Art Exhibition Class

Exhibition Planning &
Gallery Management




Week 1 Lecture: Curatorial Histories


Assignment #1 

Pick a topic for your Exhibition Project!

This week you should being looking into all kinds of possible topics for your exhibition project. 


You should try to select a topic where:

  1. You can find a lot of images related to the topic.
  2. You can find a lot of information related to the topic.
  3. You can pick a topic that will sustain your interest for the whole course. 


For your exhibition topic/ project you can choose to curate anything:

This can be an exhibition of:


Baseball Cards




Movie Posters

Etc., Etc. --- You can curate a show of anything!


After you pick the topic you need to set up some guidlines for research which include selecting:

What year or years will you research?

What culture or cultures will you research? 


Homework: You Must Select the following. 

  1. A topic of interest for your exhibition project.
  2. A time-frame to research.
  3. A space, location(s), culture(s), or continent(s) that your exhibition project will explore. 



(1) Spanish Baroque Painting, (2) 1600-1750, (3) Spain

(1) The Image Comics Revolution, (2) 1990-2000, (3) America

(1) Global Minimalism, (2) 1970-1980, (3) World cultures


5 Points total: 

1 Point for researching different topics – free point.

1 Point for choosing a topic: Declared topic

1 Point for choosing a time-frame: Declared time-frame

1 Point for choosing a space or location: Declared geographic interest

1 Point for identifying a cultural narrative: Declared cultural narrative Interest

















Optional Reading (Art 460/560):

[  ] A Short Guide to Writing About Art. By Sylvan Barnet: Formal Analysis (pgs. 81-100)

[  ] The Methodologies of Art: An Introduction. By Laurie Schneider Adams. Chapter 2: Formalism and Style.



Online Resources (Art 460/560)

Formalism in Modern Art

[  ]

Wiki Formalism (art)

[  ]

Tate: Formalism

[  ]

Who is Clement Greenberg, what is Formalism and what Greenberg thought about political art.

[  ]




Video Resources (Total combined time: 47:98mins) (Art 460/560)

What is formalism? (1:49mins)

[  ]

Formalism - What is it? Why does it matter? (19:11mins)

How to Look at Art-Formal Analysis (2:11mins)

[  ]

Formal Analysis (11:03mins)

[  ]

Introducing Art History: formal analysis (24:24)

[  ]




Famous Formalist Critics (Art 560)

Clement Greenberg (Publications)

[  ]

Books by Clemenet Greenberg

Clement Greenberg, The Clollected Essays and Criticism: Volume 1: Perceptions and Judgmenes, 1934-144, ed. John O'Brian, Clemeent Greenberg, The Clollected Essays and Criticism: Volume 2: Arrogant Purpose. 1945-1948 ed. John O'BrianClemeent Greenberg, The Clollected Essays and Criticism: Volume 2: Arrogant Purpose. 1945-1948 ed. John O'BrianClemeent Greenberg, The Clollected Essays and Criticism: Volume 3: Affirmations and Refusals. 1950-1956 ed. John O'BrianClemeent Greenberg, The Clollected Essays and Criticism: Volume 4: Modernism with a Vengence 1957-1969 ed. John O'Brian, Clement Greenberg, Art and Culture: Critical Essays, Clement Greenberg: Homemade Esthetics: Observations on Art and Taste, Clemenet Greenberg, Late Writings.

The Animated Theories of Clement Greenberg

Avant-Garde and Kitsch:

Harold Rosenberg (Publications)

[  ]

Greenberg vs. Rosenberg:

Clive Bell (Publications)

[  ]

Rodger Fry (Publications)

[  ]




Formalist in the 20th Century

This method of writing and curating is often use to described formal innovations in a body of work, or as a means of decoding how form can be considered to be a type of content in and of itself. Formalism was the dominate mode of criticism by the mid-twentieth century, and it was used to make teleological arguments about canonization, quality, and the teleology of art (the direction art was heading). 

