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Week 3 Lecture, 20th Century
 

Week 3 Lecture, 20th Century

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  • Picasso returns his “borrowed” Iberian stoneheads to the Louvre from which they had been stolen by Pieret, Apollinaire’s secretary -Picasso’s early interest in Iberian and African heads nurtured his distortion of the form. It grew until he eventually fragmented the form altogether, analyzing its various components. Georges Braque began experimenting with Cubism first them began a collaboration with Picasso that would last from 1908 until 1914
  • -Kahnweiler was Picasso’s dealer during the Cubist period, and wrote the most important early account of it, “The Rise of Cubism” in 1920—this is where “analytical cubism” was coined
  • What is the iconic? -a conventional, formulaic style in which the image resembles the thing it portrays, no matter the style, even if abstract shapes, they serve as counterpart to object they depict (i.e. triangle for a torso) (vs. the symbolic—arbitrary signs that bear no visible or audible connection to the meanings or objects they refer to, i.e. “dog”
  • Duchamp withdrew from the Cubist group when they rejected this work, Nude Descending a Staircase , and brothers (assoc. with this group_ encouraged him to withdraw this painting from the 1912 Salon des Independents. -Called “explosion in a Shingle factory”—this slur shows the influence of industrialization and factory produced goods -Then abandons painting, abandons Cubism, as he would later do with art, in part because of its tendency towards institutionalization—Cubism had become a doctrine, and this work was rejected by the group that est this doctrine
  • What is art? (ontological) How do we know its art? (epistemological) Who determines what art is? (institutional) – Art Since 1900 Fountain was submitted to American Society of Independent. Artists for first exhibition on April 17. The show was not juried & Duchamp in charge of hanging committee. The show accepted all submissions but this one
  • An international movement, “Dada”—means baby talk in German, “hobbyhorse” in French, mult meanings in diff languages – A rewriting of the arts, starting all over, beginning again with nonsense, like child’s play -Grew out of artist’s dissatisfaction with middle class values, conservative traditions in art making, the tragedy of WWI – in some cases, it emphasizes a nihilistic approach to art and life; also emphasizes chance and accident in making art. Hugely influential on later art movements, in particular AbEx, Pop Art movements in US. Many Dadaist works no longer exist. Emphasis on their ephemerality. -Dada as the anti-movement -advocated a distaste for beauty, “beauty is dead,” morality, “systems”, pictorialism or illusionism in ptg, “the new artist protests”, preservation of freedom, independence--“art is a private affair. The artist produces for himself” -also interested in the unconscious (Freud, Jung) – art for self-revelation and catharsis Hans Arp, Collage of Squares Arranged Acc to the Laws of Chance, 1916-17 -Dadaist formal exercise combines cubism, collage, futurism, readymade etc -cut small squares of commercial paper, drops them, and glues them in place -resistance to the egoism of expressionist art (in favor of anonymity, like Duchamp resisted the traditional elements of art – composition, authorship, etc)
  • Like Duchamp, who was affiliated with Dada, these artists shared a dislike of schools and doctrines, fixed ways of doing anything, and bourgeois or middle class morality and propriety, church and state, and art market
  • Following Ball’s departure, Dada was made into a more cohesive movement by Tristan Tzara who wrote a manifesto (in 1918), opened a gallery, and produced a publication, Dada
  • Stieglitz enrolled as an engineering student in Berlin in 1882 and took a course in photochemistry Had no previous art training, no interest in the ‘art world’
  • Overall, modern (avant-garde) artists no longer sought objectivity, a desire to accurately reproduce the external world, or as Duchamp calls it, the “retinal art” tradition. They either abstracted the form by breaking it up into geometric planes, like the Cubists, by turning it into a chaotic assemblage of bright brushstrokes, like the Fauves, or they favored complete nonobjectivity, as in the case of Mondrian above, and removed all representational forms in favor of pure abstraction. In a sense, the interest in the image beyond the window (like the woman in Durer’s print above) becomes an interest in the frame itself. What remains is the grid, the flat, rectangular, or square, form. As you have read, much early 20 th century art, in keeping with true modernist self-reflexivity, explored this tension between image and frame. Remember Robert Storr’s definition of modernism: “Modernism…is that art that takes itself—its compositional techniques, methods of image making, physical presence, and constructive or destructive relation to the traditions of art—as its primary subject. Before modernist art is about anything else—an image, a symbol, the communication of an experience—it is about the logic and structure of the thing that carries meaning, and about how that thing came into being. In this respect, all modernist art is essentially abstract, even though only some modernist art looks it.” Abstraction, even pure abstraction, abounds during the second decade of the 20 th century in the work of Mondrian, Malevich, Leger, Arp, and the Delaunays, among many others. It will continue to be a primary avenue for artistic exploration throughout the 20 th century.

