Friday, March 26, 2010

Your turn #8

Well, there's a lot to talk about, geometric abstraction as a sign of functionality, the thin line between fine and applied art, more importantly, DESIGN AS A DISCIPLINE! Go ahead.


Luly said...

During your lecture, I was really intrigued with the furniture and the architecture that was shown. It's really interesting to know that the designs were done over 90 years ago and they are still being used today. I also enjoyed the artwork from the era, I like how most of the artworks have simple lines or geometric shapes.

It always amazes me how an artist can combine lines and shapes and the outcome is a masterpiece even when the piece is so simple. I'm a big fan of random colors and shapes because I feel that you can never go wrong. My favorite art from the lecture is Boogie-Woogie by Piet Mondrian. I love the colors, they remind me of Legos and the design does resemble the interface of Pacman.

The White Stripes cover also stood out to me. I feel that the design resembles their music and their personality. The duo is known for their red,black, and white color scheme and their music is filled with simple arrangements of minimalist tones.

Gloria A. Lastres said...

When I saw Van Doesburg’s CinĂ©bal in class, it reminds me of an eatery on Miracle Mile my family & I went to called Nexxt Cafe. The unique spelling (Nexxt) got me in the door but the colorful geometric architecture provided a stimulating ambience for our meal. Clearly the architecture is influenced by De Stijl movement, specifically Van Doesburg.
In 1926, Van Doesburg worked on the renovations to the 18th century Aubette building in France. Color is what mainly captures the eye. I note the choice of lighting is futuristic, both the silvery material from which the fixtures are made, and their placement – the multiple lights face upwards vs. the more common downward placement. The building offered Van Doesburg a singular opportunity to demonstrate his ideas about visual architecture. As co-founder of De Stijl, Van Doesburg saw color as a central part of architecture. CinĂ©bal’s diagonally arranged color planes on the walls and ceiling play tricks with your eyes as the planes on the ceiling appear to continue indefinitely. It was in essence an optical show that expressed the exhilaration of modern art in form and color.
Exposure to Van Doesburg and the history of art makes me much more receptive to the unique signature of the artists of yesterday who inspire those of today and tomorrow.

Gloria A. Lastres said...

Above by Gloria A Lastres
ARH 346

nasha89 said...

I love that our study of design incorporates both fine art and applied art. Of course as a painter I really enjoy learning about the fine arts. Obviously, a piece of art created purely for aesthetic value and beauty are very easy to fall in love with and appreciate. If something is made to be beautiful, it most likely will be seen as beautiful to its viewers. What I love about applied art is that it is more of a challenge to make something not only functional but also beautiful.

I feel like when artists create fine arts they are able to start from scratch, while when creating applied art they have to find ways to make certain objects aesthetically pleasing using innovation and imagination. On the other hand, artists can sometimes think of applied art as a way to make their original artistic ideas usable and functional. I recall going over some images in class of applied art that, although “functional” objects were made, they were obviously made more for aesthetics than function when someone would rather look at them than use them. For example the furniture we looked at that was easier on the eye than one’s posture.

grace said...

This period in the history of graphic design is stunning - maybe because the compositions are at once so ordered yet so imaginative, suggesting the presence of a great intelligence and a tremendous power of invention in the universe.

Jan Tschichold's design combines such clarity, simplicity and surprise, as seen in, for instance, the "konstruktivisten" composition. The placement of the type in relation to the form of the circle is deliberate and ordered, yet original and new.

Did these designers realize social change through good design? Certainly that spirit is a part of what makes this work so strong. And finally their modernism was categorized as "subversive" in Germany.

Rafaella said...

I really enjoyed the works for the Bauhaus School in Germany, specially the poster for the 1923 Bauhaus Exhibition in Weimar, by Joost Schmidt. The colors seems to be in perfect harmony, the lines, shapes, and curves, complement each other well and the design is very creative and experimental. It reminds me of this Russian Constructivism style poster Nepszava Naptar by Karl Dubia

The images above also seem to have a perfect balance within the page, the letters, colors, and overall design is in harmony. It makes it easy on the eyes because of its geometric shapes; I think more books should be in this style.

It was very interesting to see the Barcelona Chair from 1929 and the Wassily chair from 1927. They seem like completely modern chairs from this century. It was surprising to know that artists were making elegant and modern chairs like this so long ago. The model furnishings by Erich Dieckmann look like a contemporary room! It is very impressive.

ARH 346 Rafaella Medeiros

Kendra said...

