(Please don't count this as my official comment! I like to think that will be more thought out..) Good timing, the Banksy film, "Exit Through the Gift Shop", was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary tonight. Even though it lost to a film about the 2008 financial crisis, I think it's great that it was even nominated. Nice to see a "less acceptable" form of art like graffiti get recognized by a "more acceptable" form like the Oscars. Should broaden at least a few people's horizons!
I really like Bansky’s work! He is brilliant, has a beautiful style and is a humanitarian. I have an immediate emotional response to his images. Then he uses semiotics to articulate his message. Often the characters are children. This is very effective and creates a stronger reaction. I am more likely to be empathetic towards a child with an assault weapon than an adult. An example is the outdoor image of a rundown commercial building wall with a “For Rent” sign. Below we see a crayon like drawing of a little girl’s house with boarded windows. It tells a story that this isn’t just an empty building. This is where someone played out their childhood dream of creating a business. They rented the space, and the business failed. Now the space is empty and they’re probably not going to pursue anymore dreams. I believe this is a very emotionally compelling example of what is going on in the economy. Michelle Roy
Banksy, perhaps the most known yet unknown artist of our generation. I think what really drives his popularity is the themes of his work. His work can comment on society, consumerism or just the mundane and everyday life. In this sense, I feel like he is more relatable to people. One minute, he could be commenting society's obsessions with beauty and consumerism by displaying a Mickey in a compromising position over a billboard with a cracked out Minnie watching, to displaying a sarcastic humor, such as crossing out Picasso's name and stealing his quote. Banksy embodies the every man, and has the freedom to express what we believe. He is you, and he is me, and we are Banksy. That's what his anonymity gives us.
I really like how the artist disrupts the normal course of things by embellishing, exaggerating them, giving depth into his work and perspective like no one else has managed to do so far in its own way.He seems enjoying to provoke ,shock or disturb the society and this is what makes his work so important. His work reminds me of Andy Warhol's works.He loves to use rats and monkeys, which seem to borrow heavily human examples. Among his other subjects, there are police, military, seniors and children in which these cons are regularly associated with objects that do not fit, sometimes even absurd, as the context in which they are shown.Yasemin Koraltan
One of the things that I found interesting after watching this was the difference between street art and graffiti. I had never really considered graffiti to be a form of art, just people whose only intent to mark up different areas. After seeing some graffiti artists, such as Banksy, however, I began to realize that there are street artists that leave their marks with a purpose in mind. There is no way I can look at the work of Banksy and not call it art. His artworks have meaning. Unfortunately there are people who will spray paint anything on walls just to mark it up, and leave their mark. I feel that its graffiti like this that often leads artists, such as Banksy, to be less recognized. I'm glad to see a documentary being made about something as interesting as this. I now realize that street art should be recognized. Although it may not be the most traditional form of art, who says art can't be found on a concrete wall or sidewalk? Definitely interested in watching the whole thing!-Nicole Collazo
The documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” first caught my attention when it was nominated for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards. There was a large amount of speculation as to what would happen if the film won the award, since Banksy’s identity remains a secret. I hadn’t seen any part of the film at that point, so watching the trailer posted here gave me a deeper appreciation for it. I think the fact that Banksy makes such an effort to hide his identity shows his genuine love for the art he creates and his disinterest in being directly credited for it. It's as if he is creating these masterpieces anonymously simply for the world to appreciate and learn from- not for the credit or praise. Although he has created somewhat of an identity as the faceless artist, I think there is a deeper reason he won’t reveal his real name or show his face, a reason that lends itself to the art he creates. His work gains a sense of mystery and wonder because of this anonymity, so despite what he creates and how silly it may appear, it possesses a certain degree of significance while allowing the public to more directly relate to the art.-Lisa Trucchio
By the way, you don't have to talk exclusively about Banksy. You can also tackle the many different issues of last Thursday's lecture.