Week 3 Lecture, 20th Century Week 3 Lecture, 20th Century Presentation Transcript

  • History of 20 th Century Art Week 3 1911-1919
  • 1911 – Cubism: Closing the Curtain on the Window to the World
    • In the late 19 th century, artists (Cezanne et al) begin to dismantle illusionistic space
    • Cezanne’s interest in the geometric foundations of forms will influence Cubism
    • Picasso & Braque begin to experiment with this in 1911
    Unknown, Ideal City with a fountain and statues of the virtues , 1500 Cezanne, Bibemus Quarry , 1895 “ It [Cézanne's impact] was more than an influence, it was an invitation. Cézanne was the first to have broken away from erudite, mechanized perspective…” - Georges Braque, Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism passage
  • The Process of Looking: Kahnweiler’s Account
    • Cubism tried to unify the pictorial object by reconciling opposites, the depicted volumes of real objects and the flatness and shape of the canvas (Analytical Cubism)
    • Heighten the continuity of the canvas plane
    • Banished color so that they could emphasize shading (gray or tonal scale)
    • This created the lowest possible relief to heighten the recognition of depicted volume on a flat surface
    • To reduce painting to its essential elements—“autonomy and logic of the picture object”
    • Looking from multiple perspectives (composite) vs. one single (fixed) perspective
    Pablo Picasso, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler , 1910
  • Georges Braque
    • Possibly originated from Braque’s memories of a Portuguese musician from Marseilles
    • Reduced color palette- ochers and umbers, silver, copper
    • Shallow planes set parallel to the picture surface (“as though a roller had pressed out the volume of the bodies” – Art Since 1900 )
    • No consistent light source
    • Slight modeling through tints & shadows
    • Shapes also indicated by edges of form
    • As seen from multiple perspectives
    • Integration of text emphasizes flattened space (recalls posters hanging in dance halls & cafes)
    Georges Braque, The Portuguese , 1911
  • Pictures as Puzzles
    • Synthetic Cubism
    • First introduced by Braque (using same material, oilcloth)
    • Addition of actual collaged objects (rope & oilcloth) achieves total flattening of space
    • Some recognizable objects (knife, lemon, napkin, glass, pipe)
    • “ JOU” refers either to the French word for game or newspaper (“journal”)
    • Chair caning indicates glass tabletop (as if looking through)
    • Shape of canvas reinforces tabletop shape (and resembles ship’s port hole)
    • Tension between suggested depth (tactile) and flatness (visual)
    • Overturns (or makes transparent?)
    • traditional still life painting
    Picasso, Still Life with Chair Caning, 1912 Chardin Still Life with Pipe and Jug 1737
  • 1912 – Cubist collage invented
    • Amidst interaction among different artistic processes, rise of pop culture and social unrest
    • A visual play of figure-ground reversal
    • A break with the iconic system of representation
    • Uses arbitrary “symbolic” so that images depicted don’t necessarily look like their objects
    • Corresponding newspaper clippings used to suggest two very different figurative elements (wood grain of violin & airy background)
    • What was once definite, fixed knowledge has become entirely arbitrary—“a revolution in
    • Western representation”
    vs. DOG Icon Symbol Picasso, Violin , 1912, drawing/collage
  • Two Interpretive Approaches to Picasso’s Collages
    • High Meets Low Art
    • Reflection of the intersection of elite and mass cultural practices
    • Introduces mass-produced, ephemeral materials (newspaper, etc)
    • Blurs line between “fine art” and other artistic practices
    • Set in working class café where poor would read news they can’t afford to buy
    Picasso, Glass and Bottle of Suze , 1912
    • As Political Statement
    • Newspaper clippings refer to Balkan War 1912
    • On right are battlefield reports, on left, accounts of an antiwar protest in Paris
    • Represents aftermath of a discussion about the war among workers?
