24 Works of Modern Art That Shook the World


Scandal, outrage, censorship, rejection—these are words that crop up repeatedly in discussions about modern art. From Edouard Manet’s “indecent” Olympia (1865) to Chris Ofili’s “blasphemous” The Holy Virgin Mary (1996), the art of our time has created unprecedented conflict and misunderstanding between artists and society. In this course we will investigate modern art’s reputation for being transgressive, destructive, and incomprehensible. Through a series of case studies we will explore questions such as: what expectations and beliefs are challenged when artists push the boundaries of “normal” art, reality, and identity? What is the line between experimentation and transgression? What are the connections between artistic rule-breaking and political revolution? Is it possible for artists to go “too far”? 

To further explore these questions, participants in the course FFC 100-17 (Fall 2019) each investigated a painting, sculpture, performance or installation with a reputation for having shocked artistic conventions and social norms. Their essays are collected together in this virtual exhibition catalogue entitled 24 Works of Modern Art That Shook the World.


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