Our entire history of art before the turn of the 20th century had required work to be rich with ornament, beauty, detail, and for the most part, extremely time consuming skill. Then all of the sudden, artists cast off all Renaissance notions and began compiling new art from scraps of stolen old art and newspaper clippings and textures, abstracting images, and generally attacking our perception of what we call “art”. People started thinking: Why draw something when you can use the real thing plopped right onto the canvas? Why not question an ordinary object such as Duchamp's urinal for its aesthetic side? What is stopping my couch from being a work of art if someone at some point in fact designed it?I think these questions were all very important to the progression of art – they needed to be asked and change is almost always good. There’s no way you can deny the fact that the art of today would not be so cutting edge without the baby steps of Dada and Cubism. (Also worth mentioning: the Futurists were without doubt onto something with their ideas on typography back in the 1900’s. I definitely see current graphic design that reflects features pushed by Futurist style artists.)-Emma
ART IS DEAD – choose one: (.) (?) (!)This class makes me ponder.Ah…that weird, scary statement heard over and over again…”art is dead”. Let’s focus on paintings (or similar) to make a little bit less complicated – the "ponderation" on this matter of course, not an answer heaven forbid. I digest this statement. I must admit though, it is completely based on subjective and selective criteria, but then again isn’t art criticism based on that? Let’s say art is really a basic expression of something by someone. Is a piece that expresses something art even though it was not its intention? Where Egyptians doing art by painting how they saw themselves in papyrus? Did they felt they failed to do this? Or did they feel successful? When does the expression of an expression become systematic enough to not be art? Is art spontaneous? Should it be? Can we ever really produce something spontaneous from within? These are questions I ask myself all the time. Whether its when gazing a 18th century Catholic triptych from Romania or seeing the scribbles of my homeless friend Sketch on a paper bag. If art depended on sponteanity, Sketch would be our Picasso and the Romanian antiquity would be a weapon, planned, schematic, non-expressive. Have you ever thought about it really? Maybe we can try to make art…fail, suck and quit on it and then we will start making art. When we will be able to produce an off-shot...of anything!? gaby bruna
Cubism definately did challenge the long tradition of pictorial art. Pictorialists were very concerned with aesthetics, many images had a "softer" look and were very painterly. In pictorialism, the unfinished picture came first and the subject second...in Cubism subject matter (shape, color, and texture) come first. Cubism seems to be the opposite in that it concentrates much more on geometric shapes, lines, forms, and bright colors. In Cubism, the human figure is reduced to basic shapes rather than looking realistic. Cubist images are not SOFT or painterly but rather linear in appearance with very STRONG elements of design. Cubism was ground breaking and began a new way of looking at things. Being independent of nature meant no use of ornament or being able to look at it and knowing exactly what the image is right away. The characteristics and traits of Cubist art continues to be prevalent in graphic design today. Cubism gives a boost to architecture, graphic design, and definately changed the possibilities in photography.-Lisa Kaplowitz
Gaby-- I love your comment, especially the part about Sketch. I ask myself the same questions and have found pretty much the same confusing answers... but I honestly believe art is not dead, it may have some bouts of illness from time to time but it's definitely alive and hopefully planning on sticking around.
Noise defines a moment, an attitude and a country. One of my most vivid memories of Venezuela is the distinct song of the tree frogs at night. Furthermore than that, to be in Caracas today is also to hear the noises of the cacerolazos when the city is reacting to something the government said. The banging of the pots and pans dilutes the frogs. What I just explained applies the following said in The Art of Noises by Luigi Russolo; “It’s no good objecting that noises are exclusively loud and disagreeable to the ear.It seems pointless to enumerate all the graceful and delicate noises that afford pleasant sensations.” To me, both of those noises are security to me. One means I’m home, the other one means there’s hope. To many both of those noises might be vexing and primitive. When I hear an orchestra emulating those noises, I thoroughly enjoy it. This is again supports conclusion number 6 in The Art of Noises: “The new orchestra will achieve the most complex and novel aural emotions not by incorporating a succession of life-imitating noises but by manipulating fantastic juxtapositions of these varied tones and rhythms. Therefore an instrument will have to offer the possibility of tone changes and varying degrees of amplification.”- Belen Estacio
Art is all about perception. To some a flower is the most beautiful thing and to others it is not. For this reason, it is hard to say what is art and what isn’t. This is exactly what many Dada artists set out to prove. Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” is only a urinal turned on its side to a skeptic, but a gorgeous sculpture to the believer. The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is the basis for many Dada works. These artists were testing the limits. They created what is considered “anti-art” in hopes of stretching the limits of what is beautiful. These artists worked against society’s conformity and attempted to create new ideals of beauty that did not fall within the boundaries of “beautiful art,” but instead fell outside the lines and challenged the everyday person’s perception of beauty.I feel that we owe these Dada artists gratitude for pushing the limits and stretching the boundaries. If they had not gone against everything that was considered art at the time, our artistic culture would probably be at a standstill. Art cannot progress without the ability to change. If our society continued to conform to past ideals of beauty, current art would not be where it is today. We might still be stuck in styles similar to the early 1900s.-Michaela
Picasso expanded the meaning of what art was with the creation of the collage. Dada brought this concept even further by the creation of anti-art. Each movement pushed the limits on the definition of art. So have we found out what art is today? I think we have. Art isn’t something that an artist says is special. Art isn’t art because it is in a gallery. If the average person can’t identify a piece of art, it isn’t art. Society is composed by a groups of average people. Society sets the meanings to all words. Not every scribble by a famous artist is art, even though it may be worth millions. This definition may seem to throw away most conceptual and abstract art, but if a work is striking enough, the average person will stop to consider the intent of a piece. This definition is only possible because so many followed in the footsteps of Picasso and Duchamp, pushing the extremes of art so far, that some pieces simply weren’t art.-Raymond Mathews
I really like the use of Typography, shapes, and collaging different images in Dadaism. It's all very abstract and I guess can means whatever you want it to mean. In my opinion it's very similar to cubism. Picasso uses cutouts of newspaper and flyers to create his masterpieces, a lot of it is mark-making, and the Dada artists kind of do the same things. Though I can see the difference. Dadaism is bolder and wilder. It's a whole new type of art where the boundaries are expanded. Everything is outside of the box instead of trapped into a certain type of grid or rules. R. Mutt took a urinal, turned it upside down and put his name on it. No one in history has done that before. It's new, and it's fresh. Sometimes I think the result is clever and beautiful, but a lot of the time I feel like it's just awkward. I feel they don't really require any skill to make those pieces. I still consider them art, though not my type of art.
