Friday, February 19, 2010

Your turn #5

Here is the post for comments. Again, I wanted to stress the unique phenomenon of Art Nouveau as a unique fin-de-siecle style and how it mutates and comes back in different incarnations, first as Surrealism, then back in the 1960's as Psychedelia. 

Also, I just posted an big piece at m.bourbaki on Darby Bannard's 20 year retrospective at CVC in Wynwood, entitled Darby Bannard and the curse of abstract painting. I'd like you to pass by and if you feel like it, leave a comment. Darby is a professor of painting at the University of Miami.


barnez said...

At its inception, Art Nouveau was paradoxically at once new and nostalgic. While labeled "indulgent," this style offered a design sensibility relayed through type, graphic design, furniture and architecture. Its roots were international, as were its applications.

Along with its relationship to Surrealism and its 1960s Art Nouveau poster revival, I have come across another interesting Art Nouveau connection. Many times I have looked at Henry van de Velde's "Tropon" 1899 lithograph, but previously I did not recognize that it was an image of broken eggs, separating whites and yokes, to make a substance called tropon, a concentrated food.

"At first glance, the "Tropon" poster (p.18) of Henry van de Velde appears to be a totally abstract design in an aggressive Art Nouveau style. Yet this poster has a realistic subject which has never before, as far as we know, been noted. In the poster, the artist has represented the whites of eggs being separated from the yolks. This startling, pioneering use of highly - abstract imagery to make an indirect allusion to something concrete makes the "tropon" poster a conceptual forerunner of the avant-garde posters of the 1920s. These later images were often concrete and abstract at the same time, even if the design was stylistically very different.
--"The 20th-Century Poster: Design of the Avant Garde" by Dawn Ades. "Posters at the Turn of the Century" Robert Brown, p. 21.

Many texts refer to the Art Nouveau style as frivolous - perhaps as it incorporates the feminine and the fantastic - but this van de Velde poster shows a strong design, at once engaging, meditative, abstract, concrete and essential.
I concur with Robert Brown, in this work I see an antecedent to the 20th Century avant-garde.

--Grace Barnes

Gloria A. Lastres said...

During the last class lecture, I found myself drawn primarily to the artwork of Aubrey Beardsley. Though his black & white art is painstakingly detailed and captivating, I was more interested in his color pieces. According to my taste, Eugene Grasset would be a close second after Beardsley – 2nd only because his colors are muted rather than vibrant. And then vibrant colors led me to musings of Louis Comfort Tiffany, another great artist I’d like to add to our illustrious list. It was in 1894 that Tiffany stained glass was 1st seen in Paris in Siegfried Bing’s Salon de l’Art Nouveau, giving the movement its name.
When I Googled “Tiffany” hundreds of sites returned with pictures of lamps. I am deeply moved by the stained glasswork found in museums & houses of worship. The quality of Tiffany’s workmanship & materials has survived over 100 years. In one of his existent pieces, I saw the window glass had cracked slightly but the artwork itself was intact.
Recently, I was watching a Home & Garden TV episode in which a couple wanted to know if their Tiffany windows were authentic. It turned out they were, and their home value increased over $100,000. They vowed never to sell their home. If I owned art of such enduring value in beauty, neither would I.

-Gloria Lastres

Sarah said...

During last week’s class I really enjoyed the works of Aubrey Beardsley. He definitely was a major part of the Art Nouveau movement. I thought it was interesting that you referred to his work as toxic. At first, I thought that was a usual word to describe his work, since his illustrations are detailed, flowing and beautiful. But, after studying his illustrations, it is a very fitting word to describe his work. His pieces are intoxicating, because they make the viewer not want to look away. Although Beardsley died at a young age of 26, artists and viewers of his work, continue to be intoxicated by his art form.

I found his Japanese influenced artwork to be simplistic yet very detailed at the same time. His use of colors was bold and vibrant, but the details within the piece were quite intricate.

While studying the poster Isolde (1895), I was really impressed by the detail of the piece. Although there only 2 main colors in the used, red and beige, the woman’s beige dress still strikingly stands out against the beige background, because of the intricate detail.

However, even with a lack of color in his artwork, I found myself still wanting to stare at Beardsley’s work. In Salome (1894) Beardsley creates a great sense of movement with his fine detailed work.

