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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Art Talks with Mark Beachell

Thu. 4 June 2020

Thu. 11 June 2020

£8 per session / £25 for all 6 sessions

Join The Art House and art historian/artist/lecturer Mark Beachell for a six-week series of online art talks.

The informal course will give you a historical perspective on how movements in western art reflect the dominant ideas of their time – taking you from period style through post-impressionism and modernism, and ending with contemporary art and artist researchers. It will also explore critical questions like: what makes good art? What is art for? How is it actually made?

Each session will take place on Zoom on Thursday evenings at 7pm. It will include a presentation with a live commentary, and participants are encouraged to join in the chat – keeping it all as accessible, sociable and straightforward as can be!

These talks are for anyone with an interest in art or culture in general. The first session is free – after that, they're £8 each or £25 for all sessions – follow this link for booking details.

See Mark's introductory notes on each session:

Session 1 – 7th May (free!) – book now
Period style classical to postmodernism

The first session is about period style. It will actually focus on architecture. We take the idea that a building is an idea made concrete. This is so you can learn the styles that cut across all culture. At the end of the session you will know: classicism, romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque, rococo, neoclassical, eclectic, arts and crafts, art nouveau, art deco, modernism, postmodern, and whatever nameless mess we are in today. I can show slides and you can heckle/contribute/ask awkward questions.

Session 2 – 14th May
Period style in western painting

The second session will look at how the arts follow the same pattern. It follows that all the things that you would find in a building would look like they belonged in it. So western painting broadly conforms to the same rules of period style that we see in architecture. The same goes for the decorative arts. All creative output reflects the predominant ideas and values of the time. We will see how painting reflects the same ideas as are embodied in the buildings it is situated in.

Session 3 – 21st May
Post-impressionism to late modernity (the isms)

The closer we get to our era the more complex and fragmented the art world gets. This is when the schools or isms predominate (post-impressionism, expressionism, surrealism). We will discuss how responding to the modern world split artists into camps about what art is for. You may drink Absinth mid session.

Session 4 – 28th May
What is Modern art for?

Now on session 4 things get interesting, I expect heckling to flare up here. Another take on modernity focusing on the more challenging expressions of art and the debates around what art for the modern world should be for. You can smoke French cigarettes here.

Session 5 – 4th June
Contemporary art – trying to make sense of now
Continuing the theme of how 20th century modernist perspectives have established practices which are now the mainstay of contemporary art. After this session you may wear a cravat.

Session 6 – 11th June
Artists researchers
This session will look at intellectually-driven ideas in art, introducing the idea of the artist as a researcher. Turtle necks are recommended.

Thereafter, safe in the knowledge that we know the big picture and can confidently bring an informed understanding to anything we see, we can look at specific timeless themes in art – like ideas of beauty or the representation of gardens, art and film, colour, and physical landscape as art.

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