Saturday, March 23, 2013

it's your turn

Rodchenko's photomontage of Mayakovsky (1923)

17 comments:

Justine Fenner said...

I was interested in discussing the difference between Propaganda and Advertising. When you first posed the question, I racked my brain and really couldn’t think of a difference. As soon as you said the commercial aspect, the defining difference became pretty clear and obvious. When I think of the word propaganda I usually associate it with rumors and negative connotations. I was interested to look up the actual definition. One of the definitions I cam across was “ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause” from Merriam Webster. Although some of the definitions did have a “rumor” component, it was not its defining principle. The definition I gave before makes me think that propaganda could be a tool of advertisers and even graphic designers. Advertisers tap into our desires and emotions to further their cause. Merriam Webster defines advertising as “the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements.” The two terms really seem to overlap except for the fact that advertising pertains to commercialism and propaganda to a political agenda.

Anonymous said...

One component of the lecture that really piqued my interest was the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky. His paintings spoke to me in his use of pure geometric shapes and abstraction. When I researched his work I learned that he was an accomplished cello player and used his music as a great inspiration for his compositions. The iconographies of many of his pieces display these harmonies that seem to be setting the mood and tone for his work. It has also suggested that he could have experienced the condition synesthesia, where there is actually cross wiring between the auditory and visual portions of the brain that allows colors to be connected to sounds. So when he saw a particular color it would trigger a sound and vice versa. In some of his writing Kandinsky says that during an opera performance the composition painted itself before his eyes and this has lead specialists to believe that he may have been one of the few individuals that have this condition. One of the indisputable aspects of Kandinsky’s work is the emotional connotation that it expresses and it is this quality that draws young artists to his work even today.

Brittany Tyson

Raquel Moyes said...

I really enjoyed the copies of the advertisements discussed. The concept of making the images look “how they should” really drew my attention. For example, the advertisement for the Chesterfield cigarettes portrayed the man as a “typical” man who would be smoking. I love the details and bright colors used. The main product is put in the foreground, which is a technique still used today. These ads demonstrate modern concepts of attracting consumers and therefore are very interesting to me. Everything in the ads is enhanced, brightened, and sharpened, literally pulling my eye to each piece individually. Even though today, we criticize ads for being stereotyped, I believe it really is how most attention is grasped. Typical house settings are what draw us towards kitchen appliances because it is what we picture them with in our minds. The modern debacles of gender equality and stereotypes are of course important, I just believe that these ads are more effective.

Laura Narayansingh said...

As architecture major I have become very familiar with the Bauhaus and its work in my field. However, we have never gone into detail about field outside of architecture such as art. It was very interesting to see the works of Wassily Kandinsky because although I can see the similarities in the art and architecture, I can also see several differences. The work of Wassily seems heavily dependent on mood, and as we learnt, he was inspired by music. As a result there is sort of an explosive look to his work. It is dynamic and interesting. The works of architects such as Mies Van Der Rohe seems very controlled and less explosive and futuristic. Although the architecture was also beautiful and revolutionary, it is slightly more static. With this in mind I have realized how important it is too examine an entire movement as a whole in order to truly grasp its history and meaning. The Bauhuas is not only architecture or painting, but a combination of the arts that worked together to produce this extremely important movement.

bmurr said...

Though I was not able to attend class last week, I looked through the posts and pictures and did some research. The cubist, Juan Gris had a nice variety of geometric shapes and colors. When you described his work as timeless, it stumped me and really challenged me to think. Usually the word timeless in my mind brings up the image of an 18th century royal portrait or something as simple as a satin bow. The thing that these two have in common is that they are traditional and will always be in style. Gris’s painting did not at first strike me as timeless, but after thinking about other classical pieces of art that had helped define a new genre, it made sense. By definition, timeless means “not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion; eternal, perpetual, everlasting, undying, endless.” I also enjoyed the 50’s esque advertisements for their graphic quality, straight lines and “perfection” I had never thought much about 50s stereotypes or how these images could have portrayed an image of how these groups thought people should be and how they should act. Especially had never thought about how even though these images are realistic, the way that they are flattened abstracts and self contains them.

Bailey Murray

Anonymous said...

What interested me during last week’s class was the discussion about cubism. As a art history major I’ve studied cubism and I think it is very interesting and dynamic. Especially Picasso’s ma Jolie you obviously would not know what his painting was unless the title did not explain it. It is also dealing with conceptual art, which is art that happens in the mind, the idea about the piece not just the art itself. Cubism, DADA, surrealism and all those art movements were all about opening your mind, not just viewing the piece but trying to understand it. It is also about playing with language and art, which aids the viewer. He was working with the fracturing and restoring of the human body, which many artists also played with. When visual resources can no longer teach us what’s being depicted you have to fall back to language. Cubism as well studies the relationship between visual language and linguistics. I also like that it’s breaking down the forms of female body and there is a sense of movements.