I’ve loved Banksy’s works since I first heard of him for many of the reasons that some of you have already named. I had usually credited stencil art that I’ve thought were his (especially having to do with rats). It wasn’t until I saw another great movie on this subject, Bomb It, that I realized that there was someone who had done this style of work many years before him. I still think Banksy is very original but I do think that someone should give credit here to Blek le Rat (Xavier Prou). When seeing Xavier in that film, I thought it was remarkable that the reason he started to make this stencil art was because the graffiti pieces that he loved in NYC just didn’t work with the architecture and surroundings of Paris. Ofcourse, Banksy’s works are also beautifully integrated in the UK. It’s also my opinion that their works blend so well in most urban settings that they could work in several different types of cities. I think what would make a difference if you take move their work to another city may be the social message.Stylistically, I prefer what I’ve seen from Banksy, probably because he’s younger and knows how to get to today’s youth but I think it’s important to acknowledge Blek le Rat’s contribution as well.From Wikipedia:British graffiti artist Banksy has acknowledged Blek's influence saying "every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier."Irelis Milhet
I just noticed your comment before mine, Professor. Sorry!I also wanted to say that if anyone is interested in some of the Expressionist-type videos we've seen (although I believe he is more surrealist) to look up David Lynch's short films, which I find disturbing as well as fascinating. Irelis Milhet
I watched “Exit through the Gift Shop” in my ARH 530 (Propaganda in the arts) class, and before then I never really knew who Banksy or that there was such a street art phenomenon going on. Since it was nominated for an Oscar we (my class) were all really intrigued to know if, the film won would Banksy accept the award himself; unfortunately, the film did not win. Before this film, as I stated I really had no idea of these artist, and now I’m even writing my paper for ARH 530 on Shepard Fairey. I think these artists just give a new meaning to graffiti. It’s certainly something different then what the so called “street artists” of Miami do; there’s a difference in quality, originality in my opinion. The “ street artists” of Miami are mainly just teenagers wanting to “tag” things, unlike artists such as Banksy that try to portray a message through his work.Carolina Fernandez
When we talked about the Rietveld Red and Blue chair, the important point "Form Follows Function" was alluded to. It is almost a rite of passage for architects to design chairs (Frank Lloyd Wright, Saarinen, Gehry, Aalto, Rossi, van der Rohe, Eames, the list is virtually endless) and people buy them because they're a more affordable version of the buildings. However, very few of these chairs are comfortable. Rietveld's chair can definitely be considered art, but as Professor Triff pointed out, it does not serve its inherent function. I did some research on Rietveld and found a quote that I believe explains his intentions, "We must remember that sit is a verb too." Clearly he made his "chair" uncomfortable on purpose to keep people on their toes, but this begs the question: Should designers sacrifice functionality for beauty? I'm all in favor of being cutting edge and pushing the boundaries of design, but at what cost? And I'm curious if Rietveld knew that his chair was not functional or if he really believed he would revolutionize how people use chairs. I think this chair, and the practice of architects designing chairs, signifies the beginning of the Modernist movement. A lot of designers let their egos and desire to simply create something new and exciting get away from them, resulting in designs that were eventually rejected as too impersonal and lacking the comfort that humans really want. Relating this back to Banksy, I think he represents the complete opposite ideal. As Alyssa pointed out, his anonymity is a big part of what makes him so interesting. This complete lack of desire for personal laurels allows his work to speak for itself without his ego/image getting in the way.
