I loved the work of Klee and wanted to do some research out of curiosity. I like how he found his own ways to work, very inventive. He never settled for one medium but tried them all: spray paint, oil, watercolor, ink, you name it, and the fact that he preferred to work isolated from his peers is very interesting yet not surprising due to his style. I can identify with this actually since I prefer to work in isolation too. Klee died from scleroderma, a wasting disease, and his last works of art seem to portray what he was suffering. Still, I found those paintings so beautiful (at least the ones I saw). I particularly loved Death and Fire (Tod und Feuer), which has a skull with the word “Tod” written as the features of its face (German word for “death”). The colors are so bold, and even though it may be considered “simpler” than his previous works, I think it is very beautiful and striking. Alejandra Jimenez.
I loved so many of the things we looked at this week. As I’ve been doing a lot of graphic design with text lately, I was drawn to the new-style typography images. I have been putting a lot of thought and time into picking fonts for my projects lately and thinking about how important it is to choose the best one for your desired feel. Die Neue Typographie was very important for moving the typography and advertising world forward and making big changes. The asymmetrical, very simple designs revolutionalized type and its use. Some might think that the artists using new typography are simply lazy and don’t want to put more effort and detail into their work, but I think quite the opposite. It is a very bold choice to have a mostly empty space and little text, and to do it in the “right” way is something to be applauded. Not everyone can have so little to work with and make a striking, memorable design.Becca Magrino
I was especially captivated by the work of Jan Tschichold. I have never had an art history teacher who seems to have really enjoyed Dada and have never really learned much about it except for Duchamp. When researching Tschichold my attraction to his work immediately made sense when I found out he was the brains behind the standardized Penguin book cover. The design of Penguin books has always been a favorite of mine. Apparently he claimed he was one of the greatest influences on 20th century typography, but when looking at current graphic work I would say he is still going strong for the 21st century as well. As graphic designers we are constantly influenced by outputs of others. To see his work and realize how much of his work has shaped others that in turn have shaped mine, was a good reminder to try and always be aware of where your inspiration is coming from. I could have been looking at his work the whole time! -Lucy Hynes
This week, the concept that stood out most to me was the idea of "Gesamtkunstwerk", which is defined as the entirety of art, such as in a room or building. The work shown to us in class was both striking and beautiful, and clearly showed how a plan was put into action by artists throughout an entire area. Each room demonstrates a separate perspective and desired effect on the viewer, with a heavy amount of thought, ideation, and intricate symbolism present in all of them. This kind of keen artistic eye and elaborate composition in a room was pervasive and inspiring to many people, not only designers, and it seems like this is the basis of the fundamentals of "interior design" as we know it today. This has clearly had a huge impact within our society, leading many people to hire interior decorators and develop an "aesthetic" for their own homes. I assume that this kind of outcome was an accidental result of this concept; however, it shows the power and impact of this art movement across time and has led many people to, perhaps unknowingly, embrace the ideals of "Gesamtkunstwerk" in their daily lives.
This image reminded me of a child’s drawing, and like it was mentioned in class, the lines and colors can be pretty interesting. Although it seems like it is just lines and vibrant colors; it embodies people and nature. It is an abstract composition; and it may be viewed differently from person to person. Its title tells you a lot, “Improvisation”, it is a psychological game. It is simply what just came to mind at that moment. If you research Kandinsky’s works, he has more than one improvisation, some of them have a direct scenario and others are just lines and colors. This image also has a resemblance to Klee’s works, but I think that Kandinsky’s lines are not moving, they sort of reflect sadness, versus Klee’s musical lines. Walleska Lacayo
First I would like to say how much I appreciate Kandinsky’s work. His use of color and shape is mesmerizing and extremely appealing to the eye. The moment when the Blue Rider group was formed was an amazing time for abstract art but sadly with the start of WWI things died down a little for a while. This style of expression is free and beautiful. Kandinsky found the perfect way in every piece to combine line and color that provided different meanings to different people. For him art was in a way like music and so many of his paintings are named either composition or improvisation. If you stare enough at the art piece you could start actually listening to different tunes depending on the colors and shapes. In this specific painting, his combination of colors is amazing, using a lot of blue with some oranges to really make the colors vibrate since they are complementary and then more in the background the reds and greens next to each other for even more vibration, its amazing, its abstract, and its full of meanings.-Zina Dornbusch
