abstract--Art that looks as if it contains little
or no recognizable or realistic forms from the physical world. Focus
on formal elements such as colors, lines, or shapes. Artists often
"abstract" objects by changing, simplifying, or exaggerating what
anecdote--A short story of some interesting or
collage created from a group of everyday objects, many times pre-made
and put together in a specific way.
autobiographical--Telling the story of your own
avant-garde--Describes new and innovative art
or artists that depart from tradition to experiment with a new style,
technique, or subject matter. From the French word for "vanguard."
Belief system--All cultures develop a system
of values that are applied to meet a culture's needs. Our understanding
of the values of a culture and our acceptance or rejection of those
values is often based upon our own cultural belief system.
caricature--A representation of a person that
exaggerates or distorts certain recognizable features, often concentrating
on personal as well as physical features.
chrysalis--The casing, or pupa, of an undeveloped
collaboration--To work together in an artistic
cultural reclamation--The act of "looking for,
searching out, and piecing together aspects of lost or hidden legacies."
Depression--A period during the 1930s of drastic
decline in the economy characterized by decreasing business activity,
falling prices and unemployment.
environmental art--Art that focuses on human interaction
with their environments such as pollution and land use.
expressionism--Generally, expressionism (with
a lower case e) refers to any art that emphasizes strong
emotions or feelings. Shortly before World War I, a group of artists
in Germany set as their goal the depiction of emotional and psychological
concerns of themselves and their times. Some of these German Expressionists
(with an upper case E) used strong color contrasts, angular
simplified forms, and heavy black outlines to express their anger
and hostility; others explored color and abstraction to express
spiritual or mystical ideas.
Federal Arts Project (FAP)--A program organized
by the U. S. Government in 1935 during the Depression designed to
employ artists by placing them on the Federal payroll and in return
having the works they producedÑwhich included murals,photographs,
archival drawings and easel paintingsÑbe submitted to the
government for use in public buildings. By the time it was dissolved
on 1943, the FAP had employed ten thousand artists.
foreground--The part of the picture that appears
to be closest to the viewer.
found objects--sculpture materials from everyday
gesture--A motion of the body as a means of communication
grisaille--A painting technique using only grey
Historical and cultural context--Refers to what
the artist was trying to express considering the history, period,
school, style or cultural influences evident during the time in
which the art was created.
icon--An image or representation of something
that may be considered sacred or symbolic.
identity--The distinguishing character or personality
of an individual; the condition of being the same with something
described or asserted.
Impressionism--A movement in
painting in which the emphasis on light and color, loose brush strokes,
ordinary subject matter; creates the "impression" of a moment in
time. Dabs and strokes of color are used to depict the natural appearances
of objects and reflected light.
juxtaposition--To place two different things
side by side.
kitsch--Art using popular culture icons, mass-produced
objects; means "worthless" in German.
Mastaba--The Egyptians didn't become great pyramid
builders right away. They started by cutting tombs into the rock
of the desert floor and building mastabas (from the Arab word meaning
"bench") over them. Mastabas were raised, flat, platforms. Some
were as large as twenty-five feet high and two-hundred feet square.
Ordinarily a burial chamber was cut into rock below ground level.
Megalithic--A period dating back to as early
as 5000 bce.. Marked by the establishment of huge architectural
monuments. Early megalithic man-made monuments, such as Stonehenge,
were massive, upright stones. Almost 50,000 of these structures
metaphor--An idea or image that stands for something
Minimalism--A style of art in which the least
possible amount of form shapes, colors, or lines are used to reduce
the concept or idea to its simplest form (geometric shapes, progressions).
modernist, modernism--In art history, this term
refers to the philosophies of art made in Europe and the United
States during a period roughly from 1860s through the 1970s when
certain artists began to take radical steps away from traditional
art in order to be deliberately different, critical, and often dissenting
from the dominant official taste. Modern art or modernism is characterized
by changing attitudes about art, an interest in contemporary events
as subjects, personal artistic expression, and freedom from realism.
Modernism can be seen as artistsO attempts to come to terms with
the urban, industrial and secular society that emerged during the
nineteenth century in Western society.
montage--The process of making one picture from
many pictures or designs closely arranged or overlapping each other.
motif--A dominant theme, idea, or pattern in a
work of art. Motifs are often repeated.
occult--Ideas having to do with the supernatural
and mysterious; specifically, in the early 20th Century, a system
of Ohidden truthsO leading to metaphysical revelations.
organic--Things pertaining to living organisms
or something from the natural world. In art, organic shapes are
derived from natural forms.
petroglyphs--An ancient carving or inscription
in a rock.
picture plane--The surface of a picture.
Photorealism--A style of painting in which an
image is created in such exact detail that it looks like a photograph;
uses everyday subject matter, and often is larger
pointillism--A painting technique in which a white
background is covered with tiny dots of pure color that fuse when
seen from a distance producing a luminous visual effect.
Pop art--An art movement associated with the 1960s
in the United States in which artists incorporated imagery and/or
media from popular culture such as advertisements, mass produced
objects, movies, and comics.
popular culture -The opposite of high cultural
art forms, such as the opera, historic art, classical music, traditional
theater or literature; popular culture includes many forms of cultural
communication including newspapers, television, advertising, comics,
pop music, radio, cheap novels, movies, jazz, etc. In the beginning
of the 20th Century, "high art" was the realm of the wealthy
and educated classes while popular culture or "low art"
was considered commercial entertainment for the lower classes. In
the 1950s and 60s the gulf between high and low art closed with
the rise of Pop Art.
Poro Society--The secret association for men
in Mende society.
repetitive pattern--A visual
shape (or dance step or musical note) that is repeated over and
representational--Depicts an object in nature
in recognizable form.
Rituals and Traditions--As a culture evolves,
common practices develop that influence the members of that culture.
Sande Society--The secret association for women
in Mende society.
scarification--Permanent patterned marks made
by small scratches or cuts in the skin. In many parts of Africa
these scars are marks of beauty and a way to identify someone belonging
to a particular group.
sharecropper--A tenant farmer who gives a share
of his crop to the landowner in lieu of rent.
Stagnant Civilization--The best example of this
concept is the Egyptian civilization that flourished for about 3000
years. Because of its cultural obsession with immortality, the Egyptian's
rituals and traditions were concerned with assuring a comfortable