Today, the formalist legacy lives on inasmuch as we still think of Masterpieces as formal  or "technical" achievements that comprise a cultural legacy and/or cultural legacies that are innovative, and challenging. Formalism, as a school of thought sees form and content as intrinsically linked, and that form has the place of primacy as a carrier for content. Most formalist criticism become synonymous with "organic unity", the "truth of materials", and "medium specificity".

Schools of abstraction that were tied to formalism include Abstract Expressionism, Post Painterly Abstraction, Geometric Abstraction, Hard Edge Painting, Minimalism and many other movements. 




Formalism as Method

Formalism as a method of analysis and formal inventiveness as it has come to be associated with "the shock of the new" was the driving force behind many the biggest shows of the 20th century, and these shows often lead to later canonization. 

Example of a Formalist Art review:



CLASS DISCUSSION - What makes for a great work of art? 



1. Leonardo Da Vinci, The Fetus in the Womb 1510-1513

2. Caravaggio, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, 1608

Rembrandt, Self Portrait with Two Circles, 1665-69

3. Rembrandt, Self-Portrait with Two Circles, 1665-69

4. Chalet Cave Paintings, (30,000 years ago)

5. Jackson Pollock, One, Number 31, 1950

6. Valequez, Las Meninas, 1656

7. Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937

8. Michelangelo, Prisoners 1519-34

9. Parthenon Sculptures 447-442 BC

10. Cezanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1902-04



1. Paul Cezanne, Mont Saitne-Victoire, 1902

2. Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907

3. Henri Matisse, The Dance, 1909-1910

4. George Braque, Man with a Guitar 1911-1912

5. Umberto Boccioni, Unique Froms of Continuity in Space 1913

6. Kasmir Malevich, Black Square, 1915

7. Rene Magritte, The Treachery of Images 1928-29

8. Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917

9. Hannah Hoch, Cut with the kitchen knife Dad through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, 1919-1920

10. Jackson Pollock, Lavender Mist, 1950



Peter Doig, 100 Years Ago, 2000.

Luc Tuymans, Lumumbra, 2000.

Julie Mehertu, Dispersion, 2002.

Ibrahim El-Salahi, The Tree, 2003.

Brice Marden, The Event, 2004-2007.

Maria Lessing, Krankenhaus (hospital) 2005.

Glen Brown, The Hinterland, 2006.

Marlene Dumas, The Blindfolded Man, 2007.

George Condo, Orgy Compositon, 2008.

Lisa Yuskavage, Pie Face, 2008.

Ellen Altfast, Armpit, 2011.

Tomma Abts,UPHE, 2011 



Louise Bourgeois, I Do, Undo, Redo, 2000.

Rafael Rozondaal,, 2001.

Cornelia Konrad, Grash Works, 2002.

Dario-Robleto, Caught in Man’s Amnesia, 2003.

Ron English, MC Supersized, 2004.

Kehinde Wiley, Napolean Leading the Army over the Alps, 2005.

Cy Twonbly, Untitled (Blooming: A Scattering of Blossoms and Other Things, 2006.

Julie Mehretu, Black City, 2007.

Sephard Fairey, Hope (Poster), 2008.

Michalene Thomas, Something you Can Feel, 2009.

Martynka Wawrzyniak, Lipstick (four), 2010.

Ai Weiwei, Sofa in White, 2011.

Pussy Riot, Punk Prayer – Mother of God Chase Putin Away, 2012.

Yayoi Kusama, Inifinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2012. 




