Art as Expression Essay

Art as Expression Essay

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Artists are central to cultural, political and social discourses in the world. They are here not only to inspire us, but to provoke us as well. Four artists that broke social, political and cultural barriers were, Rene Magritte, John Heartfield Jackson Pollock and Otto Dix. While the artists were involved in different movements, each one made revolutionary statements with their works. Artists have a responsibility to use their works as a weapon to the status quo and to break these cultural and social barriers.
Rene Magritte and John Heartfield were important figures to the Surrealist movement. Surrealism was a movement that developed after World War II and as a result, society was requesting art that was of the ‘norm’ to give the world a sense of stability. As a reaction to this request, the artists helped influence the Surrealist movement. It is often described as rebellious, idiosyncratic, dream-like and emotional. Maggritte’s thought-provoking pieces, and Heartfield’s anti-war messages all sent a strong message to society.
Rene Magritte was a Belgian surrealist painter who was known for painting thought-provoking works that require viewers to question the most mundane aspects of life, including familiar objects such as a tobacco pipe. Magritte wanted his viewers to question the perceptions of reality and if art has the ability to truly represent an object. He believed that even the best artists could not paint an object, because it would always only be a representation of that image. If an artist drew an apple, it was only a representation of an apple, because the viewer could not eat it.
In 1929, Magritte painted “The Treachery of Images”; at first glance appears to be an advertisement of a tobacco product, but underneath t...


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...uld be considered: what would the art world look like now if no artist took a risk to express his or her political and social ideologies? Would artists just be creating art their society wants? Would there be any rebellion? Pollock would have painted with a paintbrush, Magritte would not have questioned our perceptions of reality and Dix and Heartfield would not have questioned the motives of politics. It is critical for artists to push these limits, no matter the criticism they will endure. The power behind the arts has been its ability to be a vehicle for expression and it should continue to do just that.



Works Cited

Foster, Hal. Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism. 1st ed. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2011. Print.

Foster, Hal. Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism. 2nd ed. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2011. Print.

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