After last class I decided that I really don’t like the style of Piet Mondrian at all. I actually like his early work, but as his work progressed into what it is today, I don’t like it at all. His early works shown in class use a more variety of colors and are more beautiful to me then his later works. You are able to see his technique in all of the paintings, but they begin to get so geometrical. I don’t like how the lines are perfectly strait, and there is limited color. I guess it’s just not my taste at all, which brings me into neoplasticism. I really don’t like anything about it. It’s so geometric rather than more natural looking. It just looks so box-like and plain to me.- Megan Jacobson
(second attempt)Seeing the German Expressionist style from last class, with its bold style and goal of expressing an idea (in this case, emotion), reminded me of a trend I’m seeing online where graphic artists take movies, new and old, and attempt to capture the core of the plot, characters, or ideas within a simple graphical design resembling old fashioned book covers. Movies as BooksI think this concept of simplification – applying to emotion, stories, ideas, or whatever – is a general trend of the modern age. We’re totally oversaturated with media and images. It’s becoming more and more important to condense all the info at our disposal into a small, digestible-on-the-go form. Oversimplification, then, might be a problem the modern world will face in general, but for artists I think it’s a valuable skill to be concise with your audience. -Gabriel Basham
When I saw the Piet Mondrian piece I was taken back to middle school. For my English class I was given the chance to choose any topic for a paper and after hours of going through encyclopedias at home I came across Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl movement. The simplicity of the geometries and the sole use of primary colors, and how this combination was “art” intrigued me. I focused on his post-1920 work because it was so outside-the-box for the time. In an attempt to be original I recreated a Mondrian linear ‘Compositions’ for the cover sheet of my paper and I got great reviews for this; I regard it so highly that I still keep it with my high school keepsakes. I realize now that I didn’t really compare his previous works (which were more free and fluid) and never questioned his motives for such a dramatic change of style. I understand now that his move to Paris threw him in the direction of Cubism, but not being satisfied with the style plus ending up back in Netherlands where he’d meet Theo van Doesburg, led him to Neoplasticism. I admire both styles and the fact that an artist has such a broad vision: from soft, natural forms to hard, structured geometries.
I love the straightforwardness of propaganda. Unlike advertising, where products and people are idealized and made to look better than reality so that a company can sell a product or service, propaganda is more realistic and used instead to evoke emotion and thoughts out of the people who see it. Propaganda uses loaded messages instead of the embellished and spiffed up messages found in advertising- which is where the emotional responses and reactions come from. I feel like propaganda messages do not refrain from telling people how it really is or taking words or images down a few levels for the sake of not scaring people away. Propaganda is used to get the audience to join or a agree with a certain cause, so the messages may be used to persuade or even instill fear, which advertising would never do. So I guess the real difference between propaganda and advertising is the case of idealism vs. realism..-Kate Festa
I thoroughly enjoyed “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, a fascinating documentary film that depicts the secret life of street artists as well as the rise of Mr. Brainwash. The documentary deals with ideas of art and commercialism. I noticed Mr. Brainwash’s work strongly resembles the art of Andy Warhol. Like Warhol, his work is extremely market driven and has a strong interest in the social effect of repetition of commercial imagery and the celebrity image. American culture is the fundamental subject of Brainwash’s work, which depicts an underlying interest in the social phenomenon in this country. I believe his art celebrates the over-commercialization of art through an attractive mixture of familiar pop culture images. After watching the documentary, I began to ask myself the question ‘what is art?’ The film led me to believe that artwork can be whatever you want it to be. As Banksy says towards the end of the film “maybe it means art is a bit of a joke.”Lara Rosenbaum
I really liked the post about Mondrian. I find it interesting how, similar to artists like Picasso, his style changed so drastically in such a short amount of time. Though he is most recognized for his abstract color squares (so much so that they created this cake at the San Francisco MoMa to emulate it: http://www.tastespotting.com/detail/91301/Mondrian-Cake-from-the-San-Francisco-MoMa), I am particularly drawn to some of his darker works. These include some of his earliest works like Grey Tree, which seem to stem from influence of both cubism and post-impressionism. Similarly, as he moves into the color blocks, his earliest works there have curves and diagonals integrated into the designs. These become absent in his later works, but I find them much more dynamic and interesting in relation to the color blocking he is so famous for. It is also interesting to see how Mondrian moved slowly from very muted tone to the stark, bright colors of his later works. The gradual change shows he was constantly playing with new technique, always evolving as an artist, which I like.-Melisa Ramos
A year ago when I studied abroad, I did a series of paintings based on Mondrian's work. What is amazing to me is how his simple technique is applied and often found in various works of art, whether it is intended or not. For example, my project comprised of street signs abstracted to a collection of lines, shapes and colors making clear, defined lines like many of his works. I think sometimes the simplicity of art is often overlooked. Lines, shapes and colors are the basis of every work and unfortunately many don't see simple images as artistic talent. Bansky's work also uses fine lines and simple forms and clearly makes a huge statement in today's society.
