Europe & US, 1912-30


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  • We can see the cubist and Futurist dissection of form applied to painting in Duchamp’s Nude, a work that was not received well in the U.S. when it was exhibited at the Armory Show in 1913 in New York, Chicago, and Boston. The Armory Show included works by European and American painters and showed the latest developments in modernist art. One critic called Duchamp’s painting an “explosion in a shingle factory.” Americans were not ready to embrace modernist art, although modernist American artists existed, such as Marsden Hartley, a native of Maine who left the U.S. to learn about these progressive European movements (cubism etc) and absorbed them into his work. Here is a cubist treatment of a portrait, where the officer is reduced to a collection of signs that refer to his role as a German officer in WWI (german flags, badges) and to his name (lower left hand corner) and age (lower right) at the time of his death. The officer was Hartley’s lover, giving a touching, elegiac sentiment to an otherwise objective cubist design.
  • 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
  • -French Dadaist, moves Dada to US with his move there in 1915 to escape war (the first of many artists escaping war and heading to the states) -Duchamp imitates cubist painting, exhibited in states in 1913 at Armory Show of contemp art in NYC, a critical flop -After dabbling in various art forms, rejects “retinal art” entirely and issues of taste, aesthetics, in favor of art as idea -this object considered by many to be the most important work of art in the 20 th century. Why?
  • -submitted anonymously to first annual exhibition of Society of Independent Artists in NYC, with title “Fountain”, signed by “R.Mutt” -this exhibition committed to mounting an unjuried show open to any artist -refused entry, published statement in his journal The Blind Man , last issue of mag (like zine) in 1917 “ They say any artist paying six dollars may exhibit. Mr. Richard Mutt sent in a fountain. Without discussion this article disappeared and never was exhibited. What were the grounds for refusing Mr. Mutt’s fountain: …he chose it…The only works of art America has given are her plumbing and her bridges” -Rockwell Kent, an exhibition juror and painter: “Do you mean that if a man chose to exhibit horse manure we would have to accept it?” -tests boundaries of what is acceptable as art and of good taste -readymade—ordinary manufactured objects transformed into artworks purely by artist’s decision -slight alteration, turned it upside down, signed R.Mutt (taken from its manufacturer J.L. Mott Iron Works) -exh same yr US entered WWI -intentional joke—duchamp immed resigned from society after it was refused Characteristics of a Readymade: -anonymous author/creator -prefabricated and standardized -objective (vs. subjective)—without the distinguishing marks of a creator -mass produced, not unique, a dime a dozen -functional / utilitarian /useful Asks questions…. -What is art? -How do we know its art? -Who determines what art is?
  • -Many Dadaists were absorbed into surrealism, birth of movement in 1924 coincided with decline of Dada -The surrealists (here in the séance) were actively and seriously engaged in a study of how the unconscious mind could be used to affect reality – org the Bureau of Surrealist Research in 1924 with many of the artists you see above (Andre and Simone Breton, etc) – a serious inquiry, enough so that it required an organization, a manifesto and genuine “research” into its possibilities, daily meetings for hour ½ at same café at 6 pm, by early 1930s, members would all consume same beverage -in this séance, the poet Robert Desnos (front) communicates a message in a trance-like state while Simone (Breton’s wife) transcribes it -a statement issued to the press when bureau founded: “Surrealism proposes a gathering of the greatest possible number of experimental elements, for a purpose that cannot yet be perceived. All those who have the means to contribute…are urgently requested to come forward: let them shine the light on the genesis of invention, or propose a new system of psychic investigation..or freely criticize morality or simply entrust us with their most curious dreams.” **-Surrealism the longest lasting artistic revolution in the 20th century, from 1920s through 60s (U.S.) – A desire to invest everything in ordinary outer life with a kind of poetry of the inner life, to make the ordinary extraordinary, no limits to the imagination and its possibilities
  • -Dali lived for almost whole of 20th cent. (1906-89), Spanish artist, studied in Barcelona and Madrid, expelled from Madrid Academy b/c of his disdain for authority, moved to Paris in late 20s -expelled from surrealists later when he adopted a more representational, illustrative style, and later expanded his practice when he moved to the US (the place where he was really at home) to Hollywood Stage sets (Hitchcock’s Spellbound), store window displays (Bonwit Teller, NYC, mannequins in tubs, store covers up installation and Dali throws tub and mannequin out the store window and onto the street, he’s arrested), possible publicity stunt for the Dream of Venus pavilion at the World’s Fair in Queen’s in 1939 -His art was really the spectacle he made of himself; the predecessor to artists as stuntman, provacateur
