Painting, Photography, and the Graphic Arts

Topic 3: Painting, Photography, and the Graphic Arts

  • Despite the art world's embrace of unconventional materials and approaches, painting, drawing, and printmaking remain vital media. Painters and draftsmen (or women) also increasingly incorporate found objects or mixed media into their works, a practice that first became prominent with the emergence of conceptual art and pop art in the 1960s. For example, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith's Trade (Gifts for Trading Land with White People) is an oil painting on canvas that also employs collage technique and uses found objects to comment on colonialism. Jean-Michel Basquiat incorporated written language into his work in a way that evoked his roots as a graffiti artist.

  • Artists may also employ techniques or media not usually associated with "art". For example, Faith Ringgold has used quilting to evoke the specific culture and experiences of African-American women. Wangechi Mutu has created paintings on Mylar, while Julie Mehretu begins her paintings by projecting images of maps and diagrams onto a blank canvas.

  • Postmodernism has also encouraged the acceptance of photography as an art form, since contemporary artists and theorists no longer see the use of the camera as a device to record reality as a simple or transparent process. The celebrated photographer Cindy Sherman is known for her elaborately costumed and staged photographs for which she also serves as model. Her work suggests that photography creates reality as much as it records it; it also plays in a very postmodern way with conventionalized images taken from popular culture or art history. Additions or alterations to photographs, such as the inscriptions Shirin Neshat added to her Women of Allah series, are also common.

Related Links:
Painting, Photography, Graphic Arts & Sculpture Quiz
Global Contemporary Art, 1980 CE to Present Architecture
AP Art History Quizzes
AP Art History Notes