I took an art history class a couple semesters ago, and I still remember one of my favorite pieces being a work by Kandinsky called Composition VII. That painting, similar to Klee’s work, was also based on the sounds and movements of a musical orchestra or musical arrangement. I think I am really drawn to artists that use their work as a form of visual orchestration for various types of music. The colors, the shapes, and the overall flow of their paintings are a reflection of how they personally interpreted a music piece, which is very fascinating. I am also a huge fan of music, and I love to discuss and discover just how different one person can interpret or relate to a song compared to someone else. So, looking at Paul Klee’s work and knowing that he created his paintings while listening and reacting to music makes him all the more interesting to me. -Rachel Watkins
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff's work stood out to me the most. I love his is the Christ woodcut piece. After our last class, I did more research on him and his work. In 1915 he was enlisted into the Army. After serving three years in Russia and Lithuania, he returned back to Berlin. Due to all the brutality and violence he witnessed, he was left severely traumatized, which resulted in him having extreme anxiety. He used wood cutting as a way of therapy to cope with his anxiety. To me, I think that's very powerful. That makes his woodcuts more honest, real and raw. They were created not only as general art pieces, but were created in a way for him to express himself. To express himself as someone dealing with a mental illness. As someone who has an anxiety disorder, I can relate to that. A lot of the designs I've made throughout the years we're just school projects, most of them created because I felt "inspired" like he did. With anxiety, you can't control how and what you feel. Out of all the pieces we've seen so far, Rottluff's work instantly caught my attention. I don't only love the designs, but I also love the story behind them. They come from a vulnerable, real and honest place. Which makes them not only beautiful, but also relatable.Alicia Veasy
I really liked the look of the gesamtkunstwerk. I liked that it incorporated both nouveau forms and more modern, geometric forms. Although I did like Macintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright's room and furniture designs, my favorite gesamtkunstwerk was that of Victor Horta. His work stood out to me the most because it was Art Nouveau and when I first glanced at it, it reminded me of the work of Gaudi. Researching Horta more, I found that he was a major player, if not the most important individual in European art nouveau. Researching more of his work, I loved the architecture and details of the homes he designed. The multiple art nouveau forms, organic lines and his craftsmanship with rod iron really appeals to me. Looking at his buildings more, I also really admired how he combined rod iron with window structures; the way he combined the two with such fluidity and elegance. His furniture design is an impressive showing of his talent with art nouveau design. Once again, following the use of organic lines in art nouveau, the way his furniture was formed, with its curvaceous lines, to me seemed almost to have a sort of mysticism. Being a lover of art nouveau, I can see why Horta was the key European art nouveau contributor. -Alejandra Madrid
Part of me wonders if I’m lazy or a minimalist. I rather go with the latter. That’s why I can instantly connect to the simplicity in the style found in the Beggarstaffs from Sir William Nicholson. There is always something evocative about images that just hit the right strings in a bold fashion, no bullshit. In an odd way it is refreshing to discover work that is so courageous and feels so new even though it was made more than 100 years ago. The flatness and simplification of color palette and shape arouse the beginnings modern art theory that was later sealed by the simplified multiforms of Rothko’s paintings from the 1950s. We owe a great deal to Sir William Nicholson’s contribution to rethinking the branding game and the layout of a canvas.
Spencer Minimalism has always been incredibly fascinating to me as an art historian. From a graphical design perspective the Plakatstil style makes a lot of sense (to me at least). It conveys the message and effectively advertises a product, honestly I prefer it over a lot of other graphic design practices. However, when looking at the canon of art history it is a almost absurd to think that we are talking about such minimalist pieces as Bernhard's match poster, Duchamp's fountain, or a Barnett Newman stripe painting years and years after they were made. This amplifies the concepts into the forefront of the conversation and has led way to contemporary art being largely conceptual. Looking back to the great masters of the Renaissance who may be regarded as the greatest artists of all time, at a pinnacle where more was more and perfection was ideal, to see a Yves Klein and have them be in the same conversation, is a testament to the great power that an artists yields through creation. Less is more, if executed effectively, will always be greater than more is more.
