Friday, March 21, 2014

your turn #5


expressionism, dada, surrealism, constructivism's color "filters," the lesson of BAUHAUS, neue typographie, "marks" as art, propaganda vs. advertisement, photomontage, lissitsky, tshichold, Die Wissenhoffsiedlung, the total designer: beal, binder, brodovitch, matter, graphic design as art, etc, etc,  

 what's on your mind?

23 comments:

Abdul said...

The chair has been a crucible for architectural ideas and their design throughout the trajectory of modern architecture. It is both a model for understanding architecture and a laboratory for the concise expression of idea, material, fabrication, and form. As individual as its authors, the chair provides a medium that is a controllable minimum structure, ripe for material and conceptual experiment.

The simpler it is to derive the function of an object, the more personalization a designer can inject into its form. The chair is one object that effortlessly offers up its purpose, meaning its function is relatively easy to achieve. For example, with an mp3 player, a typewriter or a telephone, all must contain mechanics and/or electronics as well as exhibit simple user interface, which can greatly limit the design possibilities to serve their function. For a chair to be symbolically recognized as such, it needs only to be somewhat elevated and to have somewhat of a flat surface roughly the area of a human posterior. Because the qualifications are so basic, the chair has a wide multitude of aesthetic possibilities without compromising its core function, making it a popular project amongst architects.

Abdulgader S. Naseer

Jena Thomas said...

Last week we touched on the fact that there are not many manifestos for art currently being written. The period of time we are covering seems so powerful to me. Change is occurring in leaps and bounds, emotions are running high and this is certainly reflected in the dynamic art and design at the turn of century. I admire these groups and their ability to publicly announce ones views and intentions and to stand behind bold and poetic statements like:

"Together let us conceive and create the new building of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will rise one day toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith. (Bauhaus Manifesto)"

The art world today can feel a little like swimming around in space…there’s no grounding, people are not held to any standards and there are little to no consequences. A manifesto provides structure, some may see them as restricting-but in my opinion they are anything but. Manifestos are exciting, they are springboards for change and a clear way of seeing that can be applied to all disciplines, which may also be accredited to the success of the “total designer”. There is something to be said for developing what is in your opinion a criteria for creating successful work.
Here is a link to a more recent manifesto by Rebecca Morris that I have always admired. The specific examples are funny, but I think it demonstrates how the overall attitude is what is most important, the feeling you want your work to project:

http://artistsandastronauts.blogspot.com/2012/02/words-from-rebecca-morris.html

Jena Thomas

sarbani.ghosh said...

The very fine line between advertising and propaganda is extremely interesting. As a former advertising major I studied just exactly how to draw in customers. One of the reasons I left the program was because I didn’t want to continually and subversively manipulate the minds of consumers to want something that they don’t need, or can’t afford. I studied so many strategies on how to create a need in the consumer, and how to effectively communicate the benefits of a product or service. It was really all about saying that the product should be your first choice because it is better than the rest. It was eerily similar to how the great propagandists wanted to convince people that they were better than another political group. And interesting enough, a lot of the approaches and strategies used in advertising are also used in propaganda: card stacking, simplification, name calling, bandwagon, etc.

Sarbani Ghosh

Sara Ryan said...

Last week we briefly talked about Dada and how it is a political and social art that is obviously a protest or response to the happenings of World War 1. In the early 20th century, Dada was created by avant-garde artists that used their strange and seemingly useless art as a social commentary. Their work rejected reason and logic and prized nonsense and the irrational. Dadaism concentrated its antiwar ideologies in the rejection of traditional and beautiful art, most famously seen in Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain". A lot of the works were mass produced, which was another social commentary on war and the churning out and exhaustion of soldiers. Having a primary leftist view, Dadaism incorporated discussion and passionate topics into art, literature, theatre and graphic design. Dadaism set the stage for surrealism, which followed with even more strangeness and irrationality.

I found Dada very interesting because it's art that lives outside of itself. A lot of art never leaves the canvas or the page and it's ideologies and theories stay within the ink. Dada, however, incorporated social and political views into their art in a very vocal way - Dada often incorporated discussion and media into their visual art and made their view seen and heard.

Milena Mihovilovic said...


