Some background

videos + essays

Link to the MoMA's website

Gertrud Arndt, <em>Self-Portrait with Veil</em>
Gertrud Arndt, Self-Portrait with Veil

Arndt’s choice to pose herself among so many textures, clothes, and props in Self-Portrait with Veil suggests she was well aware of the power of photography to interrogate gender roles.

Gino Severini, <em>Dynamic Hieroglyph of the Bal Tabarin</em>
Gino Severini, Dynamic Hieroglyph of the Bal Tabarin

Severini and Boccioni use brilliant colors, abstraction, fragmentation and repetition of forms to create a vibrant whirling energy.

Umberto Boccioni and the Futurist City
Umberto Boccioni and the Futurist City

The Futurists called for the destruction of museums, libraries, and cultural monuments and glorified modern technology and the speed of automobiles, trains, and airplanes.

Why Is This Woman in the Jungle? Henri Rousseau’s <em>The Dream</em>
Why Is This Woman in the Jungle? Henri Rousseau’s The Dream

Artist Henri Rousseau painted The Dream in 1910, and it's imagery of a woman lounging on a sofa in the jungle was as surreal then as it is today.

Pablo Picasso, <em>The Three Musicians</em>
Pablo Picasso, The Three Musicians

Three Musicians looks like a collage made from cut out pieces of colored paper — but it is an oil painting.

Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso: Two Cubist Musicians
Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso: Two Cubist Musicians

When we consider what a Cubist painting represents we engage in an intellectual or conceptual activity rather than a merely perceptual or visual one.

Icon and irony: Jasper Johns, <em>Flag</em>
Icon and irony: Jasper Johns, Flag

The American flag is a potent symbol that has different meanings for different viewers.

Sigmar Polke, <em>Watchtower</em> series
Sigmar Polke, Watchtower series

Cheap fabric with a garish print becomes an eerie specter of surveillance thanks to some creative chemistry.

A new world after the Russian Revolution: Malevich’s <em>Suprematist Composition: White on White</em>
A new world after the Russian Revolution: Malevich’s Suprematist Composition: White on White

Malevich believed that artists, and art, could pave the way to a better future. But would they?

Joseph Kosuth, <em>One and Three Chairs</em>
Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs

Kosuth wrote that “being an artist now means to question the nature of art.” Take a seat to find out how he did it.

László Moholy-Nagy, <em>Telephone Pictures</em>
László Moholy-Nagy, Telephone Pictures

Moholy-Nagy claimed to create these objects without touching them or even seeing them—how does that work?

Giacomo Balla, <em> Street Light</em>
Giacomo Balla, Street Light

Rejecting traditional subject matter, Balla paints an object that is forthrightly modern and technological.