Monday, November 12, 2007

Your turn #9


amy Poliakoff said...

I wanted to mention that it was the Bauhaus in Germany was a school that developed as a reaction to expressionism at the time World War One was approaching. People who taught here thought that expressionism influenced and was responsible for agitating strong emotions that led to the war. The Bauhaus school reacted against this. In the creation of their objects they focused on form rather than expression of emotion. They felt that social conditions could be improved through new visual harmonious art. The Bauhaus was closed by Hitler in 1933 because he thought it along with modern art was degenerate. The Bauhaus created furniture lamps and other objects of practical use that were created with the idea of function over form. This led to a breakthrough in graphic design because now with the idea of function over form that the Bauhaus' objects exhibited. A new simplicty arose. The simplicty of objects and architecture being created for a clear function rather than ornate detail of the past such as the ornate furniture and architecture Arts and Crafts movement led to an overall modern attitude of simplicity. An example of this is the Bauhaus 1925 building in Dessa which is a simple square building with lots of glass. In addition was the Shoe Factory by Gropius that can be considered the first modernist building. With a simplication in forms i.e. furniture and architecture due to FUNCTION OVER FORM, graphic design itself became simplifed and the simplified message or meaning of the advertisement became the most important aspect of graphic design.

amy Poliakoff said...

This is a makeup comment:

In talking about modernism taking over and looking at architecture and how function comes first and form only follows it is not hard to mention Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson architecture. Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe "created an influential Twentieth-Century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define austere but elegant spaces. He developed the use of exposed steel structure and glass to enclose and define space, striving for an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of open space. He called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design, and is known for his use of the aphorism "God is in the details"." (wikkipedia)

His famouse Seagram building on Park avenue in New York city is an example of the Bauhaus architecture which purely exists in the realm of itself not by its surrounding. This new kind of simplicity was becoming the international wave and affected all areas of art even graphic design as mentioned in my previous comment.

What I find interesting though is how in fashion and every aspect of art we come full circle. We recycle styles! And it is Phillip Johnson that is an example of this just as retro is an example of how we recycle fashion styles from one decade to another. Society became bored with the simplicity and less is more attitude attributed to the "function over form" modernism. So in post modern architecture we can see elements of old styles recycled and a new sense of ecclecticis arose. In Phillip Johnson's AT&T building, now the Sony building, in Manhattan. We see a clean building but the profile of the building refers to another architectural style, Baroque. The pediment has elements of the Baroque style.

A.T. said...

Amy: You're a little ahead of us. Bauhaus is a little after all this coming up.

Barry said...

I really like the work of the Blaue Reiter artists because of their primitive & cubist influenced expressive styles, their intuitive approaches, and their generally rebellious nature. I’m especially keen on the woodcuts of Kandinsky, Marc, Schmidt-Rottluff & Feininger and my original intention was to discuss those in relation to graphic design. But I got sidetracked and instead have a somewhat arbirtrary question/comment.

The blog description uses the term plastic arts in its description of the Blaue Reiter a couple of times. That term has always confused me so I did a very random, unmethodical, impromptu survey of my artsy friends to find out how others define and use the term. I discovered that I am not the only one that has a vague and befuddled understanding of it.

WP defines plastic arts as “those visual arts that involve the use of materials that can be molded or modulated in some way, often in three dimensions. Examples are clay, paint, and plaster. Plastic arts may refer to: architecture, ceramics, glass art, land art, metalworking, mosaic, paper art, or the use of plastics within the arts or as an artform itself.” I think that my confusion partially stems from the fact that I confused, or at least never thoughtfully made a distinction between, the term as used in reference to Piet Mondrian and Neoplasticism. WP made it clear that those should never be confused. I continued researching and found that some definitions focus on materials that can be manipulated, modeled, molded or pressed…. into a desired shape and included two-dimensional art, especially painting. Other sources limited their definitions to only three-dimensional art forms. Definitions were consistent in their use of the term to distinguish visual art from music, poetry, literature, dance, and theater.

My research then degenerated stream of consciousness style into a search for the origin of the word plastic and the evolution of its meaning. I was entertained by the word-detective’s definition of modern plastic (made from ground-up boy bands) but also interested to discover that prior to the invention of the polymer based material from which all consumer goods are now made, the term plastic was used primarily as an adjective meaning pliable. Synthetic plastic was invented in the early 20th century, but the real Age of Plastic began in earnest in the1950s. Its root is derived from the Greek plastikos, meaning fit for molding, and it first appearing in English in the 16th century. In this later iteration it referred to everything from modeling clay to the highly susceptible nature of people, e.g. political opinions.