After studying the illustrations in class and other illustrations that Beardsley did for The Yellow Book, I can understand why Aubrey Beardsley is revered as one the best designers of all time.

Sarah Gruhn
ARH 346

silentmonk said...

The image in which you provided, stuck a chord with me when i was looking at it, i couldn't help to associate it with movies. When looking at it, to me it felt like a still from a movie, the moment before the story starts, a transitional moment or the conclusion. I searched for other pictorialist pictures, there was one of a man at night waiting , in the for the train to come in an empty station lighting up a cigarette. To me this single picture screams film noir, makes me wonder if the directors of these films ever saw some of these images.

Art nouveau first appeared at the end of the nineteeth century, and the style was greatly used during the 1960's. With the solitary example of obey,is art nouveau making a reapperance in our times? in which form does it appear? in design similar to obey and what about architecture? has it appeared anywhere, becuase as an artist, i feel we look at the past, combine it with our own ideas and create the future from the mixture of both.

carlos franco
arh 346

Jeffrey Stern said...

As a "child of the '60's", that is having experienced my formative years in the 1960's and '70's, and my strongest art influences in that period, I was very aware of Art Nouveau and created many a psychedelic Art Nouveau piece or my version of a black and white, pen and ink "Beardsley" drawing. With its focus on organic forms from nature, Art Nouveau touched on the youth culture’s new awareness to nature, issues of the environment and the "peace and love" aesthetic. When a culture appropriates images or styles from the past it is not to copy but to be influenced. As a result, current sensibilities are mingled with the aesthetic of the past, which informs its present use. So we borrowed gladly the flowing forms and iconography of nature and the female form, but added to it a psychedelic color sensibility and hard-edged graphic sense that was very much of the present era. If “fin de siècle” … “is used to characterize anything that has an ominous mixture of opulence and/or decadence, combined with a shared prospect of unavoidable radical change or some approaching "end." (Wikipedia) … then this very much touches upon the counter-culture mood that the psychedelic graphics of this period were illustrating.

Ping said...

The first work of art that comes to my mind when considering Art Nouveau is the building known as Casa Batlló ("House of Bones”). Built in 1877, it was designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.
I consider it a very organic, naturalistic, and modern structure, full of Art Nouveau features—the use of color, stained glass, undulating surface façade and abundance of flowering water lilies; the wave-shaped roof; the green, blue and ochre glazed ceramic tiles; the columns with plant motifs; and much more. There aren’t any straight lines, and everything seems to just flow together.

Art Nouveau is a complete rebellion against and attempt to break apart from classical. It is also an expression of social conscience. Ever since the industrial revolution, machinery has replaced the craftsmen system with faster and cheaper production. The critical eye and artistry of the craftsman was sacrificed for it. Art Nouveau keeps this spirit of craftsmanship alive.

Art Nouveau, which appeared in the beginning of 20th century, is more than just a style or movement. It offered a new way of thinking in modern society and new techniques. The movement embraced all forms of art and design, suggesting that artists should work on everything from architecture to furniture and make the arts part of everyday life.

What I like about the period is that Art Nouveau artists depict women elegantly, by using flowing, dynamic, curvy lines. Women are associated with patterns of dragonflies, butterflies and flowers, in an attempt to convey their sensuality and melancholy. These organic and graceful representations help redefine the meaning and nature of the works of art.

I believe Art Nouveau helped people view art differently and has since influenced many new modes of design up through the current era. This movement is greatly needed nowadays.

Rafaella Medeiros said...

Art nouveau looked towards the future, it was a very modern style emerging from the 19th century revivalism. The structure of this doorway in Paris derives from nature, there are distorted birds in the margin, and what looks like leaves framing the door. Art nouveau also had an element of eroticism, and exotic, for instance at the left of the door there is a nude female, and to the right there is a nude male. Even though the door is wood cut, it does not have a rigidity wood and stone have, so it denies the past views of truth-to-material. Arthur Mackmurdo is considered to be the inventor of Art Nouveau, he also invented the whiplash curve, which was a major design motif consisting of connecting reversed curve lines of elliptical form. The Art Nouveau period was a time of optimism, where people let go of the bad memories that the Industrial revolution left. The last was in 1972 so Europe was in peace and there was explosion of design everywhere. It promoted, modernism, futurism, rationalism, and it left a sense of sexual mystery. I think art nouveau is a style that can never truly die, it was greatly used in the 1960s, but can also be seen today in architecture and commercial styles, or at least as a source of inspiration.

dmb said...

