Given our current situation, this paper will focus on past global emergencies in the modern era: pandemics, economic depressions and/or World Wars (I & II). The timeframe is from 1900 to 1960.
Although we have focused on American and European artists in class, for this essay I encourage you to also look at Chinese and Korean artists in the same period (1900-1960).
Keep in mind the following:
There were serious world-wide repercussions of the financial disaster we call the Great Depression (1929-1939).
There was a wide-spread climate-change event called the Dust Bowl in the 1930â€™s that affected the entire American nation (including New York City) and the world.
Two global conflicts (World War I and II) caused millions of deaths, economic disasters, and a reshaping of geo-political powers.
In these tough and terrifying times (not unlike what we are now experiencing), many artists took to their medium of choice and described experience, terror, poverty, and death in their work.
Here are some suggested examples of artists you can research and observe. They are among the many who represented peopleâ€™s hardship and pain during harrowing times:
Photographer Dorothea Lange and artist Millard Sheets (1930â€™s Depression in America)
Alexandre Hogue for Dust Bowl visuals
KÃ¤the Kollwitz (German pandemic and financial depression)
Otto Dix or Max Beckmann (German painters and printmakers)
Write a research paper (600 words) discussing one of the themes described above (pandemics, economic depressions, wars) and focus on two artists that speak to the terror of their times. Observe what they represent and how they portray the experience. Observe the works through the lens of national identity, gender, patriarchy, or industrialization.
Answer these questions:
Are these images romanticized or graphic?
Why do you think the artists chose to handle their work in this manner?
How did their work reflect the angst of their times?