Monday, March 8, 2010

Your turn #7


Besides Dada, my favorite, we reviewed a shower of Twentieth Century "isms," Expressionism, Surrealism, Constructivism, Suprematism, what are your thoughts? 

Grace Barnes rightfully calls my attention to my mixing up Hans Arp's gender. It's a HE. Es tut mir leid. It's not the first time I mix up Arp with this British sculptor  whose work I love.

Now, this is my contention: 20th century art until the 1960's was pretty much female-less art. Cubism, Futurism, Expressionism, Surrealism and Constructivism are phallocentric (though Surrealism is pretty "soft"). Even in America, are there women abstract expressionists? Bourgeois, and Nevelson were more like outsiders. 

During the 60's & 70's a bunch of female artists started exploring alternative materials. Schneeman and Ono, and later Mendieta and Abramovic explored the body. Bourgeois' soft forms were seen as a viable alternative. Then, Eva Hesse opened up a whole gamut of forms and materials. Plastics, fabrics, textiles, ceramics, and "soft" forms, were important explorations in female art. Have to go now... (to be continued).    


Gloria A. Lastres said...

In our last class I was captivated by poet and playwright Vladimir Mayakovsky, a significant figure in early 20th century Russian Futurism. His literary works are gloomy, profound, and in my opinion: signaling his impending suicide. It's one of those things where if he kills himself you can say "It was evident in his artistic expression" but if he lives you say "He relates to suicide without committing it" Mayakovsky expresses his angst in his art, and if it is therapeutic, there is not enough remedy to stop him from ending his life, leaving behind a poetic farewell note.

Mayakovsky's art is well ahead of its time, so it fits in well with the present day artwork. While his words translate nicely to English, I know it must be a much more powerful and exacting work in his native Russian, making me wish I knew at least a third language for an enhanced arts' appreciation.

-Gloria A. Lastres

Rafaella Medeiros said...

I have seen Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture, the urinal, titled as The Fountain, many times. I could never understand how it is a piece of art, and why it is admired until this day. After the lecture, I finally understand why. Dadaism was a form of art that was liberating, anarchism, and it was like a medicine for tortured souls during the WWI. I can see its important significance; it is innovating and shows that art can be… well whatever you want it to be. Dadaism was a reaction to the world breaking into pieces; it was a way for the people to forget about the killings going on. Duchamp’s sculpture of a urinal proves that anything ca be art if you can back it up properly, and he did so. He once said “I don’t believe in art, I believe in artists,” because that’s what he did with the urinal, the urinal is not an art. He chose the object, placed it so its useful significance disappears under the new point of view, and therefore creating a new thought for that object.. that is so intriguing.

Anonymous said...

I found Kadinsky’s painting to be particularly compelling. I’ve seen them everywhere since I was a child, in one form or another, on coffee mugs, t-shirt designs, bags and so on. Without even knowing much about the artist himself and his philosophies, you can sense the musicality and movement in his art. His work, particularly during the 1922-1933 eras which he taught at the Bauhaus school in Germany, is an array of simple yet layered geometric shapes, monochromatic colors, straight lines, and is quite abstract. And while his work is also slightly reminiscent of the basic shapes found in Suprematism, it still distances itself from that movement by incorporating richer colors, more shapes, and complexity in general. The musicality is apparent in these works; there is a sort of freedom in the shapes and colors, yet certain intricacy to them as well. And for some reason, some of his paintings remind me of dismembered musical instruments, particularly the piece “On White II”.

Kendra Zdravkovic

RafaUM said...

I forgot to write on my comment, by Rafaella Medeiros, that its for class ARH 346.

cbfelder said...