1.    Pablo PicassoLes Demoiselles d'Avignon (Cubist: 1907Pablo PicassoGuernica (Surrealist: 1937

2.    Umberto BoccioniUnique Forms of Continuity in Space (Futurist: 1913)

3.    Marcel DuchampNude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (Futurist: 1912)

4.    Vladimir Tatlin, Monument to the Third International (Russian Constructivism: 1919-20)

5.    Salvador DaliThe Persistence of Memory (Surrealist: 1931)

6.    Constantin Brancusi, Bird in Space (1928)

7.    Robert Smithson, SpiralJetty (Conceptual Art: 1970)

8.    Gustav KlimtThe Kiss (Art Nouveau: 1907-08)

9.    Marcel DuchampThe Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (Dada: 1915-1923)

10. Marcel Duchamp, Fountain (Dada: 1917)

11. Rene Magritte, The Human Condition I (Surrealist: 1933)

12. Paul Cézanne, Mont Ste-Victoire (Impressionist: 1904-1906)

13. Constantin BrancusiThe Kiss (Transcendentalism: 1908)

15. Willem de Kooning, Woman I (Abstract Expressionist: 1952)

16. Max Ernst, Elephant of the Celebes (Surrealist: 1921)

17. Edward Hopper, Nighthawks (American Realist: 1942)

18. Henri Matisse, The Dance (Fauvist: 1910)

19. Max Beckman, Departure (Expressionist: 1933)

21. Jasper Johns, US Flag (Neo-Dada: 1958)

22. Jackson PollockAutumn Rhythm (Abstract Expressionist: 1950)

23. Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel (Dada: 1913)

24. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Berlin Street Scene (Expressionist: 1913)

25. Paul Cezanne, The Large Bathers (Impressionist: 1905)

26. Gustav Klimt, Judith and Holofernes (Art Nouveau: 1901)

27. David Hockney, A Bigger Splash (Pop Art: 1967)

28. Henri Matisse, Luxe, Calme et Volupte (Fauvist: 1904)

29. Giorgio de Chirico, Melancholy and Mystery of a Street (Surrealist: 1914)

30. Meret Oppenheim, Object: Lunch in Fur (Dada: 1936)

31. Joan MiroBirth of the World (Surrealist: 1925)

32. Max Ernst, The Robing of the Bride (Surrealist: 1940)

33. Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Horse (Futurist: 1914)

34. George Bellows, Stag at Sharkey's (American Realist: 1907)

35. Jasper Johns, Target with Four Faces (Neo-Dada: 1955)

36. Umberto Boccioni, The City Rises (Futurist: 1910)

37. Henri Matisse, The Joy of Life (Fauvist: 1905-06)

38. Mark Rothko, Orange and Yellow (Abstract Expressionist: 1956)

39. Roy Lichtenstein, M-Maybe (Pop Art: 1965)

40. Joan Miro, Composition (Surrealist: 1933)

41. Andy WarholMarilyn Diptych (Pop Art: 1962)

42. Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Can (Pop Art: 1962)

43. Carlo CarraFuneral of the Anarchist Galli (Futurist: 1911)

44. Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VII (Der Blaue Reiter: 1913)

45. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Five Women in the Street (Expressionist: 1913)

46. Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Ambrose Vollard (Cubist: 1909-10)

47. Claude Monet, Waterlilies (Impressionist: 1907)

48. Henri RousseauThe Snake Charmer (Primitive Art: 1907)

49. Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning (American Realist: 1930) 

