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Home > Calendar > Director's Lecture Series 2014–2015, Lecture 4—“Shock of the New and Reactions Thereto, 1900–1945”

Director's Lecture Series 2014–2015, Lecture 4—“Shock of the New and Reactions Thereto, 1900–1945”

By Dr. Janne Sirén, Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director

Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 7–8:30 pm

Cathleen Chaffee, Janne Sirén, and Joe Lin-Hill with Clyfford Still’s 1951-E, 1951 (Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Gift of the artist, 1964).

Please note: This lecture was previously scheduled for Tuesday, February 10, 2015.

(Complete series: Tuesdays, September 16, 2014; October 14, 2014; November 11, 2014; February 3, 2015; March 10, 2015; and April 28, 2015, 7–8:30 pm)

7–8 pm, Lecture
8–8:30 pm, Conversation with Participants

Series Price:
$500 general admission
$375 for Members
$200 for students (with valid student ID)
More about Tickets and Scholarships


The first half of the twentieth century in Europe, Russia, and the United States was among the most tumultuous periods in history. For artists, early years of experimentation were soon followed by revolution, world wars, and dramatic economic instability. In Germany, forward-looking art and design training at the Bauhaus responded to the artistic idealism of Expressionist associations like Die Brücke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). The radical developments in abstract art immediately preceding the Russian Revolution of 1917 were put to the test, as Constructivist artists such as Lyubov Popova (Russian, 1889–1924) and Aleksandr Rodchenko (Russian, 1891–1956) worked to make abstraction useful in the post-revolutionary era. This was a time of unprecedented artistic innovations: Cubism, Expressionism, Constructivism, De Stijl, Dada, Surrealism. Many artists lived long enough to see their formerly shocking work become acclaimed and collected after the end of World War I. Many of these gains were lost, just a few years later, with the brutality and censorship of World War II.


Following the overwhelming success of the 2013–2014 inaugural Director’s Lecture Series, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is pleased to introduce the 2014–2015 Director’s Lecture Series, entitled “The Birth, Rise, and Evolution of Avant-Garde Art.” Six lectures will provide a unique opportunity to learn about the eighteenth-century origins and nineteenth- and twentieth-century development of the modern definition of the artist: a figure who rejects dominant cultural mores and leads the vanguard of creative and even societal transformation. The series is designed by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Dr. Janne Sirén and presented by Dr. Sirén, as well as Deputy Director Dr. Joe Lin-Hill and Curator Dr. Cathleen Chaffee. Learn More