    • Fragmented form of collage suggests dismantled ideologies
  • 1914 – The Lessons of Cubism: Tatlin & Duchamp Find the Found Object
    • Tatlin’s Constructions & Duchamp’s Readymades transform Cubist collage
    • Both anticipate a new world of mass-produced commodities made possible by industrialization
    • Tatlin involved in Cubo-Futurist avant-garde; went to Paris in 1914, saw Picasso’s constructions, and begins to make his own
    • Tatlin’s work departs from Duchamp in his interest in “truth to materials,” which will become Russian Constructivism
    Vladimir Tatlin Selection of Materials: Iron Stucco, Glass, Asphalt 1914 Man Ray Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Selavy 1920-21 Rrose Selavy Precision Oculist
  • Marcel Duchamp
    • Prankster, provocateur, the consummate iconoclast
    • Dabbled in various styles (Cubo-Futurism)
    • Grew tired of “retinal art” because it privileged sight over mind
    • Disliked standards of artistic taste & bourgeois control of the arts
    • Work became series of questions about the nature of art, a “self-critique” or intellectual game
    Playing Chess, Pasadena Museum of Art, 1963 Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase No.2 , 1912 Eadweard Muybridge Descending Stairs and Turning Around 1884-85
  • Art After Painting?
    • For Duchamp, painting had become inadequate and boring
    • A newly industrialized world demanded a new art
    • Art & utility/usefulness
    • Also intrigued by indifference in art
    • Inspired by Picabia, Roussel and their interest in art as form of negation and word play
    • Q: How does an artist represent this new culture of commodities in his/her work?
    Painting is over. Who’d do better than this propeller? Tell me, could you do that? – Duchamp to Brancusi, Leger @ Salon de la Locomotion Aerienne, 1912 A: The Readymade The Alhambra. Sears Modern Homes Mail Order Catalog, 1920-25 http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =YHp1zbW_IE8
  • The Readymade : appropriated product positioned as art….”He CHOSE it!”
    • “ Can one make works that are not works of art ?” - Duchamp
    • Traditional Art
    • Materials (painting, bronze/marble sculpture)
    • Made by single artist, attributed to that artist, expressive of that artist’s style & ideas (subjective)
    • One-of-a-kind
    • Non-utilitarian (not useful)
    • Decorative or of aesthetic value
    • Readymade
    • Industrial materials
    • Anonymous creator (objective)
    • Mass-produced
    • Utilitarian or useful
    • (once was)
    • Expressive of artist’s indifference (no aesthetic value?)
    Thomas Struth, Art Institue of Chicago, IL, Chicago , 1990 Duchamp, Fountain 1917 readymade (porcelain)
  • 1915 - Kazimir Malevich shows his Suprematist canvases at the “0.10” exhibition in Petrograd
    • Malevich aligned with formalist writers and poets in Moscow
    • Structuralist language experiments (“made strange” through nonsense words and neologisms) influenced his imagery
    • Experimented with various styles, particularly Synthetic Cubism
    • This first exhibition of Suprematist works sought the “zero of painting” or the core of the pictorial
    • Flat & delimited/deducted
    • Not purely geometric (skewed)
    • Bright color differs from Cubism
    Kazimir Malevich, “0.10” Exhibition, Petrograd, 1915 Malevich, Red Square (Painterly Realism of a Peasant Woman in Two Dimensions ) 1915 ground figure
  • The “Zero of Painting”
    • Political climate in Russia (the October Revolution and anarchist revolt w/ which Malevich was sympathetic), made it difficult for him to justify his work as a painter
    • “ Zero” of painting becomes almost nonexistent in the white on white paintings, some of which were hung on ceilings
    • Co-founder of school where he develops architectural ideas
    • Returns to figurative painting in 1930s. Why?
    • Fear of persecution; avant-garde too radical & anarchist
    http://vimeo.com/6789494 Art by Yasmina Reza, Open Door Repertory Co. Malevich, Suprematist Painting (White on White), 1918 Malevich Self-Portrait 1933
  • dada DADA DADA Dada signified nothing, it is nothing, nothing nothing -Francis Picabia, 1915 Jean (Hans) Arp, Collage Arranged According to the Laws of Chance , 1916-17
  • Class Activity “ If a straight horizontal thread one meter long falls from a height of one meter onto a horizontal plane twisting as it pleases [it] creates a new image of the unit of length.” –Duchamp Duchamp, Three Standard Stoppages , 1913-14
  • 1916 – “A Farce of Nothingness”: Dada in Zurich
    • In response to WWI (Switzerland was neutral, a refuge for anti-war artists and bohemians)
    • International movement (Zurich, NYC, Paris, Berlin) in keeping with anti-nationalist spirit
    • No set practice or leader
    • Shared love of play, chance, absurdity, farce & radical experimentation
    • Involved in poetry, performance & ephemeral art making (many Dada works no longer exist)
    • Name has multiple meanings (Ball: “to Germans it [dada] is an indication of idiotic naivete and of a preoccupation with procreation and the baby carriage.”
