Art Appreciation: Introduction To Modern Art (Night) with Richard Gunning

Join artist Richard Gunning, as he explores the history of Modern Art in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The six-week course will examine the exciting and dynamic changes that took place in art as it responded to, and occasionally anticipated a rapidly changing world. It is a period that has produced some of the most powerful, and at times bewildering, and beautiful works in Western Art.

This is a course for anyone who is curious about the art of our times and it’s not too distant predecessors.

Course outline:

Week 1.

What is Modern Art? New approaches to a changing world.

  • Post Impressionism, Art Nouveau
  • Fauvism, Expressionism
  • Cubism

Week 2.

Utopian Dreams. Artists and architects create visions of a future based on technology, mass production and a healthy dose of optimism.

  • Futurism and Constructivism
  • De Stijl, Bauhaus –the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright

The school of Paris; artists such as Chagall and Modigliani explore their own sensibilities through the techniques of Modernism.

World War I: Artists react to the horrors of the war.

  • Dada and Duchamp.

Week 3.

Art between the wars

  • The rise of Surrealism.
  • The rise of American mass culture (Hollywood and Jazz). Art Deco.
  • Masters of Modernism; the early innovators become the masters, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Braque and Rivera.

Week 4.

The Avant guard shifts to New York

In the aftermath of WWII there is a cultural shift away from Europe to the United States.

  • Abstract expressionism

The International Style: Modern architecture becomes a universal style.

  • Figurative modernism; Artists who resist total abstraction in America, Britain (school of London) and Australia.

Week 5.

The 1960’s and 1970’s

Art responds to mass culture in the form of Pop Art, while ‘High Modernism’ produces Colour Field Painting and Minimalism. Experimentation in the 1970’s sees the introduction of a multitude of movements; Conceptual art, Land art, Community Art, Identity art etc.

  • Modern Art and the institution; the rise of the Modern art museum.
  • Cracks in the surface –the end of Modernism?

Week 6

The 1980’s till now!

  • Post WWII Masters; abstract and figurative
  • Post Modernism
  • The revival of painting
  • Art and globalisation


Please note, COVID restrictions may apply at the time of this course. By enrolling, you agree to abide by the restrictions at all times while onsite. Please visit the COVID Safe page on our website to read the most up to date information or visit

Building Access:

FAC is a heritage listed building with access limitations. If you have any special access requirements, please contact reception on 9432 9555 before enrolling in a course.

Students with Special Requirements:

If you or the person you are wishing to enrol has special requirements, please contact Reception on 9432 9555 or email [email protected] to discuss suitability and how we can help.

Tutor Richard Gunning

Richard Gunning has a broad knowledge of art and art history and has taught at many tertiary institutions and universities in WA

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