The distinction between advertising and propaganda seems to differ from person to person. To some, advertisement is closely tied to consumerism, while propaganda is concerned with noncommercial or political persuasion. To another, advertisement may be the marketing subset of propaganda. Yet another interpretation is to view propaganda as inherently misleading, promoting falsehoods and distorting the truth for some motive. It is in that case used with a strong negative connotation, but it needn't necessarily carry that trait. There doesn't seem to be a clear definition and consequently a clear distinction between the two in all situations.

Assuming advertising as commercial and propaganda as political, we still run into complications in distinguishing them. In America, for example, commerce and politics are closely connected. Patterns of spending, or ability to spend, often correlate with political affiliation, so it isn't difficult to imagine an inseparable combination of the two efforts. With this understanding, it isn't too unreasonable to refer to some advertisements as propaganda.

Milena Mihovilovic

Alberto Monreal said...

Propaganda versus advertisement: is there a difference? Or are both one and the same? However similar their execution and appearance may artificially appear, there is a fine distinction between the two. At the risk of arguing semantics, that difference in meaning lies in the form’s ultimate purpose. Propaganda exists with the motivation to purposely spread information and ideas so as to either help or harm an individual, movement, entity, or government. Conversely, advertisements refer to broadcasted “marks” designed to make targeted consumers aware of something—whether that be a product or service—and then incite them to crave that creation. The difference is evident, but both have been blended time and time again to motivate and incite the masses. Such mergers are especially notable in prints and posters from World War II, advertising war bonds and spreading propagandistic messages of patriotic fervor throughout host nations. Through these indelible and ultimately utilitarian forms of art, its creators and promoters seek to appeal to and undeniably sway the thoughts, emotions, and actions of its intended audience.

Alberto Monreal

Kari Hecker said...

I feel that propaganda is a form of advertisement that serves a different purpose. The example I think of first is war posters that acted as propaganda. Many of them acted as advertisements to get people to join the war or help out in industry. However, not all propaganda is advertisement so the two areas can be very distinct or somewhat overlapping. If one was to completely separate them, propaganda could be considered ideological and advertisement purely consumer (monetary) based.

When I think of war propaganda I also think of German dada artists, mainly Hannah Hoch. When people think of "dada," I feel that most people think of the more popularized dada that included Duchamp. Before I learned about the specifics of dada that's the sort of thing that came to my mind at least. However, I feel that the German dadaists had a much more politically charged motive.

Kari Hecker

Abdul said...

The word “Bauhaus” to designers will always be associated with simplicity, elegance, and geometric (also tranquil, depending who you ask) shapes. Because of this, I find it ironic that the word was used in 1978 to name a Gothic Rock band. Goth, after all, is associated with darkness, while the Bauhaus movement illuminated design.

With that being said, I believe parallels can be drawn between the two entities (besides using the same typeface as the one on the Bauhaus college building in Dessau, Germany). Gothic Rock as a genre tends to have deep male singing voices; this can be associated with the hard angles in Bauhaus architecture, which are often considered more masculine than curvilinear forms.

The strongest connection between the two, however, is the fact that both the 1978 band and the Bauhaus school of thought brought something new to the table. The band “Bauhaus” was unlike any Northampton band of the time, most of which played mostly cover songs. This is reminiscent of how the (true) Bauhaus revolutionized art, architecture, and design.

Abdulgader S. Naseer

Anonymous said...

The Bauhaus houses and buildings that were shown in class struck me because of their lack of decor. The architectural design was no longer focused on aesthetics but on functionality. It seems to me that while decorative design on homes and buildings is appealing, the clean look and asymmetry of the Bauhaus architecture gives a more tranquil feeling to the spectator as well as the dweller. The priority of light and space was important which are also more functional aspects versus being in dark and more crowded spaces. The buildings had open floor plans inside with many windows to fulfill these characteristics. It is also very interesting that these buildings were made for the lower middle class. Being for the working class, functionality was of the utmost importance. This style of architecture arose in part because of new engineering possibilities that allowed walls to be built around steel or iron frames which no longer gave them a structural purpose. This means that they no longer had to support the structure and could be placed and designed in many different ways. This opened the door to the organic yet unique style that was Bauhaus architecture.


Natalia Colombo

Anonymous said...