    http:// art.docuwat.ch /videos/?alternative=3&channel_id=17&skip=0&subpage= video&video_id =123 The Shock of the New: The Powers that Be , Robert Hughes, 1980 Restaurant “Meierei,” Zurich location of Cabaret Voltaire 1916 Emmy Hennings, Cabaret Voltaire, 1916
  • Cabaret Voltaire
    • Named for the 18th century French satirist, Voltaire, who wrote Candide
    • Meant to be a “vaudevillian mockery of ‘the ideals of culture and of art’”
    • In performances, spoke in different languages, chanted, made noise with typewriters, drums, laughing, dancing, hiccupping
    • Ball gave the last performance dressed up as a “bishop” (in cardboard outfit, colored in blue, scarlet and white) and performed Karawane
    • Ball believed Janco’s masks referred to ancient Greek and Japanese theater, they
    • demanded a “tragic-absurd
    • dance”
    http:// www.ubu.com/sound/ball.html Hugo Ball, “Magical Bishop” costume Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, 1916
  • 1916 – American avant-garde photo receives an advocate in Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work
    • By this time, Stieglitz known in U.S. and Europe, and his Gallery 291 in NYC had mounted exhibitions of Matisse, Picasso, & Picabia’s work
    • Also exhibited works by members of his Photo-Secessionist group (founded 1902)
    • First championed Pictorialist photography
    • When introduced to Strand’s work, he gave him exhibition at 291 and featured him in Camera Work
    Francis Picabia, C’est ici Stieglitz , 1915, illustration Paul Strand, Abstractions, Porch Shadows Connecticut , 1917
    • Began to favor more truthful & direct photographic aesthetic as seen in Strand’s cropped abstractions
    • “ Straight Photography”
    • and modernist art share
    • aesthetic concerns
  • Pictorialist vs. Straight Photo
    • Pictorialism
    • Early photographic movement
    • Imitated painting (as valid art form)
    • Often staged or manipulated
    • Used tricks like soft focus, greased lens,
    • drawing on negative, etc…
    Henry Peach Robinson, Fading Away , 1858, Albumen print
    • Straight Photo
    • Even present in this early work by Stieglitz
    • Image has clarity, lacks melodrama
    • Light through window mimics photographic process
    • Three of same photo suggest mechanical reproduction & serial image
    Alfred Stieglitz, Sun’s Rays – Paula, Berlin , 1889
  • From the Window to the Frame Albrecht Durer, from Four Books on Human Proportions , 1528 Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 10 , 1939
  • 1917 – Mondrian discovers abstraction & DeStijl
    • Moves to Paris in 1912 to study Cubism
    • Extended the Cubist grid to pure abstraction
    • Considered the abstract form symbolic of spiritual transcendence
    • Distilled recognizable forms to intersecting vertical & horizontal lines (as “immutable” truths)
    • The grid destroys hierarchy in the image (order of importance)
    • A tension/dialectic of opposites in horizontals and verticals
    • This work still doesn’t fulfill his aims because it still upholds the traditional figure-ground composition
    Piet Mondrian, Grey Tree , 1911, oil Mondrian, Composition in Line , 1917, oil
  • Neoplasticism
    • Represents his mature style, Neoplasticism
    • How does he resolve the figure-ground problem?
    • Superimposed planes were eliminated (crossed lines)
    • Space divided into various rectangles, some different shades of white, some in color
    • The modular grid was developed & determined by the canvas proportions (allover composition)
    • Primary colors added to grid
    • Non-hierarchical
    Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Red, Black Blue and Grey , 1920, oil
  • DeStijl
    • The DeStijl publication had been founded in 1917 by painters and poets sympathetic to Mondrian’s ideas (including Theo van Doesburg)
    DeStijl album cover, The White Stripes, 2000 Spatial Color Composition for an Exhibition, Berlin , 1923, DeStijl
    • Interested in the application of Neoplasticism to utopian living spaces
    • To reduce architecture to its most basic forms
    • Likened to painting because of planar units in each