Of all the work this week that was posted Margaret MacDonald's menu design struck me the most. I gravitate towards pieces that have a sense of order and the columns drew me in almost immediately. I found it interesting how the modularity of the piece had a stronger presence than the psychedelic, 'art nouveau' Grateful Dead style posters. Sometimes the in-your-face bold colors and abstract design is more distracting than the simple and straight-forward.

On a completely separate note, I'm excited to get into the next section where we explore the integration of design and industry. I tend to appreciate more modern design; however I do value understanding the transformation over time of how certain styles and trends developed. It's been a great, engaging class so far and I'm excited to keep learning.

-Dayna M. Bieber

Betsy said...

Art Nouveau, aestheticism, psychedelic art, decoration, etc… are all very exciting to me because they scream “art for art’s sake!” In following the topic “aestheticism” into the Wikipedia world, I liked how they show a parallel to the “irrationalism” school of thought. “These perspectives opposed or de-emphasized the importance of the rationality of human beings. Instead, they concentrated on Kant's "noumenal realm", or the experience of one's own existence. Part of the movements involved claims that science was inferior to intuition. In this project, art was given an especially high place, as it was considered the gateway to the noumenon” (wikipedia). I find it particularly interesting that artists and critics (not in the strictest sense of the word, instead I refer to both art enthusiasts and people off the street) tend to favor curves in embellished design. Curves, of course, are totally organic: i.e. natural and the most interesting form in my opinion; we see their design everywhere in the natural world: Fibonacci and shells, the double helix of our DNA, the way a flower unfolds, the way smoke curls in the air, even the way our limbs move through space as we walk (or dance!) around. This all fits right into the idea of irrationalism, aesthetics, even psychedelics: the idea of not censoring what you see and experience but instead to exaggerate its beauty and design. (see examples from class: psychedelic posters, Aubrey Beardsley, A.H. Makmurdo, Victorian designs, etc).

Elizabeth Rice

Anonymous said...

The 60's in its entirety has always had a hold on me. The music, the mentality and the freedom to express yourself however you wish. The art of the 60's is remembered for its bright vibrant color and the psychedelic manner in which they were applied to every conceivable canvas.

John Lennon's rolls royce is a prime example of the free thinking spirit of the 60's. Rolls Royce is a british car associated with formality and wealth but Lennon's manages to embody the 60's through a funky are nouveau paint job. I was particularly amused by the story that an old lady beat his car with an umbrella whilst yelling at Lennon "how can you do this to a Rolls Royce!?"
The cover work for posters from the grateful dead manage to put across the essence of their music just by looking at the image depicted.

I was also fascinated by the example of Art Nouveau architecture which was both beautiful and fairy tale like but also somehow ominous and overbearing.

Sam Martin ARH 346

Lisa said...

I was introduced to Art Nouveau through Alphonse Mucha’s first Job poster. I had been introduced to psychedelic art before (ninth grade Graphic Design teacher was a fan of the old rock show posters), but this earlier form of Art Nouveau was so much more elegant and subdued, and very delicate it seemed like. I hated the advertisement (Job cigarette paper) but the design flowed, pulled me in... I wanted to draw just like that. And so went most of my drawings from high school life.

Art Nouveau had the same kind of pull on other art forms like architecture, furniture, jewelry, typography, and sculpture. The appeal of Art Nouveau and styles influenced by Art Nouveau lies in the organic forms and curving shapes that characterized the movement. Every design is finely crafted and detailed and manages to retain a natural flow that is seen as attractive and sensual (which was perfect for those cigarette advertisements from Mucha). That sensual aspect of Art Nouveau is such an important part of the advertising industry today, and we can see that it’s been that way since at least the late 1800s, and far before that as well.

Lisa Joseph ARH346

pedroiscool said...

Hmm. I have a love-hate relationship with Art Nouveau. It seems that, all at once, the art style is organic and mechanical; meaning it embraces curvatures and organic motifs but in a material, craftsmanship, and ideality that make it seem fake - like perfect rose petals on a silk rose. So beautiful that it must be fake.

