Modernism historiography and modernist narratives


1. To have an in-depht knowlege of the foundations and main artistic developments of modernism;
2. To master the main theoretical and historiographical references to modernism and the debates associated to them;
3. To understand the solidarity between formalism and modernist narratives;
4. To understand the polysemic nature of the concept of modernism and the terms of its association to the idea of avantgarde;
5. To master the revision to which the concept of modernism has been subjected and the terms of its acceptance as a plural concept;
6. To ponder course contents over a written research essay.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





1. A Companion to Art Theory (ed. Paul Smith, Carolyn Wilde). – London: Blackwell Publishers, 2002
2.Clark, T.J., Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism. – New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999
3. Drucker, J., Theorizing Modernism: visual art and the critical tradition. – New York: Columbia University Press, 1994
4. Clement Greenberg: the collected essays and criticism (ed. J. O´Brian). - Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988-1995
5. Modernism (eds. A. Eysteinsson e V. Liska). - Amsterdam: Jonh Benjamins, 2007
6. Elkins, J., Master Narratives and Their Discontents. – New York: Routledge, 2005
7. Foster, Hal, “Postmodernism: A Preface”, The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (ed. Hal Foster). – Seattle: Bay Press, 1993 [1983]
8. Fried, M., Art and Objecthood: essays and reviews. - Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998
9. Modern Art and Modernism (eds. F. Frascina e Ch. Harrison). - New York: Harper and Row, 1982

Teaching method

available in FCSH digital platform). There will also be a final presentation and discussion in class of the research essay related to course contents written by each student (12-15 pags).

Evaluation method

The assessment of this course is therefore based on 2 elements:
1) presentation and discussion on classes of the pre-appointed texts and written reviews (2/3 pags) of two of these texts (40%)
2) presentation and discussion of the final written research essay (60%)

Subject matter

1. The foundations and main artistic developments of modernism;
2. The idea of autonomy of the artistic sphere, the basis of formalist discourses and the representation of modern life: a modernist paradox?
3. The theoretical and historiographical premises of modernist narratives;
4. Modernism and the avant-garde;
5. The historiographical revisions of modernism;
6. The contemporary debates on the polysemic and plural nature of modernism.