What I found interesting is the political meaning behind the artworks created by avant garde artists such as El Lissitzky in the 1920’s. Their artwork represented the new progressive political movement that was emerging in Europe, the center of which was the USSR. The avant garde art style was very different from the traditional European style of art, which was associated with imperialism and capitalism. It represented not only a new political system, but also a new philosophy and way of life, a utopian model for a new and better world. Because of the political importance of Lissitzky’s artwork he was employed by the Soviet government to create propaganda posters and other works of art, which he did up until his death in 1941. His work also greatly influenced the Bauhaus and constructivist art movements, and included innovative architectural concepts such as the horizontal skyscraper, which he said was a more rational alternative to the American vertical skyscraper.

Anton Zaitsev

Paulina Pecic said...

I think that in this era of graphic design, being post-industrial, one innovative style came after another. Innovation was no longer necessarily a product of the technology but of the massive mindset of post-industrial thought (i.e. a boom of creative ideologies). The ready availability of quantity gave rise to a sharper focus on improving "quality," or even, in more post-modern approaches, challenging and exploring the very philosophy of quality: What makes "good" design? What qualifies? And this differed between artists. That is why one design movement followed another with such rapidity, some movements even occurring simultaneously! Brodovitch, for example, called into question the standard of "quality" in portraying fashion by using cropping to create more dynamic images. The more utilitarian approach would have been to illustrate the whole garment to give the consumer an idea of what is being sold, but Brodovitch employs an innovative marketing tactic by creating a design that makes the advertisement itself rather more visually appealing, and thus communicatively effective, to the consumer. "Quality" of advertisement here emphasizes the dynamism and attractiveness of the presentation rather than the utilitarian realism of the product being sold.

- Paulina Pecic

Anonymous said...

I find Dada to be an interesting art movement of the 20th century. It was created or born out of negative reactions of World War I. Artists and poets were involved in creating works of art that spoke about how people felt towards the war. It mainly involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestoes, art theory, theatre, and graphic design. Each form of art concentrated on representing anti-war politics through objectifying the current standards of that time. Two well-known artists of the Dada movement were Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco. For artists to have the courage to stand against the war through their art is incredible due to the repercussion that could have been involved. Through research, I found that Dada is also known for influencing abstract art, sound poetry, performance art, anti art and pop art.

-Yesenia Tefel

Pimlada said...

There has always been a debate about what is art? What are its limitations? The way we look at art has changed due to the definition of art changing. Depending on context art can be anything, it doesn’t need to have a certain format, and it depends on your interpretation. For instance expressionism, dada, and surrealism.

I think expressionism is very powerful, primitive, and energetic movement. It changes how we think about art. Familiar to dada and surrealism, which is idealism that emphasizes the distinction between the object and the act of sensation, and that holds the objective world to exist independently of the knowing mind and to be directly knowable. Art, the dada believed, should not be an escape from daily events, but rather it should make visible the violence, chaos, and hypocrisies of contemporary life.

Pimlada Kongkham

Anonymous said...

The Bauhaus architecture specifically those houses destroyed by the nazis are some of the most beautiful homes I have seen photos of. The absence of ornamentation and decoration of neobjectivity was also interesting? emphasizing functional use reminds me of the minimalist sculptures of Donald Judd and Carl Andre. Also I feel that jeff kooks blends minimalism in his exhibition in versailles http://archeologue.over-blog.com/article-20774453.html

also arching back to font and style I think the absorption of papers is interesting in this category.

Gabriel Aiello

Brooke Marram said...

Propaganda is a major service industry, particularly in the U.S. Whenever a promotion points fingers to identify "other," or bases their appeal on "us" versus "them," it's a propaganda scheme. There are industrial and environmental, social and political, religious and anti-religious propaganda programs at work every moment, in every medium. Television advertising has both explicit and subtle propaganda: Those who are enjoying the advertised product are shown in appealing settings with happy companions, as if the use of this product will bring an abundant and satisfying lifestyle to the buyer, far beyond the actual direct functions of the item.

And how is propaganda seen? For the most part, it is unseen. When it's discovered, it loses its power. Whenever you hear answers, especially when they're offered as The Answer, be sure to ask more questions! The greater truth is that we live in a multi-hued reality. There is very little (if anything) that is truly and purely black or white. We have many choices -- many more, perhaps, than are evident, and certainly more than what will benefit those with The Answer. The truth will be exposed gradually, but eventually.

