Tate Britain

Exploring Modern and Contemporary Art

Tate Britain
In Liverpool

Price on request
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Important information

Typology Course
Location Liverpool
Duration 9 Weeks
  • Course
  • Liverpool
  • Duration:
    9 Weeks

Facilities (1)
Where and when



Liverpool (Merseyside)
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Albert Dock, L3 4BB


On request

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Course programme

Modern Art Remixed: Exploring Modern and Contemporary Art
Term Two: Beyond the Myth

Led by Mat Gregory and Jane Morrow.

This dynamic new introductory course offers a fresh and insightful look at modern and contemporary art, examining the developments, theories, concepts and myths that have shaped modern art over the last 100 years from a variety of perspectives. Led by art historians Mat Gregory and Jane Morrow, who led the course Re-view: Exploring Twentieth Century Art at Tate Liverpool last year, each weekly session combines themed illustrated presentations with workshops held in the galleries, exploring Tate Liverpool's new collection display The DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture.

Modern Art Remixed takes a thematic rather than chronological approach to the story of modern art, examining not only the techniques and materials employed by artists of the modernist period, but also the wider social and cultural context in which these art works were both created and received. More than just an introductory art history class, this is a unique opportunity to discuss the work of seminal artists up close and at first hand in an open and informal environment. No experience necessary.

Term Two: Beyond the Myth

Beyond the Myth is the second of three exciting, independent ten-week terms, focusing specifically upon the role, the tradition, and the myth of the artist. Throughout the history of modern and contemporary art, artists have been variously perceived as celebrities, enigmas, misfits, geniuses, opportunists, eccentrics, visionaries, comedians, revolutionaries, and trouble-makers ...amongst other things. This term re-evaluates the work of some of the legendary names of modern art, as well as some less familiar figures, exploring, exposing, and examining what some consider to be the myth of the artist.

Week One: State of Mind

The thing is that at different times you see with different eyes. You see differently in the morning than in the evening. The way in which you see is also dependent on your state of mind.' (Edvard Munch)

In the mid-nineteenth century the preoccupation for painting realistic objects as they are seen (termed Naturalism) was still the standard set by the French Academy to determine the success of an artist. This notion was vehemently abandoned by the avant garde; Artists such as Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch started to create works based upon their own subjective vision of how they saw the world. This session will focus upon these artists, exploring their lives and how at their own admission their sometimes troubled state of mind could be reflected in their work.

Week Two: Beyond the Readymade: The Legacy of Marcel Duchamp

‘I don't believe in Art. I believe in artists.' (Marcel Duchamp)

As early as 1912, Marcel Duchamp renounced the kind of art that only appealed to the eye: work which he referred to as ‘retinal art.' Duchamp pronounced that art existed in the idea rather than the object; that what was in the mind and intentions of artists was far more important than what they thought or felt about beauty, or what they made with their hands. From Pop Art, to Conceptual Art, to the work of contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, this session will explore and examine the legacy of Marcel Duchamp.

Week Three: The Genius

‘There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.' (Pablo Picasso)

No other modern artist has been given as much accolade for changing the very nature of Western art as Pablo Picasso. A self proclaimed genius, Picasso's influence can be attributed to many twentieth century art movements including Cubism, Constructivism and Abstract Expressionism. This week we look at his remarkable life, reconsidering the myths surrounding this idea of genius, and examining the significance and consequences of Picasso's legacy.

Week Four: A Different You

This week we examine the issue of identity ...not the real identity of the artist, but artists whose work has questioned the very notion of self and personality through the creation of alternative personas. From the faked psychosis of contemporary Swedish artist Anna Odell, to the untitled film stills of Cindy Sherman, to the nine years American artist Lynn Hershman spent (intermittently) living the imaginary life of ‘Roberta Brietmore', this week we explore the alter-ego in modern and contemporary art.

Week Five: The Legend

Throughout the 1950's and 60's Jackson Pollock became known as the chief American artist and exponent of Abstract Expressionism. Heralded by major art critic Clement Greenberg as the greatest painter of his time, and dismissed in 1956 as ‘Jack the Dripper' in ‘Time' magazine, Pollock's new style of painting abandoned the traditional easel and paintbrush in favour of pouring paint straight onto the floor, making his work revolutionary. This session will focus not only on the work of Pollock, but also investigate his ‘rock and roll' lifestyle of jazz, drink and depression. We will explore what lead up to his untimely death at the age of 44, fuelling his superstar status as an art legend.

Week Six:

Beyond Reason: Art and Absurdity

‘For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity.' (Jean Dubuffet)

Notions such as absurdity, childishness, insanity, and naivety have informed some of the most controversial and influential works of art of the Twentieth century. From Dada, to Surrealism, to Art Informel, to contemporary artists such as David Shrigley, the thin and ambiguous line that separates logic and illogic has provided rich ground for social commentary in art. This week's session explores the use of absurd and unreal imagery as a way to deal with, highlight, and expose what we're all thinking but never dare to say!

Week Seven: Behind Every Great Man

This week we will explore the relationships between seminal artists such as Rodin, Picasso and Pollock to name but a few, and the women in their lives such as Camille Claudel, Dora Maar and Lee Krasner. All talented artists in their own right but previously considered secondary to their partner's success, we will examine and discuss the impact that these women had on such famous men, whilst reacquainting ourselves with these previously uncelebrated female artists. An exciting and insightful session!

Week Eight: The Tortured Body

From paintings depicting classical and religious figures, to life-like portraits of kings, gentry and self-made men, the representation of the ‘single figure' in painting has been of central importance for centuries. However, it could be argued that for this reason alone, the distortion and deconstruction of the human figure became such an important devise during the modern period. This week's session explores some of the personal, political, and creative reasons that have underpinned the distortion of the human form in art throughout the twentieth century, examining the work of artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon, and Germaine Richier.

Week Nine: Behind Closed Doors

‘Art is not about art. Art is about life and that sums it up.' (Louise Bourgeois)

In the same vein that Munch and Van Gogh conveyed their subjective visions through their art, many contemporary artists seek too to break further boundaries in expressing themselves and their observations of life and society. Artists such as Louise Bourgeois and The Chapman Brothers frequently explore conceptions of Sex, death, violence and fetish, drawing in many cases upon their own experiences in their art. This session delves into the contemporary artists' expression of human nature, whilst also exploring notions of ‘the uncanny' and the taboo.

Week Ten: The -?- Factor

Whether we're thinking about Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Andy Warhol, or Michelangelo, money, fame, public recognition, and money (again) have been part and parcel of the lives of successful artists ...so long as they manage it within their own lifetimes! This week's session uses historical precedents as a basis to examine the public status of the contemporary artist. Many people might agree that we are living in a media saturated, fame-obsessed society, but have things ever been any different in the world of art? This presentation takes a look at contemporary art in terms of fame, and fortune, and everything that goes with it...

Additional information

Payment options: £120 (£95 concessions), booking required. Price includes materials and refreshments. Price is per term.

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