I found that the Bauhaus school of design and movement to be fascinating. My father is an architect and keeps furniture items around such as the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona chair (1929) and the Marcel Breuer, Wassily Chair (1927); well-crafted, beautiful pieces of furniture. It was much to my surprise that these items were crafted in the late 1920's-- I'd frequently sit in them and guess they were quite recently designed. I've also seen my father integrate much of the basic elements that Bauhaus teaches: the basic shapes and clean lines, focus on craftsmanship and functionality, and always wondered where these elements were derived. Meyer's teaching manifesto in relation to the Bau movement makes good sense in terms of planning a living space, and I think the beauty of the Bau movement is the fine line between applied and fine arts. Within a functional system of planning, it appears that Bauhaus manages to mesh craftsmanship and aesthetic.

Kendra Zdravkovic

cbfelder said...

The styles of art during this period of history impress me for the same reasons echoed throughout a majority of the other comments on this post. I think its amazing that some of this work was made nearly a century ago, considering how relevant and contemporary the designs are. In particular, i liked Herbert Bayer's, Lonely Metropolitan, because i see it's influence in many contemporary artists' work concerning urban expressionism.
Another artist who i particularly liked was A.M. Cassandra as his art is a great example of the saying "work smart, not hard." His simplified line work and color palette suggest an unlabored quality that i think shows incredible skill. His poster style has clearly influenced modern advertisement, as the other day while driving on US1 i noticed a billboard for UM (showing a man throwing a football toward the viewer) that i thought was very well done, and upon seeing Cassandra's tennis poster, can now see the borrowed style.
It's exciting to begin studying this time of design history because as stated above, it's impact is so immediately visible in contemporary art that it has brought me to realize the extent of which modern designers borrow ideas from the past.

Charles Felder

Sarah said...

During last week’s class I really enjoyed the discussion about the artists involved with Bauhaus. It’s quite amazing how many great artists came from the Bauhaus school and later influenced the United States architecture, especially in New York City.

When I visited New York this past autumn, I enjoyed staring at the amazing architecture of New York City. However, there was one building that I didn’t care for and that was the MetLife Building.

My husband and I were walking through Grand Central Station for the first time. My husband who has studied case law in regards to Grand Central Station said that there was supposed to be another building built there, but the idea got shot down. Later the MetLife building was approved to be built there. There was a lot of controversy involved around the building.

Although the building is revered by many architects, many New Yorkers and visitors of New York think otherwise. When I stepped out of Grand Central station my husband said turn around and look up, what do you see? When we turned around I could see the beautiful aesthetics of Grand Central Station. What an amazing structure! But, as my eyes gazed upward, I was taken aback by what I saw. . . the MetLife Building in all its glory. Even though it’s an amazing piece of architecture and no one can deny that, it detracted from the overall beauty of Grand Central Station. I can understand why it’s the building most New Yorkers would like destroyed.

Sarah Gruhn
ARH 346

Betsy said...

I love these artworks! Such an effective representation of both entropy and "extropy", order and randomness: the artists make it look effortless. I love also how the attitude of some of these pieces comes across visually as "goofy" yet hold stronger messages in these goofy images than many more conservative artworks. In line with this viewpoint, I love El Lissitzky's assertion that the artist could be the agent for change! "das zielbewuBte schaffen: goal-oriented creation" Although having a goal stuck in your mind is not always the most inspiring for the artistic process, i.e. getting visually appealing forms onto the page in an unforced way, this direction gives our art meaning!

Some of my favorite pieces here are Kansdinsky's Composition VIII, Lissitzky's works that transform various typography (into environments, objects, even parades of people, all of Kauffer's posters, and Moholy-Nagy's photogram of hands.

On a totally different note: I used to be an art student at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana before I transferred here to the University of Miami, FL. The Freeman Business School there is very famous, very respected, and !surprise! home to study furniture by Ludwig Miles Van De Rohe! Currently at the school, there is an on-going art exhibit... So If anyone is in New Orleans for the upcoming Jazzzfest, I suggest you drop by. The following is copied from Tulane news source at

" 'Chairs: 125 Years of Design' is the current exhibit at the Southeastern Architectural Archive. Co-curated by Keli E. Rylance and Kevin Williams, "Chairs" illustrates the profound aesthetic, cultural, societal and technological changes that have impacted modern chair design.

Highlights of the exhibit include seating furniture by A.W.N. Pugin, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, James Lamantia and the New Orleans firm, Curtis & Davis. The Southeastern Architectural Archive of Tulane University Library's Special Collections Division is in Room 300 of Jones Hall, 6801 Freret St. Hours are Mondays–Fridays, 9 a.m.–noon and 1–5 p.m. Admission is free.

"Chairs" will be on display through Nov. 10, 2010. For more information, contact Rylance, head of the Southeastern Architectural Archive, at 504-247-1806."

Thanks, Elizabeth Rice

Lisa said...

