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Léacht | Talk


Linenhall St, Castlebar, Mayo

T: 094 9023733



LECTURE SERIES - Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar

Art in the Twentieth Century Lecture Series - with Philip Shiels

Five Wednesdays commencing 25th February, 8.00-10.00pm


Modern Art is often described as difficult, challenging, formidable, aloof, arrogant and inaccessible, verging on the nonsensical, frivolous and sometimes the downright ridiculous. But art in the Twentieth Century is also the story of dynamically changing practices inspired by, and reflecting, the turbulent history of that century.


The aim of these five lectures is to consider the historical background and events, important artistic movements and crucial moments that have shaped and influenced contemporary art. Not so much a detailed blow by blow account of art history but more a survey of some of the most important movements and many “voices of art” from the last 150 years and how they relate to art we encounter today.

1) New Freedoms: Revolutions and the Avantgarde: The break with tradition and authority, the invention of photography and the birth of modernism.

2) The Construction of a New Century: Technology, Devastation and the Aftermath. The period from 1914 to 1945.

3) Brave New World. Developments in America and Europe. From abstract expressionism to pop art on the one hand, to reconsidering the “weight of history” on the other.

4) Mimimalism and Post-Modernism: “From "less is more” to "ornament is not a crime". How art, architecture and popular culture won the day. The strange story of consumerism and art versus the development and spread of conceptual art.

5) Contemporay Directions and Musings. Regionalism in a globalised world. Artists and the art world today at home and abroad.


This course is open to all and will appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of art, contemporary art and students studying for the Leaving Cert.


Phillip Shiels is an artist and art historian. He holds an M.A in Philosophy and Modern Visual Culture, and has worked as a lecturer at colleges and third level instituitions for 25 years.


Art in the Twentieth Century Lecture Series takes place over five Wednesdays commencing 25th February from 8.00pm-10.00pm (continuing 4th, 11th, 18th, & 25th March). Cost per head for the series is €30. Booking is ESSENTIAL.


Booking and Further Information: Linenhall Arts Centre, 094 9023733,




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