Banksy is an interesting figure. I find him compelling because he goes out of his way to break the law in order to produce art works. It’s as if he is doing the wrong thing in order to do the right thing. Throughout history some of the greatest people to achieve success have done so through extreme means even if that means breaking the law. Banksy is publicly indulging people with modern art that is very compelling at a risky price. I admire Banksy because he doesn’t allow laws or rules to get in his way of fulfilling his ambition. It takes boldness and creativity to pull off what Banksy does. Graffiti art is a special skill that Banksy has mastered. Everyone can play basketball, but not everyone can play like Michael Jordan. Everyone can graffiti but not everyone can graffiti like Banksy. Instead of denying this man his right to express his art through the public street, people should admire his boldness and confidence to actually go out in the public and display his art.
I was not in class last Thursday, but after reviewing all the images and doing some research Boris Hoppek stood out immensely. I am a big Banksy fan, but Hoppek is so risqué. I read up on his life and found out that he wanted to attend art school, but was never accepted. He resorted to graffiti and street art and came up with naughty art i.e. lavagina. I really like his contemporary style, using selected colors creating his own character and universe. After viewing many of his images, I concluded that he is a bit of an extremist. His themes go from loveable puppets to sexual abuse and racism. Another point I want to discuss is photoshop and surreal art. Technology has given us the power to alter anything, especially images. It brings a sense of faux into the scheme of things. One of my favorite artists, Dali, was the most recognized and when I look at his paintings, I think to myself, this can be easily mimicked on PS. Last year I wanted to decorate my wall with a piece of art. Buying a cool piece of art on a second Saturday would cost me hundreds, if not thousands. So, I decided to ‘borrow’ an image by Lichtenstein, gave it to my photoshop expert friend and made the image my own. I blew up the image and had it framed for under $100. I get compliments on it all the time, but have I tainted Lichentenstein’s piece? Probably. Michael Dongo
Struck by the excerpt from “The Making of Americans,” I looked further into Gertrude Stein, I was surprised to find out that she actually knew Picasso. In fact, he even painted a portrait of her in 1905-6. Learning of her relationship with the father of cubism, it becomes no surprise that her literary works so perfectly capture the essence of visual cubism. Every idea is separate, and each segment makes some point or clarification. Individually, each phrase provides only a small insight to what she is explaining, but put together they create an entire picture. Though at first this may seem rough and jarring, you adjust to the consistent pattern over time. In a way it’s almost melodic. This type of writing reminds me a lot of stream of consciousness works by William Faulkner and James Joyce.