I found the dada and surrealism portion of the lecture to be particularly interesting. As a criticism of the formal art culture and WW1, it's clear to see the dada artists, such as Duchamp's, intentions when creating work like "The Fountain."
It makes sense too that Surrealism was comprised of so many ex-dada artists, as the liberating nature of the movement lends itself to the surrealist manifesto.
The pursuit of visualizing the subconscious has always fascinated me, and i feel the work of these artists make such a heavy impact when they successfully tap into this realm. What i enjoy most is that surrealist art can be a blending/medium between classical, academic style and the raw emotion of abstract expressionism. (a contemporary example being Zdzislaw Beksinski :
On the femininity of surrealist style, it may be a bi-product of the pursuit of the dream-like atmosphere, as well as the often detail oriented nature of the work, that produces that soft, controlled quality.

A.T. said...

Cool image! Thanks.

AlexBroadwell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AlexBroadwell said...

I can't remember if you talked about Jan Svankmajer in class or not, but I ended up watching the ten minute short film you posted.

When I studied film in Prague last year, we discussed Svankmajer extensively, and watched his surrealist film "Food" (Part 1, Part 2). His style is a strange mix between fascinating and off-putting, probably due to his strange mix of clay and... real things. He is often imitated today, and glimpses of his influence can be seen especially in the early work of filmmakers Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam. Claymation sequences in Burton's "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" come to mind.

I also really liked the "Nosferatu" clip, despite the weird, un-fitting soundtrack on that particular Youtube video. I highly recommend "Shadow of The Vampire," the Nicolas Cage-produced film that fictionally depicts the making of "Nosferatu," starring Willem Defoe and John Malkovich.

-Alex Broadwell

Sarah said...

I would strongly agree with Kendra, that Kandinsky’s work is quite compelling. I think his use of vibrant colors and bold shapes make his paintings incredibly interesting.

I had the joyous opportunity of experiencing Kandinsky’s collection at the Guggenheim, last fall in New York City. It was quite an experience, being able to enter the Guggenheim Museum for the first time, and having the opportunity to observe art from influential artists such as: Kandinsky, Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh. I had studied Kandinsky’s art in school, and have always found his unique style very intriguing, but being able to partake in his art work in person, made his artistry even more impressive to me.

Kandinsky’s art has so many moving parts. When I visited the Guggenheim in October of 2009, I stared in disbelief at the intricacies of each of his paintings. Although a lot his art is consisted merely of simple objects like that of “Composition III" (Kandinsky 1923) or “Several Circles” (Kandinsky 1926). “Several Circles” was much different than any of his other paintings, the background for this piece was black and the rest of the piece was comprised of many vibrantly colored circles. I remember gazing at this painting and being perpelexed by the movement Kandinsky was able to create by his use of brushwork and color selection.

He had a great ability to create movement, detail and interest in all of his work by his use of striking colors and his particular arrangement of the forms in this piece. Throughout his lifetime he created a collection of various styles and techniques. When you exclaimed that Kandinsky is the king, I would have to agree! He was an amazing artist and his art work continues to be revered and cherished by many artists and art lovers today.

Sarah Gruhn
ARH 346

AlliHeathe said...

I wrote a comment about the last class before this was posted so I could avoid writing it right before this test (and another one in another class) there was no post available yet to write on last week. Can I just use that because I don't have time to write a new one?

AlliHeathe said...

There are a few things that stood out to me from this lecture, one being Duchamp’s urinal piece. I remember discussing Duchamp’s piece in my past art history class, and the fuss over a random object still doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t understand how taking a urinal out of context somehow qualifies as art; maybe it’s an intellectual statement, but I wouldn’t describe it as art. The thought of such intensely bothers me. When people spend hours, years, and months on precisely painting, drawing (etc.) a fantastic piece of artwork, the comparison doesn’t make any sense to me no matter how many times it is highlighted in a course.
I do find Magritte’s work interesting, however. His work forces the viewer to be analytical, which I really like. Not only is his work beautiful to look at, it’s almost like an optical illusion to decide what you’re actually looking at. I also like the collage pieces you highlighted. I tend to use the collage style in my own work, but these pieces are not only collage in appearance, they’re collage in ideas. I like how works, such as “The man with a movie camera”, convey a clear theme in an interesting, yet slightly confusing manner.

