Asian Modernities Exist in “the Development of Abstract Art” Essay

976 Words Sep 22nd, 2015 4 Pages
ASIAN
CUBISM
1910
ASIAN
CUBISM
1910
YŌGA late 1800s

YŌGA late 1800s

NIHONGA
1898
NIHONGA
1898
Word Count: 790
Word Count: 790 Xueyan (Jessica) Wu
Professor Hong Kal
FA/VISA 2340
02 March 2015
ASIAN MODERNITIES EXIST IN “THE DEVELOPMENT OF ABSTRACT ART”

Asian modern art has been largely neglected by Western audiences; a simple reference to Rita Gilbert’s “Living with Art” timeline confirms this notion. As such, Alfred H. Barr, Jr. neglected to include Asian modern art in his seminal 1936 map, The Development of Abstract Art, and consequently, I have provided a revision.
Barr’s depiction epitomizes a European-dictated arrangement of art history, which excludes all versions of modernity not part of ‘his’ visual.
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expressionism, synthesism, cubism) plays into this essential contradiction. Pablo Picasso, the father of modern cubism, is a master of this cultural translation: his distinctive cubist style was foremost an adaptation, or a periphery, of colonial African art, which indicates to ambiguities inherent in its own formation. Yet African tribal art is merely acknowledged as an afterthought and not a valid movement, boxed in grey (Negro Sculpture), in Barr’s depiction – which seems dismissive, even bordering on ungrateful.

In the same vein, Asian cubism could be considered a periphery to its European father, or even a ‘hybrid’. But this ‘resemblance’ is insignificant, as Akira argues, and “… if a translation of cubism on the periphery could take on the meaning of advancement, [it] attained productive transformation...” In truth, this is precisely definitive of the progression of Asian modernism; perhaps, it is a failed imitation of modernism by Western standards, and an unwelcome endeavour by Asian standards, but on its own, it is a valuable entity heralding a new definition of modernity. To convey this development, I have penciled in “Asian cubism” on Barr’s map, derived (the arrow), beside, and smaller in size from its muse, “Cubism”. Whether it exists to the left, right, above, or otherwise, is not relevant; the intention is that it exists as a separate, valid definition of modernity.

This struggle to define modernity is not

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