In a way cubism was the culmination of the rejection of the old world values of traditional art and began to usher in the era of modern art. What strikes me as interesting is that an art movement that embodies the spirit of this new modernism drew from ancient tribal art. This can be explained in the new ages want for functionality and expression through symbols. The reason Picasso and Braque found Ancient African and Native American art inspirational is because these artist of these ancient times were using symbols to express higher ideals that could not be conveyed by worldly art. Also these ancient pieces were functional which embodies the new spirit of the modern times. Cubism is unique in that Picasso who was high skilled as a traditional artist found these ancient works so inspiring that he changed his style to embody symbols that would represent the spirt of the cubist movement. This idea of function over form would be instrumental in the art movements of the early 19th century and cubism led the way.
"Art isn't art until someone says it's art." Someone once said this to me and it resonated with me ever since. All the pioneers of the differnt art movements in history pushed the barrier and dared to expand the definition of art. What Raymond stated about Picasso and his contribution to the collage triggered a memory. I remember, just a few semesters ago, taking an art class (maybe it was art104?). One the first day we were asked to, with back and white acrylic only, paint a quick abstract piece. The class did this, and then we all stepped back and watched as the professor tore up a few of the pieces. In total silence, and with a few confused faces, the professor glued the pieces on a page to create this beautiful composition. Ever since that day my eyes have been open to the art of collage. I notice the remnants of ripped signs off of billboards, and think, "wow that looks cool." If I had never been exposed to collage art in that manner I wonder if I would still have the appreciation for it that I have today.
What i think is great about many of the movements of this time period is their exploration of motion in such varied ways. Cubists were able to refract their paintings into many different viewpoints at once, thus inferring movement around an object. Futurist painters showed movement with broad smooth repeated brush strokes, rendering many things multiple colors. This effect gives a less fragmented view than the cubists yet by repeating itself, it gives a feeling of motion.Even the symbolists, through the drawings of Jan Toorop, exhibit this obsession with billowy objects with curvilinear lines to express their movement. All of these movements have taken the traditional ideas of still lifes and have taken them furhter in order to express that things are not always static. This is an extremely important theme in art.
Art is the products of human creativity. That is the rudimentary notion of what art is. Obviously art is what one perceives it to be. There is never two identical views on the subject. But I do believe that the communal thread that is vested within us all is that it stirs the emotional stimuli in our minds to react in different ways. To laugh, to cry, to be disgusted or to be profoundly moved. "That is the duty of art. To elevate us above the beast. We build cities, we compose symphonies and we endure." When the turn of the 20th century came around, the widely accepted school of thought that was for a painting or sculpture to be considered true art it had to show immense skill and beauty. It had to be theatrical! It had to have a narrative! Then something amazing happened. Obtuse ideas such as were slowly losing their grip on the art world. From fauvism and Dadaism to German Expressionism and Cubism, the world was seeing a shift in the tonality of subject matter and aesthetic look to a bombardment of works.
As a photographer I must state that i feel partially to blame for gaby's statement. I participate in the one process of image making that some still believed killed art. I obviously disagree since i still partake and am majoring in the subject but must comment on the statement itself. Art was dead long before photography came around. The whole idea of being pissed that a camera can do everything a painter can do but better shows me a lack of creativity and craving to better the arts. I feel that when photography came to exist in it popular form, it definetly shot a bullet at the art world but barely grazed it shoulder. Photography gave art a wake up call and reminded it that even it is mortal and it was overdue for an awakening. Dadaism simply brought life back into art bringing into account questions and ideas so conceptually thought out that it took a bit to adjust. The dadaists asked, begged, us to use our brains when looking at art, they tought us that we are human, fallable by nature. If anything art is not dead now, it has been through many changes in the last century but it is quite alive and breathing well, with a scar on its shoulder.
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