Modernism vs. Traditionalism: Art in Paris, 1888-89

Game in Development | Available to Download

This game considers the question: What is Art? Students will debate principles of artistic design in the context of the revolutionary changes that began shaking the French art world in 1888-89. Images from the 1888 Salon and the tumultuous year that followed provide some of the “texts” that form the intellectual heart of every Reacting game. Students must read these images and use them as the basis of their positions. In addition to these visual texts, students will read art criticism from the period, which will help to form the basis of their own presentations in favor of one art style over another.  These discussions are complicated and enriched by secondary debates over the economics of art, the rise of independent art dealers, and the government’s role as a patron of the arts. An additional feature of this game will include an optional “art lab,” which teaches students about the issues that French artists faced in the late nineteenth century through a studio-based, hands-on project.

About the Designers:

Gretchen K. McKay is trained as an art historian as well as an artist, with significant training and experience in oil painting. She has been active in the art history field, with her most recent publication focusing on the nineteenth-century reception of medieval art. She teaches art history at McDaniel College.  Nicolas W. Proctor is an historian and an experienced Reacting instructor and game designer. His Forest Diplomacy Game has been in the Reacting pipeline for some time and he is also involved in the development of games by other authors. He teaches history at Simpson College.  Michael A. Marlais is a well-known art historian specializing in nineteenth-century French art, with several books to his name on the topic. He also concentrates on French art criticism, especially at the end of the nineteenth century, which will be a critical part of the Art Game’s structure. Michael teaches art history at Colby College and continues to research aspects of French art in the nineteenth century.