What was particularly striking to me this week was the focus on architecture. I have expressed many times my appreciation for aesthetic appeal in art, and I don't necessarily feel like everything someone makes has to have a purpose. However, I was pleased to see art that was not only beautiful and unusual, but also completely functional. I have always had a great appreciation for architecture, but don't have the skill, patience, or mathematical genius to actually ever pursue it. Gesam I love the idea that these works were produced in the early twentieth century but had such modern ideas. Like some of the ideas presented are things that are still happening in modern architecture like Mueller House by Loos. That was so innovative and minimalistic/futuristic for the early 1900s. Going in a different direction artistically, Gesamtkunstwerk is also very modern, but very ornate. It's a completely different aesthetic than that of Loos, but both German examples of architecture were way ahead of their time conceptually.-Sabrina Tomlinson
Growing up as someone who was much more adept as a writer than an artist, I never really understood the fascination with abstract art so many artists seem to develop as time goes on. Why would you want to paint something with seemingly no meaning? Anyone could draw squiggle lines in different colors, so what made one piece worth nothing and another worth millions? It seemed insane to me that people would actually pay for paintings worth more than my house that looked like they were done by a two year old. I took a class where we were instructed to create more abstract pieces and it was something I always struggled with. I remember growing up, I always thought abstract art was just something doctors put in their offices so as not to offend anyone and also to be reminiscent of those ink blot psychological tests. Kandinsky's pieces are no exception to this mindset. They look to me like a mix of funny shapes and colors and while I can appreciate certain techniques and color theories that may have been applied and the effort that would go in to each piece, I don't think they can really hold up against van Gogh, da Vinci, or Michelangelo. Pablo Picasso's earlier realism work seems leaps and bounds ahead of his later pieces in my opinion. He once was quoted as saying, "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child". I still have trouble understanding the draw to abstract art but after hearing that quote, it seemed to make more sense than anything else as to why people would spend lifetimes creating these pieces—to recapture the endless imagination of their inner child, or at least that's what I like to imagine instead of having to think that everyone in the world understands something in abstraction that I seem to be missing.—Samantha Richard
Wassily Kandinsky's Improvisation #19 is a captivating piece in the post. I decided to do some research on this piece of work and Kandinsky’s other artwork. Improvisation is the second out of three self-categorized groups - Impression, Improvisation, Compositions. Impression is categorized as paintings that retain an element of naturalistic representation. Compositions are a group of paintings in which were composed spontaneously but put together carefully, over a period of time, following a number of preliminary studies. Lastly, improvisation are paintings that convey spontaneous emotional reactions inspired by events of a spiritual type. Kandinsky’s Improvisation #19 is an abstract painting with the use of oil on canvas as its media. A very well written description of this painting by Annegret Hombreg, the curator at the Städtische Galerie, Lenbachhaus, Munich: “…It seems as if an unknown ritual occurs in Improvisation 19, a kind of initiation and enlightenment of figures who can be understood as novices. One sees translucent figures outlined only in black. On the left is a procession of smaller form presses forward to the front, followed by shades of colour. The largest part of the painting, however, is filled with a wonderful, supernatural blue, which also shines through the group of figures shown in profile on the right, who seem to move toward a goal outside the painting. The spiritual impact of these long, totally incorporeal figures draws both on the uniformity (that is, they are all the same height, as in Byzantine pictures of saints) and on the fact that deep blue, almost violet shade in their heads may symbolize extinction or transition….This work underscores Kandinsky’s almost messianic expectation of salvation through painting…”Also, a fun fact that I read in the article was that Kandinsky was believed to have had a condition called synaesthesia which means “together” and “sensation.” It is a condition that allows the person to use two or more different senses at the same time to appreciate sounds, colours, and words. Kandinsky recalled “…I saw all my colours in spirit, before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me…”https://mydailyartdisplay.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/compositions-impressions-and-improvisations-by-kandinsky/-Katie Luddy
I love the Plakatstil style of poster art because it brought into light modern graphic design, leading the way of graphic design to be what it is today. It is the first sign of true modernism, with bold letters, simplistic shapes, and a “less is more” style. Leaving the world of Art Nouveau, this style focused on a centralized composition with flat colors and straight lines. The works of Julius Klinger are particularly important to me, as he was a Jew at the time of WWII. Being of Jewish heritage myself, I feel a strong connection to other Jewish artists. His work was beautiful in the most simplistic way. The color and design of each of his works give them a unique feeling and the message is always clear. Having gained an international reputation, his influence on modern art was great, though this was not enough to keep him from Nazi persecution. He was deported to Minsk in 1942 and killed the same year. It is a terrible tragedy to have lost a man of such great influence at such a vital point in his career. - Jamie Port
This Monday's class was one of my favorite class so far. I guess what really excited me was see the transition of typeface from the Art Nouveau to the Die Nueu Typographie. Although I love Art Nouveau and all its beauty and decadence, I admire the crisp and clean forms of this modern group. This new quality is really apparent when taking into consideration of the primitive and inherent qualities of humans. I feel like each style is valid for different occasions and moods. Anne De Souza
I love the architecture aspect of design that we discussed this past week. Two designs that stood out to me the most were Victor Horta's Tassel Hotel in Brussels and Bruno Taut's Glass pavillion, at the Werkbund Exhibition. Both of these pieces of design are extremely beautiful. Though both hold the same monstrosity of beauty in my eyes, they earn this title very differently. In Horta's Tassel Hotel, the elegant curves he designs with draw you in. Its impossible not to look at their beauty. The fine detail and somewhat royal portrayal give this work of architecture beauty through class. The Glass Pavillion, in my eyes is completely the opposite. The elegant curving lines that created the beauty in the hotel are countered here by bold, statement shapes forming the glass dome, but the details inside have that same draw that was found in Horta's work. Unlike the rhythm and flow that attracts your attention, the statements attract my attention in this dome. The use of very different shapes and such precise / exact lines shows the same dedication and beauty in the work creates that same yearning to keep looking and keep searching the design for more. Obviously, the designs themselves are a work of art, but I think the precision and time put into executing both of these architectural masterpieces is what truly makes them beautiful and is the true design aspect that has helped these two be so influential even after all of this time.Caitlin Houlihan
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