During the late 19th century it began to be used as an engineering term meaning the “ability to be permanently changed in shape, without fracture or rupture, by temporary pressure." And in the late 1960 the use of plastic/s morphed to refer to the negative connotations of artificial and superficial, as famously used in the movie, The Graduate.

So despite all of my Goggling & rambling I still lack a succinct understanding of Plastic Arts. Any clarification or insight would be appreciated.

Paul said...

I find the relationship between music and visual art fascinating. As mentioned in the blog, Kandinsky was extremely interested in music’s emotional power. In the given image you can literally feel small triangles and circles as the flutes chirping in the background as the long chutes of the sliver trombone hurl toward the sky. The warm tones of the concrete orange object almost encompass a burly bass tenor, as well the sharp black and yellow triangles as a striking trumpet. Music and art both trigger an emotional response. Kandinsky’s belief of Gesamtkunstwerk, which is the total work of art, is an idea that I believe is going to be highly influential in the future, where there is a culmination of all art forms in the digital world.

amy Poliakoff said...

haha sorry about that...i'll def make a post then about De Brucke of Dresden and Blue Reiter of Munich.....and Kandinsky before the Bauhaus era

shelby said...

Not too great at these posts but for my graphic design class the assignment was to create a slick sheet about and in the style of a graphic designer. My graphic designer is Lester Beall. After reading and learning much about him, a big part of his designs lent itself to photographic processes and expermentation with the camera. He incorporated photos and photograms with flat color and other design elements to produce such works for the government. He created a series of posters for the Rural Electrifcation Administration during the Tennessee Valley Authority under FDR. Beall also contributed designs for anti war posters. "Music was another important ingredient of Beall's creative environment. He was very familiar with jazz, having grown up with it in Chicago. While working in his studio there in the mid-'20s, he would often listen to live broadcasts on radio. Throughout his life, he would surround himself with music, be it jazz, or the classical compositions of Europeans such as Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich." ( Like Kandinksy, Beall also used music as an influence on many of his designs.

Mariajose said...

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was an Expressionist painter and a German graphical artist. He was born in 1884 near Chemnitz. In 1905, together with Kirchner and Fritz Bleyl he was a founder member of the German Expressionist movement called “Die Brücke” (The Bridge). Die Brücke was a movement with the intention to look for a new symbolic language that represents a bridge between the past and a better future. During 1941 and 1943 with the arrival of the Nazi regime Rottluff became considered a “degenerate artist” and was expelled from the Fine Arts Academy. Two characteristics of the German Expressionist movement were the strong colors and broad forms. In my opinion, with the use of bright colors what they were truly trying to do was to shock and express the reality they were suffering during war. At this point is where I found the connection with graphic design. As a graphic artist you have to play with colors to transmit your idea. Also the Die Brücke revived the German woodcut tradition, influenced by primitive art and with an exceptional quality; biblical scenes were represented in black and white.

Natali said...

All the pieces, with the exception of the Beggarstaffs, pertain to Germany during pivotal points of historical significance over the course of the last one hundred years…particularly prior to and sometime after the Nazi blight that overtook the country. The Plakatstil posters were produced in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the painstaking reunification process between East and West Germany during the 1990’s…perhaps these events are what encouraged the use of new colors and a simplicity of design and message.

The three silent films, Metropolis, Nosferatu, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, were all produced during the post WWI period in Germany—a time when the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles were sowing the seeds of bitterness; and the larger world was on the verge of an unseen major economic downturn in the form of the Great Depression. All three films share an emphasis on a dark side or force within existence, and so seem to have a predictive quality forecasting impending doom and gloom. Whereas Metropolis and Nosferatu are concerned more with social commentary, Dr. Caligari in particular is focused on the question of aesthetics.

In the period leading up to WWI, Germany was moving towards world-power prominence. Indeed, the German language was the pre-eminent coin of currency in matters technical and scientific…the lingua franca of international scientists and terminology. One need only mention Freud and Einstein as prime examples of exceptional pioneers. In the works of Schmidt-Rottluff, one can chart the course of German perspective both before and after the “war to end all wars.” Kandinsky’s work was also aesthetically philosophical in a new direction.

John said...

What I find interesting in these periods, and the ones that followed, right up to the present, which i believe should be defined as the minimalist aesthetic (see apple, nike, UPS advertisements) is the focus on the reduction of elements towards simplicity. As the art forms, and periods become "simpler" i think it also coincides with the expansion of media in general. Could the reduction in ornamentation be a reaction to the ever expanding media, and the claimed shortened attention span? Something akin to the function over form of Bauhuas? Cut through the chatter of the landscape with simpler, bold designs?