- Allison Brown, ARH346

silentmonk said...

The ideas were exploding throughout europe with the coming of a variety of movements that were distinctly different from each other. Macel Duchamp one the original dada artist, duchamp had been known to spectacles with his artwork, and "fountain" is one the the most remembered and talked about pieces of the twentieth century.One can not talk about art history in american after 1950's without thinking about how duchamp influenced the vast change in idea. conceptual art came out of those inspired by dada and duchamp while he was in ny before going back to france. you said on thing that struck me
"anything that you do can be art, provided by you back it properly"
this statement holds true that an person without a history of making conceptual art who presents a "candy in a corner" would not be recognized as someone who does have the history of making such works. As though i am an artist and look for what other are doing, in my opinion the works of damien hirst and jeff koons are empty pieces of art.Im trying to say that there is no real thoughts or ideas behind their works, they found something that works and kept it going.

i was curious about the quick segue into the difference of male-female art, and the small details that differentiate the two. even though this is not a 100% accurate way to depict the gender, have you ever encountered a piece that had the traits of a female artist but it was done by a male?

dmb said...

Malevich's suprematistic movement really appealed to me. As a designer, I have a minimalist approach. My simplicity tends to focus on geometric shapes as guides and design elements in layouts. His piece Supremus No. 58

As far as the quote you posted underneath the picture. "I took refuge in the square form and exhibited a picture which consisted of nothing more than a black square on a white field, the critics and, along with them, the public sighed, 'Everything which we loved is lost. We are in a desert'"

In response to this, there's something powerful about simplicity, just as they say silence is the loudest form of communication. The reason why I enjoy suprematism is because of the minimalism. There's nothing to distract you from the purest form of art. You are forced to focus on what's right in front of you -- sometimes that focus is all you need to make your point.

- Dayna M. Bieber

pedroiscool said...

On women in modern art.

I agree that women were shunned from almost all artistic art forms that were deemed "too complicated for women" during most of the history of art. You are right when you say that it wasn't until the 60s and 70s that women really came into the world of "fine and respectable art".

For example Georgia O'Keeffe. I really love her paintings, not only for the shape and color of her work but for its design, its simplification and purity of form. But you can see that her work is what some would call soft, pastel or light colors, soft curvilinear forms, and most famously; flowers. O'Keeffe is known mostly for her flower paintings than anything else.

But now comes along a bombshell; Barbara Kruger. Her art is unapologetic, socially and politically inclined and always makes a statement. Her work is not soft and flowing but rather harsh and direct, like a school teacher scolding you in front of the class. Her work is strong and for the first time a woman is taken seriously. her work is shown in some of the most prestigious galleries around the world and today anytime a designer even thinks about the typeface Future, Barabara Kruger comes to mind.

From then on women have played a larger role in the course of art history.

A.T. said...

True, Pedro, but Kruger is doing semiotics, so that mostly women artists follow that lead now. Of course, the differences tend to get less salient and more homogeneous with time.

Betsy said...

It’s odd how academic classes overlap, inspiring. Thank you. We have just started the “media project” in Darby Bannard’s studio class, and this history of graphic design class is really influencing my work. Normally, we students tend to feed off each others’ work, which is great, but I have not stumbled across artist’s block once! Just yesterday, I made a piece about “music” using my futurist interpretation of it. Maybe I can snap a photo and post it on the blog somewhere appropriate. Although a part of the modern movement as opposed to the futurism movement, Kandinsky is just fantastic. His pieces are so interesting and well desgined. I cannot get enough of the energy he puts into his art; it really shines through.

Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera also resonates with the film classes that I have taken. It is truly quite the showcase of cinematic technique. I recommend you all watch it, especially if you have an interest in film.