Turn #4 I thought it was truly fascinating looking at the transition from Victorian Graphics to the Art Nouveau style, specifically when going over Jules Cheret master pieces.To me one of the pieces that stood out the most was his poster L’aureole Du Midi, Pe’trole De Surete, 1893. Simple yet beautiful design, not to mention his magnificent color lithographic craftsmanship. Capturing very expressive figures, full of energy and movement. The use of black lines followed by the use of primary colors. One can truly say that his piece has that sense of vitality by the use of such bright colors , soft water color like washes and bold calligraphy. Sometimes to come up with a good piece, all you need is that, simple lines, great use of technique and minimal color. Also, he introduces the woman in a different role, she seems to have more freedom, without any sense of restrictions. Encompassing so mush gesture, we see a happy woman, who is enjoying life to the fullest, dancing, alive, and like in many of his other pieces, she is wearing a more comfortable and modern apparel, as a consequence of a more liberated society and time. Turn #5 I thought it was really interesting how the development of the new typography contributed to the progression of the modern grid system. It broke with all previous print traditions. Taking away that mid 20th century use of the complex grid structure, which required the use of multiple columns, justified setting, symmetrical spread, all determined by geometry. Now we find the new typography, which it’s only purpose is to achieve a greater visual clarity, easily navigable pages and the simplify of form. All these accomplished by using type at different angles or curves, introducing extreme variation in type sizes, using abstracted letterforms. Now, space became a more dynamic element in typographic layout. It’s more about using typography, as a powerful weapon communicate your message, in a more simple legible simple manner, with the use of sans-serif type, bold and thin type,collage, photography, geometric shapes but most important, in a asymmetrical way. Yusmary Cortez
I am a huge fan of Mondrian's work. The fact that something that is as complex as the Manhattan city grid, was simplified into just 4 different colors, in Boogie-Woogie Broadway. I guess that's how a lot of advertisements are being advertised nowadays, they strip off all of the fluff, and can present it in a no-frills 15-second television ad, or even just a full page ad in a magazine, but only 2 words
^ sorry forgot to write my name.Phu N.
(re-posting comment because it didn't go through the first time) In response to Advertising and it’s influences during the 1950s as a result to comic strips and the ability to make things “more real than life.” I was reminded of the days of these initial “Mad Men” (as they dubbed themselves) who created some of the first inspiring ads like Voltzwagen’s “Lemon” and “Think Small” print ads where champions such as Paul Rand and Bill Bernbach began to change the medium so that a great ad is based on simplicity and being memorable. According to Mad Men’s Donald Draper, “Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness,” and even these days, finding that emotional appeal with a simple graphic design gets consumers to pay attention. An actual advertising guru, Bill Bernbach (who was also quoted in Mad Men as Don Draper’s rival to Sterling Cooper) advocated advertising as an art and encouraged imaginative and smart advertising. He created many famous Volkswagen spots including “Funeral” and “Snow Plow.” As both an advertising and art major, I’ve found myself wondering what kind of business I’ve gotten myself in. What sells? I often remind myself (especially after seeing a pretty awful commercial) that Don Draper has a point, “Just so you know, the people who talk that way think that monkeys can do this [advertising]. They take all this monkey crap and just stick it in a briefcase completely unaware that their success depends on something more than their shoeshine. YOU are the product. You- FEELING something. That's what sells. Not them. Not sex. They can't do what we do, and they hate us for it.” Amen.
I was mostly impressed with Kandinsky and his work. I really loved the use of color in his work, they were so vibrant and vivid. In class, it was said that Kandinsky was inspired by music to create his paintings, and we can really see how music is represented through imagination in his paintings. I was intrigued by Kandinsky's life so I went to research a bit more, and I found out that he studied law and economics, in which he was quite succesful. But later he realized that he wanted to paint and he started painting studies when he was 30. He also taught in the Bauhaus school of art. I've seen many paintings of him, and some of them are more abstract and look more impressionistic, while others look very geometric. I like more his geometric abstract paintings, they seem more different to me than the impressionist paintings from before. I really liked the way he used primary colors that popped out with black and his very simple, yet complicated arrangements of geometrical forms.Micole Alkabes
The school of Bauhaus is something very intriguing to me especially after learning about it in my graphic design class. However, I didn’t realize that it was highly driven by women. I believe that Bauhaus greatly changed a lot of aspects of design. The photomontage and bold lettering is a technique that is classic and is used even now. In addition, the design and the bluntness of some of the advertisements shown was just completely shocking to me, because of what is the norm during this age. There was so much freedom in the use of words and pictures before the age of political correctness and censorship. The rules are what restrict some true design, for those who are afraid to break the rules that is.
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