It really is amazing to see works form the early 20th century reflecting what we see today as being “futuristic.” Most of the work is streamlined, crisp, and very simple. The Wassily Chair and Barcelona Chair were both made in the 1920s, but when I saw them they appeared to have been made very recently. These two chairs actually look more futuristic than most other chairs I’ve seen in furniture stores recently, so that’s doubly impressive.

These chairs and the many buildings seen in the last class are clearly influenced by the “form follows function” idea, that the design of a structure should be drawn from that structure’s purpose. The idea led to simpler, and often bolder, designs. The style is still very popular to this day, because most of our buildings, cars, chairs, and other structures seem to follow this simple and streamlined look. The modern look is this streamlined, Bauhaus look; the influence of Bauhaus is clearly seen in design today, so it was interesting to learn about the history of this style.

Lisa Joseph, ARH346

Sam said...

During this lecture a number of things really stood out for me. The old world war 1 posters, I have always found engaging ever since we studied the subject in history. They are very striking but indisputably also a prominent kind of propaganda, designed with intention of drawing more young men towards the war effort. This is somewhat sobering to me because they are wonderful examples of design but with a darker purpose.

Looking at the White Stripes from a design form of view was particularly intriguing for me as a fan of their music. They have always struck me as a somewhat unique band in terms of only having two members and their style of dress, with the prominent color choices being black, white and red. The idea that the bands design centers around cubist ideas, makes a lot of sense when you look at some of their music videos. Seven nation army in particular has very clear cubist overtones when I viewed this week on youtube. The idea that design reaches into so many elements of life is an entertaining concept.

I also saw your chair prominently placed in a New York window display when i visited the city at the weekend. I found myself staring intently at the buildings more closely than usual.

silentmonk said...

your lecture was very interesting, seemed missing from my weekly endeavors due to spring break. i was curious about all the architecture from the bauhaus, ive always read small bits on the bauhaus but during your classis the first time i understood it with what they were trying to do.I was curious to know more about the impact they left on our countries architecture and what were the bad outcomes of their influences. Is there a movement that would like to change and improve the ideas of architecture in our country that might embrace or rebel against what bauhaus did?

carlos franco arh 346

Jeffrey Stern said...

I'm not sure that I understand "geometric abstraction as a sign of functionality". Objects that come to mind when I think of highly functional, well-designed objects are items that are simple, clean design, free of artifice. But this may be more a function of my personal taste. If a Louis XIV chair is comfortable is it any less functional than a Marcel Breuer chair, which may in fact be less comfortable and therefore less functional. I don’t equate clean and simple or geometric abstraction with functionality. Form follows function. If a tea pot is to hold a certain amount of hot water, be capable of brewing tea leaves, pour without spilling, keep the water hot and hopefully be pleasing to the eye, I don’t see any of that as representing an abstraction of any design, form or thought.
I do however share your enthusiasm for the Bauhaus. This feels like a divine moment in design history. Between the wars when mass production and industrialization combined with a design aesthetic that would affect objects large and small of everyday life in every medium across all economic strata. Its simplicity of form and strong reliance on geometric shape will forever give it a quality of feeling current and new. I imagine that much of the design of this period will continue to feel current well into the future.
You mention design as discipline. I was struck in the text by the work of W. A. Dwiggins a graphic designer who’s work, especially his colophons, printer’s marks, dingbats perhaps, I was familiar with, who in 1922 was the first to coin the term graphic designer. To think that 2-dimensional graphics, type, images text had been created, manipulated, given thought for thousands of years before someone codified this process with a title.
In a not so off the topic note, this week the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Architecture and Design “acquired” the @ symbol into its collection. This acknowledgement places an imprimatur of form, function, cultural meaning on a symbol (dingbat?) perhaps not far removed from the work of Dwiggins.

Some interesting links to this event

Ping said...

The period of arts we have studied shows the evolution of fine art to applied art, where fine art has transformed from evoking emotion to actual function or purpose in our daily life. This type of art seems extend itself from two-dimensional to three-dimensional, which you can feel and touch, and becomes a tool or thing that can help or assist our practical needs.

A good example is during the De Stijl period when Piet Mondrian style transformed from painterly landscapes to straight lines and solid colors. This art style moved from the canvas to everyday objects like chairs, books, fashions, shoes, cabinets, and even houses. The simplicity of this art style shows balance and harmony, therefore it is very easy to adopt.

Straight lines are the basic and natural elements of man-made shapes, which we are very familiar with. I believe that this style became popular because of its simplicity. Because people feel like they are being bombarded with information, modern-day art is simple, to the point, and becomes part of the background. We don't even realize we are surround by it.

Sau Ping Choi