Artists have also begun using technology to their advantage when creating. For example, some of the artists that made the works below incorporated video ๐Ÿ“น and audio ๐Ÿ”Š into their installations (exhibits in a gallery) so the viewer can have more sensory experience, rather than just look. This is a deviation from works in previous units,

Globalization and Modernization ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

As the world becomes more modernized (adapted for contemporary life; ex. urbanization ๐ŸŒ†, industrialization ๐Ÿ—๏ธ, high literacy rate ๐Ÿ“š) and globalized (spreading of cultures worldwide), people are beginning to interact more. This increased communication has allowed artists of different backgrounds to inspire one another and create unique works of art.

Growing Inclusivity in Art ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽจ๐Ÿง•๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฟโ€๐ŸŽจ

The field of art has become more inclusive of artists of different nationalities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and backgrounds over time. Many of the works in this unit ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ (such as Horn Players and Earth's Creation) were made by artists of color and/or explore international issues like increasing obesity rates (Pisupo Lua Afe) and toxic masculinity (En la Barberia, No Se Llora). More still needs to be done to make the field entirely accepting of all artists, however, the progress made recently in the field should still be acknowledged.

Architecture

  • Computers ๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ and drafting applications like AutoCAD and MicroStation have made planning buildings easier for architects
  • Advancements in technology have allowed architects to create less heavy, expensive, environmentally unfriendly structures (cough cough Romanesque architecture ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ)
  • Artists break rules on traditional materials, shapes, and lighting
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-JqpiGvdTv8cV.jpg?alt=media&token=dce2d542-b3da-4e35-b55c-b9e5dd795715

Image Courtesy of Guggenheim Bilbao. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-ftJF3KEwqLPA.jpg?alt=media&token=5ba8028f-5e51-450a-80f7-75c181ab2e80

Image Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects. MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts

Painting and Sculpture

  • Many works are a commentary of society (for example, Pink Panther โฌ‡๏ธ critiques pop culture, commercialism, stereotypes of blondes, and beauty standards)
  • Invention of acrylic paint ๐ŸŽจ provides a cheaper, quicker drying alternative to oil paint
  • Traditional canvas paintings and marble carving become less popular, although they are still seen
  • Experimentation with texture:
    • Magdalena Abakanowicz abandons the beauty standard of smooth skin in her sculpture Androgyne III and instead opts for crinkled skin made of string
    • Jeff Koon's Pink Panther is covered in a thick layer of polish for a glossy effect
    • Dancing at the Louvre, from the series The French Collection, Part I; #1 by Faith Ringgold incorporates media with different textures, including quilted fabric and acrylic ๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ on canvas
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-DVEcCkKRzkoB.jpg?alt=media&token=4ea92125-1525-47dd-ab0d-a9f5ed44ed00

Image Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art. Pink Panther

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-Be3wP5lV2EAj.jpg?alt=media&token=b97d9ae4-1947-4287-84b9-1a23b443b982

Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. Stadia II

And that's it! Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for getting through the entire AP Art History course. Hopefully, the past 10 unit guides will help as you study for any exams you have throughout the year and ace the final one in May. Happy studying and good luck ๐ŸŽ‰!

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๐Ÿ™Exam Reviews
๐ŸขUnit 10: Global Contemporary, 1980 ce to Present
๐Ÿ—ฟUnit 1: Global Prehistory, 30,000โ€“500 bce
๐Ÿ›Unit 2: Ancient Mediterranean, 3500 bceโ€“300 ce
โ›ช๏ธUnit 3: Early Europe and Colonial Americas, 200โ€“1750 ce
โš”๏ธUnit 4: Later Europe and Americas, 1750โ€“1980 ce
๐ŸŒฝUnit 5: Indigenous Americas, 1000 bceโ€“1980 ce
โšฑ๏ธUnit 6: Africa, 1100โ€“1980 ce
๐Ÿ•ŒUnit 7: West and Central Asia, 500 bceโ€“1980 ce
๐Ÿ›•Unit 8: South, East, and Southeast Asia, 300 bceโ€“1980 ce
๐ŸšUnit 9: The Pacific, 700โ€“1980 ce
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