-Brooke Marram

Anonymous said...

The stark contrast between naturalist and formalist photomontage was impressed upon me repeatedly during our last class meeting. That naturalist approach, that we see in the montages of Henry Peach Robinson and Oscar Rejlander, seeks to seamlessly combine multiple images, hiding the transitions between the component parts. The photomontage that we viewed and discussed in class certainly tends towards the formalist persuasion, making no attempt to blend the different parts of the collage and allowing disparities of scale, color and atmosphere. The Dadaists, especially, seem to be concerned with formalist photomontage exclusively as it lends itself perfectly to their ideas about automatism and further politicized their work by presenting recontextulized versions of their opponents own publications (see Hannah Hoch "Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife" here: http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/hoch-kitchen-knife.html).

I think naturalist photomontage, as a medium, in engaged with an entirely different set of issues than those that were of great importance in the early 20th century. Rather than hiding the incongruities of their work, and indeed the times, the Dadaists wanted to emphasize them, to bring to the fore the contradiction, confusion and disparity of their historical moment.


Carolyn Kay. Chema

Leah Brown said...


I love how this time period still has the power to inspire contemporary artists and designers. The revolutionary declarations that the leaders of Dada, Surrealism, and Bauhaus made were more than just aesthetic ideals--they were philosophies and a ways of living that included in their artistic ambitions were utopian goals of happiness, holistic living and peace. These movements seem to have their roots in a reaction to the horrors of war. They begin by offering an escape from the terrifying and gruesome realities of WWI. But as their ideas expanded and grew more complex, developing culture through the act of living the ideas set forth, they become much more than diversions. They developed into complex cultures whose methods continue to spark imaginations despite the deluge of “-isms” that followed.

We live in a very different time than the creatives who defined the aesthetics and culture of the early 20th century. Our world is not being destroyed through trench warfare--it's being destroyed through the subtler, more insidious destructions of human carelessness. But the popular, blase attitude of the assumption of inevitable destruction does draw some parallels to this time period.

Art and Design are in a moment of flux, it seems, a moment of confusion, of disunity. I see young artists craving an answer to post-modernism--an “-ism” that seems to feed directly into the defeatist attitudes popularized by the media and absorbed into our acceptance of decline. Perhaps this is why the manifestos of the early 20th century still have such power over our imaginations. Their creators believed in a better future in spite of their destructive present.

Leah Brown

Yeping Cao said...

The line between advertising and propaganda is quite interesting. The definition of advertising is in business it is a form of marketing communication used to encourages, persuade, or manipulate an audience (viewers, readers, or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to take or continue to take some action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumers behavior with respect to a commercial offering. And the definition of propaganda is that it is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of the community toward some cause of position. Propaganda statements may be partly false and partly true. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes. From these two definitions, advertising towards products, they make consumers attracted to them so that consumers might buy them. Compare to advertising, propaganda towards influences of attitudes. More importantly, advertising is based on profits, but propaganda is based on opinions, in other words, propaganda is not always right.

Yeping Cao

Marina Rutenberg said...


After looking through all the images from the last class, a few things came to mind. What separates graphic design from art? Do we need to put things in fancy frames to recognize the craftsmanship that went into them? Why should something be considered to have less artistic value simply because it is designed to communicate a specific message for a client? At what point does a piece transition from an artwork to a design? I believe that although some graphic design may be a form art, not all art is graphic design. As a graphic design and advertising major, I feel that the work I produce is in this gray area quite often, since one piece may evolve from a sketch (art), to a lifeless illustrator document (graphic design), to a computer generated graphic that is stronger than both of its original components (????).

On a totally different note:

As I looked at all the images from the last class, in my head I went through the steps necessary to create a similar file on photoshop or Illustrator; adding few layers, a couple of shapes, use a brush here and there. Howeverrrr then I was reminded that all of these graphics were made by hand carefully arranging and organizing each element while going through a specific process necessary to print it. This is a stark contrast from what design has come to be, since people are straying from utilizing any process other than the computer to create their work… And yes, while there is no better feeling than finding the perfect Photoshop splatter brush, I think nothing compares to the REAL, unexpected and completely spontaneous splatter that is created with real paint.