Also for a real music and art connection check out the latest da vinci code:

Zureyka said...

I actually have seen the Metropolis film and I must agree that it was a great film to watch. It is definitely expressionist inspired when they made this film and had an extreme use of melodrama. Not only was it entertaining but it was interesting to see how well they were able to convey and express the storyline without the use of subtitles or words. One cannot help but become enthralled at how they were able to make this film such a success on the graphics and props involved to making the film look “futuristic” and industrial. This film was made back in the late 1920s, so a lot of work and imagination had to be involved in creating this film; as opposed to how movies and films are made in this generation where CGI and animation is the key element in creating just about anything necessary for a film. Just as it said in the beginning of the Metropolis clip, this film was made before all of the major movies that we have grown so fond of, such as the Matrix, Star Wars and others. This was the film that started the generation of sci-fi in films and allowed writers to explore the imagination of possible scenarios for the future, a topic filled with opportunity and diversity in which all cannot help but explore in one’s mind.

Luis E. Piñol said...

The influence of expressionism on the visual arts is both profound and diverse. Expressionism, as a stylistic practice, was not limited only to distortion in painting and drawing but it was and still is prominent in both film and architecture. The genre’s of German Expressionism, Film Noir, and in my opinion the horror movies of the 60’s and 70’s are all products of expressionism. The stark contrasts of color in the film, the implementation of chiaroscuro to distort the image presented, the grandiose use of locations/props and the story lines presented in these films all distort reality to gain an emotional response. The direction and scripting of Stanly Kubrick, and the recent work of Robert Rodriguez in my opinion, are wholly expressionistic. The architecture of the early expressionistic films, the Deco design and towering buildings are all fundamentally expressionistic. The development of the high-rise building, seemingly dwarfed the architecture of the past, and again was an expressionist development.

Before last class, I never conceived the influence of expressionism on visual design to such a degree and sadly just correlated the style with only paper and ink. I find it fascinating and true, A.T.’s claim of the power of expressionism. From Paintings, architecture, film, interior design, music and even in Comic Books (The published work of Frank Miller, Stan Lee and Detective Comics are all interpretations of this style), expressionism has had a lasting influence… and now that A.T. opened my eyes, I’m starting to believe that my work too, is expressionistic. Oh, Boy.

JeannaHamilton said...

The Legacy of Metropolis

Comparable in scope only to Citizen Cane, Metropolis is a film that has been ingrained into my mind as one of the most influential films ever created. After sitting through the three+ hour film four times, I realized two things; silent film is a wonderful thing in small doses, and Metropolis has had an impact on shaping every subsequent film thereafter.

Created as a culmination of the German Golden age of film in 1927, the film the first to construct both monstrous sets and mini models with a deliberate non-natural graphic quality, blended with live action. The movie’s message of “mind and hands mediated by the heart” addressed the pervading fear of Fascism, and of the poor and working class, as well as the national angst felt by post-WWI Germany, and more generally Europe’s need for peace in a time of post-WWI’s financial and political instability.

This was also one of the first movies to feature the femme fatal, and deal with a plot based around mistaken identity and a “Moral Midnight”, (how far a character will go for what he or she believed in). The classic conflict between morality and temptation was just beginning. All three of these themes would become recurrent and central to films made throughout the 1930’s and 40’s, and would manifest in a variety of shapes and forms such as classic films like; Touch of Evil, Notorious, and Casablanca.

Jomar said...

Expressionists were opposed to the existing standards of the era, which had dominated in Europe and now stressed the artist's biased feelings in their works accordingly. This took precedence over laboring over the illustration of objective reality. Representing their feelings took priority over any commitment to depict the actual appearance of things as they were. The subject matter of expressionist’s works were many times altered or changed to distorted representations. Is it me, or do we see this common theme of “rebellion” or “defiance” from movement to movement fairly consistently? What is it with artists? I never realized how much art and these attitudes go hand in hand. Both, characteristics I possess, which I never realized were as related as they seem to appear more and more as I explore the reasons for these evolutions.

Characteristics of the Expressionist movement included aggressive colors with overstated lines that helped enclose the powerful emotional expressions. The use of strict fundamentals gives way to bright and full of life or harsh and more hostile applications of the same elements. Expressionists were clearly attempting to convey internal experience instead of the realistic representations previously prevalent. These were clearly conscious efforts to emphasize skewed feelings rather than unbiased actuality as a standard rule.