It’s interesting to see how “functional” art has become by this point. The idea that there are two kinds of graphic design: propaganda and advertising. Constructivism also fits into this concept of “functional” art, aka art with mass appeal. (well… people’s art) It’s a tricky thought for me to work out that art becomes mainstream using propaganda and advertising with the agenda of appealing to the masses while art, at the same time, becomes “weirder” (however you want to interpret that). So how can I even use the word mainstream? I haven’t worked this all out yet, but if I have any more thoughts, or anyone else does… please discuss…

Thanks, Elizabeth Rice

Ping said...

If Dada is “anti-art” then wouldn’t that makes everything art? Does it just boil down to contexts of the observed object? For example, if a candy bar wrapper were lying on the sidewalk, crumpled and dirty, you would just walk by and not even notice. But, if you take and bring it inside a white walled room, put it up on a pedestal, and shine a narrow lens spotlight on this same candy bar wrapper, does it now become art? So is everything a piece of art? Or have we forgotten what is art because we are becoming so removed from nature.

This new world of mute colors, sharp angles, factories and machines filling the landscape of a once natural planet, I believe this is the source of this new style of art. I believe this environment has brought out the subconscious feelings and expressions of this new unnatural world.

So, I believe these twentieth century "isms" evolved because of our need to make sense, to make us feel free, in this new conflicting, rigid, bland, manmade, ever-expanding world.

Sau Ping Choi

Sam said...

This week several of the topics interested me as Surrealism and Dada are two movements that have always fascinated me. Magritte's paintings in particular i find to be fascinating and amusing. They are the type of work that cause you to do a double take in terms of the image they portray. They way he slightly twists our perceptions so that something appears normal only for us to realize that it is truly abnormal, is very much entertaining to me.

I like how the subtleness of Magritte's work contrasts so strongly with the outlandish and bizarre works of Dali. Dali was one of the first artists ever to interest me and I have visited the museum dedicated to his work in Mont Marte, Paris. The abundance of surreal images in his paintings means that you can find yourself staring at a certain piece of his for hours, constantly discovering another layer to his work. The video we watched I had heard of before and had to a certain extent tried to avoid! The image of the eye being cut is startling but at the same you find yourself admiring the realistic nature of the effect.

Sam Martin arh 346

barnez said...

While I don't embrace the ideology of Marinetti, I think futurism gives us some of the most compelling graphic work in the history of graphic design.

The futurists present wildly playful and inventive pieces of pure type - these compositions don't just integrate image and type, they create image from type - a type no longer bound by vertical and horizontal axes, a type that is the subject itself; picture and sound, spare yet infinite.

We have studied the invention of the alphabet, the great achievements of early printing, social movements, such as humanism, that elevate the importance of individual. With futurism, we arrive at brilliant work that purports to reject everything that came before it.

Welcome to the 20th Century.

Grace Barnes

Lisa said...

I agree that the idea behind Dadaism is very liberating. But for me, Surrealism is far more appealing. Surrealism was an improvement upon what Dadaism brought forward… which was, I suppose, redefining the platform of art, and reclaiming art from the bourgeoisie. The point of Surrealism is to tap into and represent that unconscious world that we have so much trouble accessing.

Most classes in school are based on teaching/learning through pre-planning and thinking carefully before saying something stupid out loud. So my background makes it difficult for me, and for many other people who have come from the same educational system, to just let the underlying thoughts come forth. So maybe that’s why Surrealism holds so much appeal for me, and apparently for the viewers of Buñuel and Dali’s Un Chien Andalou as well.

The movie doesn’t make sense, and it’s not supposed to. The film was not intended to contain any underlying meaning, it’s just the representation of random, strange ideas that these two men had in store for their audience – it was meant to be shocking. The audience was supposed to be completely thrown by the inconsistencies and disjointed imagery, but they enjoyed it. This response reflects how Surrealism appeals to a lot of people even when it’s not fully understood, probably because we can recognize it as the expression of an underlying conscious that we can’t access very easily. We find ourselves asking what the images mean when maybe they don't mean anything at all.

Lisa Joseph ARH346

Jeffrey Stern said...

