Niloofar Gholamrezaei – Rethinking New Objectivity in Alfred Barr’s Chart of Modern Art in 1936

Present Ph.D. Student, Fine Arts: Critical Studies and Artistic Practice, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX.

  • 2014 MFA, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2010 BA, Painting, Tehran University of Art, Tehran, Iran.
  • 2004 College, Visual Arts, Avini School of Art, Tehran, Iran.
  • 2003 High School, Graphic Design, Avini School of Art, Tehran, Iran.

 

AWARDS:

  • 2015-2019 Graduate Recruitment Fellowship, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX.
  • 2015-2018 Richard and Sybil Dickey Art Scholarship, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX.
  • 2016-2017 Alan& Lee Ann White Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX.
  • 2012-2014 International Student Scholarship, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2013 Fellowships of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2013 Resident Advisory Award, International House Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • 2017 Graduate Part-Time Instructor, Texas Tech University, Art Appreciation
  • 2016-2017 Graduate Part-Time Instructor, Texas Tech University, Foundation Drawing
  • 2015- 2016 Teaching Assistant, Texas Tech University, Art Appreciation
  • 2013 Teaching Assistant, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Head Structure
  • 2013 Teaching Assistant, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Introduction to Artistic Anatomy

Topic:
Rethinking New Objectivity in Alfred Barr’s Chart of Modern Art in 1936

New Objectivity was an artistic trend in the heart of Modernism, which was based on the Western representational painting. I think that rethinking this movement in that context can also help us to think of the position of representational painting in the contemporary art differently. Is representational painting necessarily a “traditional” artistic approach? In this research, I will argue how New Objectivity, the German representational painting in the 20th century was not a traditional movement but a Modern one.

Alfred H. Barr, in the Catalogue of the Modern Art Exhibition at MoMA in 1936, writes a concrete history of modernism. In his catalog, he identifies the modern art as a linear removal from realism toward abstraction. Therefore, for him, modernism is a movement that gradually left realism and moved toward formal purity and abstract forms. Here, Alfred Barr excludes the artistic tendency in 1920 Germany, New Objectivity, or Neue Sachlichkeit, from his definition of modernism. Instead, it seems that he associates the realism and classical style incorporated in New Objectivity with the post-war I tendency toward tradition that was mainly used by Fascist ideology.

My primary concern in this paper is New Objectivity’s position toward modernism. Here, I am challenging Barr’s model of modern art in which he easily excludes New Objectivity from the modernist movements. In this paper, I will argue that New Objectivity has more in common with modern paintings than Nazi’s classical interests. I will ground my argument on the assumption about the concept of time in modern art. Indeed, I will explore that a critical aspect of modern art is its self-consciousness. I will explain that a feature of such consciousness is the subject’s consciousness of time. Therefore modern art reflects subject’s consciousness of time by having a spontaneous connection to the temporal time in which a modern subject exist. Having this assumption in mind, I will argue and will explain that New Objectivity can be thought of a modern art because it embodies modernism’s consciousness by having a critical look to the chaos and nihilism imposed by Dada movement. Painters associated with New Objectivity attack their past, or tradition which is Dadaism to establish order and objectivity that was a need of their contemporary society. Such consciousness of time, I argue, make the movement a Modern trend.