Lecture by Gerald Deslandes: European and American Art 1970 – 2015

I was lucky enough yesterday to be invited to attend an art lecture for IB students at the Sotogrande International School, near to where I live.  Here are some notes taken and my thoughts about it. I have added in some images that interested me.

Why has art changed over the years? This has been mainly down to wars, inventions, globalisation, technology and the end of manufacturing – now we have a service economy. Art and artists started to change and become less important than popular culture.

Actual skills of the artist became less important. For example, Andy Warhol had his factory to produce his ideas (that he had taken form elsewhere, ie the soup cans); Carl Andre’s Bricks installation  (he did not make the bricks or even install them himself) and Daniel Burren’s ‘White on white on grey’ did not require any artistic skill. This kind of art is geared towards big companies, art galleries and not for the average home.

Chris Burden’s ‘reasons for the neutron bomb’ 1979, used matchsticks on coins to represent the number of tanks in europe, justifying the need for the bomb. So he is making a political statement here.

(image source: http://www.feldmangallery.com/pages/exhsolo/exhbur79.html)detail3-01

Joseph Beuys lecture is his artwork, Richard Long’s’ England 1968′ was a line he made by walking, Robert Smithson’s ‘Spiral jetty’ was an actual jetty built into a lake in Utah, which is sometimes visible and sometimes below the waterline. This sort of art is very organic and certainly not permanent in any way, subject to the will of the elements. Although, of course, it is recorded at the time in photographs.

(source of image: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-1010/minimalism-earthworks/a/smithsons-spiral-jetty)spiral-jetty

Female artists made statements about women and their roles in society. The Guerilla Girls asked where where all the female artists and why were all the women in the Met. museum nudes? (image source: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/guerrilla-girls-do-women-have-to-be-naked-to-get-into-the-met-museum-p78793) Art to make you think and ask questions…..Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum? 1989 by Guerrilla Girls

Kara Walker is an African-American artist who race and gender identity in her work. In her work ‘silhouettes’ she addresses racism and slavery through paper cutouts. This is deliberately ironic as she has used a gentle pastime to show something brutal and evil.


Santiago Sierra tattooed people in exchange for money, or drugs, to form an 8 foot line. This makes me feel uncomfortable, I feel it is rather exploitative and raises ethical questions, which I presume was the point of it!.

(image source: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sierra-160-cm-line-tattooed-on-4-people-el-gallo-arte-contemporaneo-salamanca-spain-t11852160 cm Line Tattooed on 4 People El Gallo Arte Contemporáneo. Salamanca, Spain. December 2000 2000 by Santiago Sierra born 1966


Deslandes had worked for art galleries and said that he had found time and time again that artist’s wished to limit peoples knowledge of their work, to make it more exclusive. If it became accessible to the masses them it would somehow lose its value.

Anslem Kiefer: ‘The paths of World Wisdom’ is a kind of mind map of all the German philosophers and great thinkers, this may mean we have lost our sense of meaning in the world? (image source: https://www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/en/works/the-paths-of-world-wisdom-hermanns-battle/) kiefer_a_los-caminos-de-la-sabiduria-del-mundo_la-batalla-de-hermann-560x453


I have not written about all the work that was mentioned, but I do have lots of notes in my sketchpad to refer back to which I think will be very useful for research in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture by this very knowledgeable man.

A lot of the work we looked at today has a statement to make, which may or may not have been relevant to changes happening in the world at the time, or a story to tell, and this has made me think about how my own art work can start from the need to say something, based on my own feelings or beliefs. To think of a story or a statement as preparation and inspiration as well as sketches may well help me to inform my work.





Author: Wendy Kate

Happily sharing my life in Spain with a tall bearded man from Dorset.

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