Johanna Went

1949 · United States

Artist biography

Johanna Went is an established contemporary artist, who originates from the United States. Johanna Went was born in 1949. Some of the artist's contemporaries that are born around the same year and in the same country include Chuck Close, Robert Mappelthorpe, Bruce Nauman, Laurie Andersen and Barbara Kruger.

Historical Context of United States

The United States, particularly New York city, remains as a focal point that has played a substantial role in developing modern and contemporary art in the twentieth century. The concept of New York as a new multinational and highly powerful art hub came to be in the post war era, and the city thrived in asserting its dominance over Paris, which used to be considered as the most powerful global art capital.

The authority of the political and economic structures of the United States in the modern era has granted the country with a powerful influence on the visual culture of the world. Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Neo-Expressionism, Graffiti and Street Art, are influential art movements that flourished in the United States. These very movements also reverberated into a multitude of variations, such as diverse forms of Abstract Expressionism, as well as East and West Coast adaptations of Pop Art, among others. Some internationally distinguished U.S artists of the modern age include Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.

Further Biographical Context for Johanna Went

Johanna Went was born in 1949 and grew up during the 1960s and was influenced by the artistic atmosphere of the time. In the art sphere, a multitude of significant changes were also taking place. Pop Art, embodying the culture of mass media through the works of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, was slowly breaking down the bases on which the creation and reception of art were built. Drawing from the imagery of popular culture and mass consumerism, the Pop Artists rejected the authority of highbrow art and created a revolutionary movement, while Minimalism, simultaneously appearing, was rejecting any form of emotional expression and focused on art’s theoretical aspect – aspiring to pure visual responses.

Historically established in the context of the Cold War, the 1960s epitomize an extremely powerful era which engendered an important number of breaks and challenged the order of all things. In Europe, The Iron Curtain and the Berlin wall would permanently mark people and beliefs, while in the U.S, events such as the Cuban missile crisis and Vietnam war would forever impact generations to come. From education to gender issues and ideologies, a re-definition of social standards in Western society developed, with ground-breaking values and movements evolving in a cradle of innovation.

Simplicity and an emptiness of emotions were key concepts in the highly influential movement of Minimalism, embodied by artists such as Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. Uninterested in the gestural elements of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalist artists focused on delivering artworks mainly composed of polished, pure lines and geometrical elements.

Delving further into some of the ideas inherent to Abstract Expressionism, artists such as Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler practiced Colour Field Painting – decidedly relating to Minimalism, with a fundamentally ruled-based approach, emptied of any expressive features.

The very first blossoming of Conceptualism was significantly influenced by the purity of Minimalism but went further in denying all pre-defined conceptions inherent to art, similarly to what Pop Artists were trying to attain, by elevating popular culture to the status of high art.

Several schools of philosophy deeply influenced creatives, Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti were artists heavily persuaded by the ideologies of Existentialism, who achieved worldwide success through their depiction of the human form and the anguish often linked to the human condition. Internationally, an important number of art movements echoed with the radical changes of the 1960s, often prone to their own regional distinctions. In Italy, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni initiated Spatialism, while in Germany, the Zero group espoused similar ideas under the leadership of Günther Uecker.

Johanna Went

  • Exhibitions 1

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