While the computer is undeniably an incredibly powerful tool that allows us to create stunning images with unbelievable dimension and detail, I believe it may be skinning designers from their intuitive creativity and limiting them in a different way. Neither Tschichold, Lissitzky, nor any of their peers were chained to an outlet with carpal tunnel from working with a computer mouse. The spontaneity and process involved in the creation of mid century design work has been replaced by masks and Command+Z. Trial and error are a thing of the past, and while it is amazing to be able to save time and create hundreds of versions of the same file, I think design with life must have at least one element or process that is formed outside of the computer. I think true creativity comes from having limited resources, and while today our resource of choice is the computer, it would be interesting to see what our generation of graphic designers would creative if they were unplugged.

olhovich said...

Apparently, Sergei Eisenstein’s films were a big influence in Francis Bacon’s work, in particular “The Battleship Potemkin” and “Strike” with their scream and slaughterhouse’s scenes. The sequence of steps in Odessa where the horror is perfectly captured by close-ups, particularly the lady with broken glasses. It is interesting to note that Bacon's approach to reality was never direct, he always used pictorial photographs as reference to make his paintings. Never having a model he was always looking for a carnal and visceral realism to impress the viewer. From cinema he gets into the habit of framing the subject as in a movie, trying to highlight what interests him most inside the frame. Bacon also uses a number of elements attributed to the language of film making, like lighting effects mimicking artificial light (the frequent light bulb in his paintings from the 70-80’s), blurs, close-ups and compositional space inspired by cinema and photography, narrative elements(tryptics) and representation of movement.

Gerardo Olhovich

Michelle Lock said...

It’s interesting that the perception of advertising varies from person to person – some people don’t mind it but others think it’s the devil. Some people love knowing about different advertisements and others think it’s a nuisance. However, with propaganda, I think its is common overall to have a negative stigma associated with it. Even in the dictionary, an advertisement is defined as “a notice or announcement in a public medium promoting a product, service or event” while propaganda has a less neutral definition – “chiefly derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”

I think that advertising also promotes a particular point of view, but is more commercial. I think advertising has also evolved so much over the years, it has become a form of entertainment. Maybe because I’m a communications student, so looking at innovative, creative advertisements particularly interests me. Guerrilla marketing and advertising is a topic that I love to find case studies of because it is more subliminal and creative.

Advertising isn’t just trying to sell you a product anymore; it is trying to sell you a brand. Propaganda can also be argued to be selling a brand too – but a political one. I think propaganda is viewed more negatively because politics is a touchy, sensitive subject. Like when you meet people, politics is one of the topics you should not touch on until you become very familiar with someone.

Anonymous said...

Propaganda and advertising both serve a similar function. While propaganda is used for the state or the collective interests of a society, advertisements are usually created with the profit of a private entity in mind. Both go about increasing awareness of their cause/product in two ways. The most notable way is a quantitative approach, in which the sheer amount of one’s message is forced upon individuals, until the idea is internalized and causes a shift in behavior. The second approach is an emotional one, usually marked by strong imagery that evokes certain feelings that push individuals to act in a way that is aligned with the goals of the designer.
It is important to note the recent differences, however. While both are attempting to influence behavior, propaganda usually displays a noble ideal, however misguided, that an individual should strive for. On the other hand, marketing has becoming an exercise in creating a subconscious state of self-loathing that can be repaired only through the purchasing of product XYZ. Regardless, both these forms of design begin to shed light on how free we actually are, as opposed to how free we think we are.

-Sajan Patel

Leah Andritsch said...

I found the trailer clip from Holy Mountain by Jodorowski very interesting to say the least. The clips were so strange and weird I felt like I was watching a dream. The way he brought his visions to life was so surreal.

The mind is such an enigma that we long to solve and to be able to peer inside and record it would be a huge advantage. To project the subconscious mind visually is very powerful to do as an artist and designer. It brings to life something that is completely original and never before seen to the eye. Jodorowski’s ability to capture the twists and turn of the subconscious gives him the power to show what his mind is actually capable of.

I admire his wackiness and daring visions. Holy Mountain may not be a movie you’d watch on a first date but it definitely captures the mysticism of the human consciousness and makes you wonder what goes on inside everybody else’s mind.