I do enjoy its ornament and heavy reliance on tlart and crafts. I can see the beauty in overwrought metal work but at times it seems gaudy and overstuffed; gaudy. But maybe that is only because of the time period in which the art period lived. A war had just happened and people needed enjoyment and beauty in life to drive the ghosts of the past away. But in times of over consumption, over stimulation and over congestion the ornamentation seems fake and hoarish. Now we need an art that goes back to the roots of humanity, an art that invokies simpler living and draws us to peace and happiness with what we have, instead of wanting more.

Art Nouvaeu had its place and time, but now we need a truer form of expression, truth in all of its flaws and imperfections - instead of a fake rose.

-Pedro Rodriguez

Juliana said...

To compliment what we discussed in class, Art Nouveau is a French term meaning "new art" that was used to describe the decorative art style that occurred during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It found expression in a wide range of art forms such as; architecture, interior design, furniture, posters, glass, pottery, textiles, and book illustration and was characterized by its devotion to curving and swelling lines. Found in the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris, Art Nouveau eventually spread all over Europe and into the United States. In the varying countries this art movement was given different names. Although international in extent, Art Nouveau was a short-lived movement whose brief radiance was a foundation of modernism, which emphasized function over form and the elimination of superfluous ornament.
Because its influence has been far reaching and is evident in Art Deco furniture designs and architecture, in which exotic wood veneers and ornamental inlays enrich the surfaces. Dramatic Art Nouveau; inspired graphics became popular in the chaotic social and political scene of the 1960s, among a new generation challenging conventional taste and ideas. The “new art” is promised to be one of many influences for new and upcoming challenged designers.
-Juliana Aragao

Ashley said...

Out of the many art movement, I find Art Nouveau to be the most inspiring. It was great to be reminded of its beautiful works during class the other day. For the works that you mentioned as being 'too much' and overridden by Art Nouveau (3:19 pm, February 19th, installations), I found to be breathtaking and moving. I find that other works of art have a visible mark of TRYING to be just that- trying to be art. Whereas works of Art Nouveau simply exist. It is much like walking into a beautiful forrest- the trees did not form to please the eye, they simply grew. The organic lines and tropical colors found in the psychedelic art pieces that you showed in another post reverberate that same principle. Perhaps the best aspect of Art Nouveau is how it can transform and yet still hold on to its true identity throughout the ages, as it proven by old pieces of architecture (such as the subway openings in France) and band posters from the 1960s.

Rachel said...

I can totally see how Art Nouveau has mutated and returned in the form of psychedelia; and I also believe that a lot of the current styles are neo-Art Nouveau. William Blake was inspired by the French and American revolutions, which made his work quite revolutionary and different then the art at that time. He was involved in the Pre-romantic time, which inspired many people and kept Europe changing. I feel like this same art reemerged in the 60’s right after the Beatnik age where things were starting to drastically change. With the sexual revolution came this neo-Art Nouveau that really displayed what their time was all about. I feel like the psychedelic posters really show how important music was at that time and depicted the 60’s very well.
I feel as though the current style is very neo- art nouveau as well, as seen by the OBEY poster. If you looked at Urban outfitters last year it was very influenced but this time of art with vines, trees, and other curvy designs. I feel that the whole ‘green’ trend also brings about Art Nouveau-like styles with all the tree roots on t-shirts and water bottles etc. I think that maybe Ed Hardy’s designs might be neo-Art Nouveau.

Kendra said...

I agree with the poster who discussed having mixed feeling toward Art Nouveau. It was groundbreaking when it came out, as a refreshing turn from neo-classical art forms, and a route toward modern art forms, but it's definitely not very representative of our times right now. It's organic floral motifs, and highly stylized nature are unique to it's own, and it's particularly interesting that it encompasses an entire way of life. According to wikipedia, "Art Nouveau is now considered a 'total' style, meaning that it encompasses a hierarchy of scales in design.." It's also interesting that this art movement has been resurrected time and time again; 1960's and 70's psychedelic art is clearly derivative of the lithographic work that Alphonse Mucha created in 1895. All that said, it's very futurist, and it imagines a world that is idyllic, elegant and artful manner, but to me is too ornamental and not organic enough for now. I like the idea of a reaction against 2000's culture of consumption, and the Art Nouveau movement doesn't quite fit in with that idea.

Kendra Zdravkovic