Sarah Fischer

Anonymous said...

I was excited about, yet sad to miss out on, the topics covered in last week's lecture, particularly the discussions on modernism and the development of graphic design as a nascent professional discipline.

The effects of modernism are immeasurable in design-- the pictorial breakthroughs of Cubism, Constructivism, Suprematism, and all the other Modern -isms, to the establishment of design pedagogy through the Bauhaus-- as this time period, in my opinion, is the most important in design's history (Guttenberg aside). It is around this time, 1922, that the type designer William Addison Dwiggins coins the term "graphic design" to describe the type of work he did.

On another note, this past weekend I had a chance to go to the Art Institute of Chicago (it was fun to see people pulling off a Ferris Bueller in front of La Grande Jatte), and I was able to see a Picasso exhibition as well as countless works by Kandinsky, Lissitsky, Mondrian, Matisse, and a number of other modern masters. Some of the small little treasures were illustrated books by Natal'ia Goncharova and Kazimir Malevich.

Check them out here:
Natal'ia Goncharova

Kazimir Malevich

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy Cubism and the ideas behind the movement. Their effort attempting to show all three dimensions of an object on a two dimensional plane is truly fascinating. They laid the groundwork that inspired abstract art down the road. When you paint still lifes, objects from nature, and other natural subjects that you paint from reference and not from imagination, you are attempting to capture the object on the paper. The artist is creating what he/she sees so that the painting can evoke the same amount of emotion and feeling that simply looking at it does. Cubists believed that you could not truly emulate an object on canvas without attempting to show all sides and parts of the object. They do this by breaking down what they see into the important parts and basic shapes. Laying them down in almost a collage type manner, it still seems to make sense somehow even though it barely resembles what it originally was. This is where some of the core abstract values were founded. Abstract art is about breaking down everything to its basic necessities deemed by the artist and can give something much more meaning than originally intended.

- Adam Berger

Anonymous said...

I was most interested on your thoughts about the role of design in propaganda. It is a shame how some of the best design works were used in very dark time to promote dictatorships, genocide, and other political horrors. Sometimes the most beautiful works of art have the ugliest meaning. Hitler obviously understood the importance behind good propaganda. He was able to use this to his advantage when it came to gaining political power and taking control of Germany in the years leading up to WWII.

Stalin and the Soviet Union also had a deep connection to war propaganda. Their art evoked a sense of great national pride and patriotism. I've also studied film so I had already seen Battleship Potemkin. The Odessa Steps sequence is one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history. It is a truly beautifully shot film. Film much like design was a powerful tool for dictators and corrupt politicians to further their political agendas. Goebbels was the Nazi Minister of Propaganda and he was the mastermind behind swaying the public opinion through the use of films, print, art, and other forms of control of the media.

-Felipe (Phil) Neves

Anonymous said...

I’d like to discuss your mention of Synthetic Cubism, collage art, and the use of text in paintings. Paintings and text can have an interesting effect on the viewer’s perspective of a work of art. Like Picasso and his use of “JOU,” many other artists also used text to enhance their work. Rene Magritte’s, The Treason of the Image (This is not a pipe), is a prime example. The text often confuses the viewer and forces us to consider the fact that this image is in fact not a pipe but just a representation of a pipe. Text can also be used in art to force the viewer to understand the artist’s intention. Picasso’s Ma Jolie, is an example of this because without the title, the viewer would hardly be able to determine that Picasso is picturing his lover. Kurt Schwitters’ Knave Child is an example of photomontage and text in art. His piece, a reproduction of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, includes a cutout of the number 3. This text is symbolic of the Holy Trinity and calls attention to the corruption of the church. I find this combination of art and text to be very interesting.

-Ana Calderone

Anonymous said...

I would like to discuss the topic regarding advertising and propaganda.How it is possible to manipulate the viewer in a hidden way. This can be very bad as in the case of propaganda but very effective in terms of advertising. It made me very curious to find out more about how it is possible to manipulate the viewer by using different colors, placement and importance to an object by the size of it.Because graphic design and advertising is my majors I absolutely wanted to gain more knowledge about this powerful tool and I started to do some research on colorpsychology. I found very interesting facts such as there is no coincidence that foodchains such as Wendy's and McDonalds use the color red in their logos since it provokes hunger and that banks use the color blue because it symbolize credibility. As a graphic designer or working in the advertising industry one must learn to utilize this powerful tool colorpsychology because of the extreme power it has to deliver a successful message more than just a beautiful design.\