50. Aristide Maillol, The Mediterranean (1902-05)

51. Georgia O'Keefe, Black Iris (American Realist: 1926)

52. Pablo Picasso, The Three Dancers (Cubist: 1925)

53. Grant Wood, American Gothic (American Realist: 1930)

54. Paul KleeTwittering Machine (Blaue Reiter: 1922)

55. Yves Klein, Anthropometry Performance (Neo-Dada Performance Art: 1960)

56. Edvard Munch, Dance of Life (Expressionist: 1900)

57. Diego Rivera, The Arsenal: Frida Kahlo Distributes Arms (Socialist Realist: 1928)

58. Vera MukhinaWorker and Farm Girl (Socialist Realist: 1937)

59. Alberto Burri, Sacking and Red (1954)

60. Andrew Wyeth, Christina's World (American Realist: 1948)

61. Giacomo Balla, Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (Futurism: 1912)

62. Francis Bacon, Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef (Expressionist: 1954)

63. Pierre Bonnard, Nude in Bath (Impressionist: 1936)

64. Francis Picabia, Amorous Parade (Dada: 1917)

65. Max Beckmann, Self-portrait with a Red Scarf (1917)

66. Christo, Surrounded Islands (Conceptual Art: 1980-83)

67. Fernand LegerThe Builders (Cubist: 1950)

68. Pablo Picasso, Girl with Mandolin (Cubist: 1910)

69. Henri Matisse, Harmony in Red (Fauvist: 1908)

70. Wassily Kandinsky, Improvisation No. 30 (Abstract Expressionist: 1913)

71. Robert Rauschenberg, Retroactive I (Neo-Dada: 1964)

72. Henri Matisse, The Green Stripe (Fauvist: 1905)

73. Giorgio de Chirico, Uncertainty of the Poet (Surrealist: 1913)

74. Piet MondrianComposition with Red, Yellow and Blue (De Stijl: 1930)

75. Juan Gris, Homage to Pablo Picasso (Cubist: 1912)

76. Raoul Hausmann, The Spirit of Our Time (Dada: 1919)

77. Jackson Pollack, Blue Poles, (Abstract Expressionist: 1948)

78. George Grosz, Gray Day: banker, veteran and ditch-digger, to work. (New Objectivity: 1921)

79. Robert Delaunay, The Eiffel Tower (Cubist: 1911)

80. Kurt Schwitters, Merzbild 25A, The Star Picture (Dada: 1920)

81. Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs (Conceptual Art: 1965)

82. Henry Moore, Reclining Figure (1929)

83. Pablo Picasso, Self-Portrait (Cubist: 1903)

84. Francis Bacon, Study of Red Pope (Study from Innocent X) (1962)

85. Umberto Boccioni, States of Mind I: The Farewells (1911)

86. Umberto Boccioni, The Noises of the Street Invade the House (1911)

87. Judy ChicagoThe Dinner Party (1974)

88. Alberto Giacometti, Walking Man (1960)

89. Henri Matisse, Blue Nude (Fauvist: 1952)

90. Marc Chagall, I and the Village (1911)

91. Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept (1951)

92. Ad ReinhardtBlack Painting (Abstract Expressionist: 1960-66)

93. Peter Halley, CUSeeMe (1995)

94. John Heartfield, Hurray, the Butter is Gone! (Dada: 1935)

95. Eduardo Paolozzi, I was a Rich Man's Plaything (Neo-Dada: 1947)

96. Dorothea Tanning, A Little Night Music (Surrealist: 1946)

97. Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (Post-Modernist: 1991)

98. Jenny Holzer, Protect Me From What I Want (Conceptual Art: 1985-86)

99. Hermann Nitsch, Orgien Mysterien Theater (1985)

100. Giorgio de Chirico, Song of Love (Surrealist: 1914)




CASE STUDIES: "Masterpiece Shows": Individuals / Genres / Time or Place / Marketplace 


Masters shows of Single Artists

Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso - Seattle Art Museum 405,976:​


Masters of a Genre of Art

Master of Impressionism - Claude Monet - K11 Art Mall, Shanghi - 340,000 visitor.


Salvador Dali: Master of Surrealism / Mind of a Genuis - National Palace Museum, Taipei - 973,995



Salidor Dali: Master of Surrealism​​


Master shows of a group of artists from a Time or Place: 


Nation Tresures of Japan, Tokyo - 386,708:


Great Mastes of the Ming Danasty, National Palace Musuem, Taipei - 1,131,788.


"The word “masterpiece” appeared in the title of 22 shows in the survey, often followed by “from the”. Besides the Mauritshuis, Orsay and Hermitage, lending institutions that sent shows abroad which attracted big crowds included the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Madrid’s Prado and the Musée National Picasso, Paris. Boston’s Japanese art and the Prado’s Goyas were popular in Tokyo. Picassos from the Musée National Picasso pulled in the crowds (and income for the Paris museum, which is closed for refurbishment) in Toronto and Sydney as they did in 2011 in Seattle, San Francisco and Richmond, Virginia."


Masters shows at Art Fairs

Frieze Masters: 28- Groups in Attendence:



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