I wanted to comment on our discussion of people like Lubalin and Bass. Like Triff said in class, it's amazing that these men singlehandedly did the work that would be expected today out of an entire studio and the quality of their work did not diminish in the slightest. It's amazing that one person could have so much effect on multiple industries such as Saul Bass (advertising, graphic design, film...). I believe this is first and foremost a testament to how weight each person's voice carries when it comes to design.
I would like to comment on two things: first is somewhat like what I wrote about last week in terms of propaganda. I think that propaganda is one of the most interesting art forms. I start to wonder if the artist believes the message they're trying to portray or if they're just doing it because someone told them to. I also think it's great to see the way that Germans and Americans portrayed each other through war propaganda. They both have similarities but depict the enemy in different ways.Second, I would like to talk about Saul Bass. I think that title sequences and ending credits are perhaps the most underappreciated things in movies (besides advertisements). However, Bass actually made them interesting through their design and also how they fit with the music. He manages to make the film's concept, music, and visuals all work together for a specific movie. I also think it's amazing how some of the greatest films of all times were made by him but I had never heard of him before.Kari Hecker
I loved seeing Mondrian’s stylistic development. We almost always think of famous artists for their one or two famous pieces. We mistakenly think that they always produce art in that singular style. But the truth is that they too have to evolve their style. And I especially love Mondrian’s evolution because of how he goes from complex, almost impressionistic painting to the most simplistic pictures. I feel like his simplistic paintings make you feel more, say more, than his other styles of work. I feel like it also reflects the evolution of design as a whole, going from very complex to minimalism, although I would argue we are back to an almost complex style of contemporary design. I would love to see more strong lines and simplicity in design, the way that Mondrian paints. The vertical and horizontal lines are just so powerful and stabilizing. I feel like we should have more minimalism in design, but at the same time minimalism might be overdone by now.Sarbani Ghosh
When it comes to Mondrian’s later work that is primarily associated with De Stijl or Neoplasticism, I always find myself at odds with the aesthetic that is utilized to carry out its intent. Mondrian’s “compositions” (works constructed primarily of grids in horizontal and vertical black lines and three primary colors) strived to reach a spiritual state through deconstruction of form rather than illusion of form, as if to deconstruct nature down to its purest foundations:“Nature (or, that which I see) inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation of things”- MondrianThe work strives to become anti-objective and seems to disconnect from the natural world entirely. However, when constructed in this serial manner, the grid paintings and the quantities and variations in which they were produced, almost seem to simulate the effects of industrialization and the development of a grid-like world. Although I admire Mondrian’s later work for the decentralized compositions that make us feel like we are witnessing a small part of a larger whole… I can’t help but wonder if the work better demonstrates the unavoidable effects of modernity on culture. Furthermore, the work seems to share many characteristics of advertisings repetitive and modular layouts. Jena Thomas
With Europe immersed in a battle of bullets and bombs during the Second World War, the entire globe concurrently witnessed a conflict of ideals with the use of words and imagery as weaponry. As noted by many student responses last week, including my very own, propaganda as a utilitarian form of art serves as yet other weapons governments use to battle their enemies. These palpably patriotic posters, prints, movies, leaflets, and cartoons incite the nationalistic fervor necessary to engage the enemy and maintain popular support towards war efforts. It’s particularly interesting to note the sheer variety of design exhibited by artists creating art that is inherently constricted by a “pre-approved” message. From Norman Rockwell’s infamous Rosie the Riveter poster, to Amos Sewell’s “Work Where You’re Needed” prints, these somewhat simplified yet poignantly direct creations make certain their messages cannot be in any way construed. Although propaganda today carries negative connotations, no argument can negate the importance propaganda played throughout the war efforts of the 1940s. - Alberto Monreal
I believe the camera hurt the profession of architecture more than it benefitted it. People today have become accustomed to taking numerous photos of a subject they traveled hundreds of miles for and then claim they have “seen” it. But is this really a way of “seeing”? This question is brought humorously into light in Diller and Scofidio’s “Tourisms of War”, wherein they mark the absurdity and contradictions of today’s travelers, who seem governed by a collective behavior to take proof of what they have seen rather than seeing.In the authentic and active experience of drawing – of physically recording what we see – we bring back with us a new way of seeing; we bring back sketchbooks full of information, analysis, and an understanding of architectural principles – color, light and all the other elements that make architecture matter and affect the human condition. We bring back the understanding of another culture, history and place, and the emotion, memories, sounds and smells of being in situ. This level of engagement allows us to see and see again, and it was the only option prior to the invention of the camera.There is no doubt that today’s digital tools are indispensable. After all, Le Corbusier carried a camera in his later travels. However, as the sole recording device, a camera or virtual touring technology will lull our analytical skills to sleep and we become disengaged in the travel process. Corb himself pointed out that “The camera is a tool for idlers…”Abdulgader S. Naseer
It seems when most think of modern art, the imagery of De Stijl takes form. It embodies a total reductionism without context, meant to display a pure expression. Its total simplicity and ultimate abstraction, while fascinating to artists, historians, and the like, can deter unacquainted observers however. The very qualities that made De Stijl so unique can have effects in both directions for unacquainted modern viewers. The educated viewer, however, is able to bring context to the work and appreciate it fully, transform it into something personal rather than isolating.I personally struggle to understand many De Stijl pieces, but rather than let that alienate me from them, and lead me to reject their presence, I slowly attempt to piece together whatever meaning I can manage. It is difficult, as I'm sure was intended by the artists, nothing good ever comes easily, but this makes the effort all the more worthwhile. Milena Mihovilovic
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