- jenny finnman leanderson

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your lecture on Cubism and Expressionist art and the avant garde style pioneered by Picasso, Gris, Kandinsky, and Klee. The detail and technique that these artists embed into their style is facinating especially Klee's art. Although his style can be labeled under Cubism and Expressionist art, I believe Klee's diverse body of work cannot be categorized according to any single artistic movement. His paintings, which are at times dreamy, childlike, and witty, served as an inspiration to his Bauhaus colleagues, as well as many other artists of the 20th century. I also liked how you pointed out that his style cannot be imitated. He valued the "primitive" style especially the art of children. A child's simplistic and curious nature was envied by him, and in his own work he wanted to achieve that same simplicity. You are absolutely correct when you stated that we as adults become jaded and dulled because of civilization. It is refreshing to know that an artist such as Klee can hold on to that simplistic childlike mindset and incorporate it into stunning pieces of art.

Tashina Arota

Ariana Lubelli said...

Among the many interesting topics discussed, you mentioned an idea that really made me think. When we’re children, we are geniuses and as we grow up, we lose that. This statement especially applies to my generation because from the time we were born until now, technology has rapidly grown and taken over our daily life and thinking. Society and technology has given us resources that do not require us to really use our brain. We have Google instead of the natural way of thinking and researching. A book brings more than just the content in it; it brings an experience just from the process of finding it, holding it, turning the pages and just being able to feel it. Our generation doesn't see that experience because we were never given the option to. From our school to our job, everything is digitally evolved, it is not our choice. Another interesting visual you showed us was art depicting women how they use to look, act and dress centuries ago. It showed how far women have come in more than just the work place but in society, in general.

Sandra Montalvo said...

Throughout last weeks lecture I found myself recalling Woody Allen's movie Midnight in Paris, and thinking about the way Stein and Picasso were portrayed in the film and then again with the Belle Epoch. It's funny to me the way people view these artists and time periods.
But I'd like to discuss more the Deutscher Werkbund and their hunger for a national identity through style. A National Identity through style puzzles me greatly. I can’t seem to really put my finger on an American version. I think individuals try all the time but doing so would very immediately single out various groups throughout the country. I think if you were even to bring up National Identity through style now-a-days you’d probably be called a communist and thrown out of the country. But at the same time there are always trends; tings that are in and out at any particular time of the year. This is definitely something that I would like to put more research into but for now my brief Wikipedia search will have to do. Vom Sofakissen zum St├Ądtebau (from sofa cushions to city-building), that is so broad. It’s like if every store suddenly were an Ikea. I understand the purpose of wanting to make Germany more competitive artistically and design wise with the rest of the world but wouldn’t that then stifle creativity and hamper progress? It doesn’t seem so because of the soon after birth of the great Bauhaus.

Anonymous said...

There were several things that caught my attention during out last class. I found the work by Klee and the way he valued the primitive and the artwork of children interesting. This made me think of the artist Henri Rousseau, whose images also carry this air of being child like because of the way he paints and distorts proportions. During further research I realized that at some point both artists were working around the same time, and even though the subject matters are different it made me wonder if Rousseau had somehow inspired Klee. I also enjoyed the works by Kandinsky. I feel like you can see the different rhythms and sounds of the music he might have been inspired by when he produced his paintings. When I took my illustration class my professor actually assigned a Kandinsky inspired drawing. I remember it almost being in almost a dream state when completely my work since I was really focused on every note being played.

Elina Diaz

xiaodong chang said...

For the last week class, I think the most interesting thing is the difference between Propaganda and Advertising. At first I have no ideals what the difference between them. I just know when I was in school, we can see many propaganda. Outside the campus, we see more advertising. But after you show us the difference, I know clearly, advertising is about commercialism, but propaganda is more about political. There is no positive or negative difference between them, no value difference between them. The other thing you mention is about the color. I think this point is very interesting to me. You talked about the McDonalds logo yellow. This makes me to think of the Coca Cola red. When I take the graphic design class, we often use a lot of different red. But the Coca Cola red has become one kind of color. In all kinds of Coca Cola advertisements, the red should keep to be the same. No matter the cans, the poster or in the TV.

xiaodong chang

Anonymous said...

I found the topic of Einstein’s Potemkin very interesting. I was born and lived in Odessa, Ukraine for 9 years, until I moved to America. I walked up and down those steps in the movie clip countless times, yet I never knew their history. Battleship Potyomkin, is a
a 1925 silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein. It presents a dramatized version of the mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers of the Tsarist regime. Battleship Potemkin has been called one of the most influential propaganda films of all time, and was named the greatest film of all time at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958. As hoped, the film is very emotional and edited very well to achieve the emotion the filmmakers wanted: so that the viewer would feel sympathy for the rebellious sailors of the Battleship Potemkin and hatred for their cruel overlords. Very well done even though I don’t normally like silent films.

Kateryna Gontaruk