There where two artists and particular work covered last week that suddenly struck a cord with me in relation to more recent artists. None of these artists and their work were new to me, it was the connection that was suddenly striking.
The first was Max Ernst and in particular his black and white collages where he re-purposed printed materials and ephemera.The idea of ripped posters that allow pieces of previously posted work to show through from below and meld in a collage form with other layers is not a very new idea. I remember in the '60's Mad Magazine (that great cultural icon) had a regular cartoon feature that showed imagined mix ups resulting from ripped posters. This was also something one could regularly witness in the New York City subway. It was usually haphazard as it was hard to know what would lie in the layers under the top advertisement. It was difficult to create deliberately but offered amusing accidents. Advertisement in the subway are no longer paper pasted up, but are now composed of a rubbery plastic material with a sticky backing tat can be peeled off and deliberately reused on other ads. Real collage.

The other image was Magritte's "The Human Condition", whose image featured a canvas on an easel in front of a window where the painting was of the identical image of what is outside the window. The photographer Ken Josephson has made many images based on this concept. He will utilize a previously created image, a post card or a Polariod of a subject or a part of and then place, hold or have the subject hold this image, which he then re-photographs as a new image creating a "window" within the image. A comic doppelganger.

On a different note: was not every century and "ism" and are they not still, male centric. As many thing in life were males dominate and deliberately or not create an all boys club that women simply cannot enter.

jorell said...

Of course as I am cramming for our exam I find it difficult to conjure up any meaningful thoughts to convey. I can only say that I am thouroughly enjoying this class. I found it very interesting in class full of women, that none took offense at being told what female art was about. I expected someone to say, but I'm not a nurturng, soft, alternative material using artist; I like harsh cold materials and imagery of the apocalypse. But they are there to learn, and perhaps out of respect they stayed silent. I mean this not in a sense of male chauvanism, but in the sense that their art was being put in a container. It is of course after midnight on a long night of studying and I might just be babbling nonsense.

Juliana said...

I agree with your comment about pretty much all the “isms” are female-less art. As we saw in class through dada and kadinsky’s work, very rough shapes, some dark and dull and very abstract concepts were part of the early to mid twentieth century. I find it fascinating that how so much art developed in this time period and how much it has evolved. Although I find these artists to be fabulous and their enormous contribution to what we have today, as art I find the impressionist period to be my favorite. Actually I would have to include one of my favorites, Dali one of the most prominent surrealists. I love how your imagination can wonder starring at his piece and how real the painting can seem. It gives both effects of real and just completely “surreal”! It is almost dreamlike…
Anyways, I can go on and on about Dali. I have to highlight the classics such as Monet and Van Gogh whom are also my favorite. I find this period of art so smooth and passionate, free brushstrokes and blending of colors; these are the works I love the most. (I have to admit, I even have a collection of their stationery.)
However, a combination of all we have looked at in class up to this point shows us how much art has evolved through time and how important each artist has been to the contribution of graphic design.
-Juliana Aragao

Anonymous said...

My father actually first showed me Duchamp's urinal; he finds bathroom humor quite hilarious. He then also told me about how they sometimes paint little flies in the bowl of the urinal so that when men are peeing they aim for the fly instead of getting urine all over the place. I thought that was a pretty funny way of treating that issue, haha.

I am also glad to have seen The man with a movie camera, Dziga Vertov (1929) come up in class because one day my mom brought me home a shirt with this exact image on it. Maybe if I remember I will wear it to the test. She got it in New York City around the MoMa. I never really knew what it was or meant, but failed to look it up. Now I know :)

I really liked the way you described Magrittes work. I think some people carelessly look past his art instead of really thinking and realizing how deep his art actually is. In my high school, the seniors that are involved in the art program, ilke i was, come together to paint a 'senior art mural'. We painted the Magritte painting with the man and the apple. We altered it and made it special to our school by adding a pirate hat and a hook instead of a hand-our mascot was a the pirate.

I love Dali and have been looking forward to going to the museum in st. pete. My best friend has the tattoo of the elephant with long legs, I love that image. I wished I dreamed in Dali-vision.