  • Un chien andalou (1929, Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali) - -Dali bursts on the surrealist scene with this film made with Spanish filmmaker, Luis Bunuel (the first of two films), screened in Spain 1929; both had been part of a rebellious group in Madrid, Spain; a deliberately avant-garde film, creation of a “dream-like logic”, infl by Bunuel’s expertise with montage as inspired by the filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, used to cut from one scene to another. The cutting of the eye and inner vision, reflects Dali’s obsession with putrefaction (rotting donkey’s and dead priests). Bunuel considered it “anti-artistic”
  • Europe & US, 1912-30

    1. 1. <ul><li>Max Beckmann, Night , 1917-18, oil on canvas, German </li></ul>
    2. 2. Europe and America 1912-30 <ul><li>Jason Lazarus, Self-Portrait as an Artist Burning Down the MCA (Chicago, IL), 2004 </li></ul>“ All that is solid melts into air” Marx, Communist Manifesto
    3. 3. Europe, 1900-12 UMBERTO BOCCIONI, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space , 3’7”, 1913. Fig. 14-11. … All subjects previously used must be swept aside in order to express our whirling life of steel, of pride, of fever and of speed…that movement and light destroy the materiality of bodies. -from Futurist Painting: Technical Manifesto , 1910 F.T. Marinetti
    4. 4. <ul><li>Futurism </li></ul><ul><li>Began as literary movement </li></ul><ul><li>Violent rejection of artistic and cultural tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Embrace speed, machines (the automobile) </li></ul><ul><li>Interested in Cubist formal analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures movement rather than the body </li></ul>UMBERTO BOCCIONI, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space , 1913. Fig. 14-11. Europe, 1900-12 Nike of Samothrace 190 BCE, Greek
    5. 5. America, 1900-1920 Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase No.2 , 1912, oil Marsden Hartley, Portrait of a German Officer , 1914, oil
    6. 6. <ul><li>Movement toward abstraction </li></ul><ul><li>Isolating fragments of objects </li></ul><ul><li>for beauty of line, shape, light </li></ul><ul><li>Reductive, organic </li></ul>EDWARD WESTON, Nude, 1925. Fig. 14-18. America, 1900-1920 Georgia O’Keeffe, Jack in the Pulpit No.4 1930, oil, fig.I-1
    7. 7. 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
    8. 8. MARCEL DUCHAMP, Fountain (second version), 1950 (original version produced 1917). Fig. 14-13. Europe, 1912-20 Duchamp as Rrose Selavy by Man Ray, 1921 http:// =7CFQY0Yf1iI&feature= fvw
    9. 9. <ul><li>Dadaists embrace anarchy, irrationality, humor, indifference </li></ul><ul><li>One of first “readymades” </li></ul><ul><li>Found object, questions artist’s role, nature of art and aesthetic tastes – “He chose it!” </li></ul><ul><li>Mass production (serial object) </li></ul><ul><li>Birth of conceptual art </li></ul>MARCEL DUCHAMP, Fountain (second version), 1950 (original version produced 1917). Fig. 14-13. Europe, 1912-20 The only works of art America has given are her plumbing and her bridges. -Duchamp, The Blind Man
    10. 10. HANNAH HÖCH, Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, 1919–1920. Fig. 14-14. Europe, 1912-20
    11. 11. <ul><li>Dadaist photomontage </li></ul><ul><li>Political activism (Berlin Dada in Weimar Republic) </li></ul><ul><li>Found objects placed in illogical juxtapositions (anti-aesthetic & antilogical) </li></ul><ul><li>Aligns Dada with leftist politics (Marx, Lenin) & women’s rights </li></ul><ul><li>Prominent Dadaists and </li></ul><ul><li>other notable figures represented (Einstein) </li></ul>HANNAH HÖCH, Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, 1919–1920. Fig. 14-14. Europe, 1912-20
    12. 12. Europe, 1920 to 1930 Man Ray, Waking Dream Séance , 1924 surrealism: Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express – verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern. -Andre Breton , First Surrealist Manifesto , 1924
    13. 13. Group Activity The Exquisite Corpse Automatism: In painting, the process of yielding oneself to instinctive motions of the hands after establishing a set of conditions within which a work is to be produced. Tanguy, Miro, Morise, Man Ray Exquisite Corpse , 1927, mixed media on paper
    14. 14. The Exquisite Corpse <ul><li>A game or “chance operation” invented by the Surrealists (hence their infamous phrase, &quot;The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.&quot;). </li></ul><ul><li>How to play the game… </li></ul><ul><li>Take one sheet of paper and mark it off in 4-5 equal sections. You must decide beforehand the &quot;rule&quot; or order of types of words that will dictate each person's participation (i.e. Noun, verb, adjective, noun, adverb, preposition, etc.). You will then pass the sheet of paper from person to person. Without letting others see what he/she is writing, each person will write down a word according to the rule, then fold over the paper so the person who follows cannot see what they're writing. When you’re finished, each group will look at what they have collectively written and read their sentence to the class. </li></ul>
    15. 15. SALVADOR DALÍ, The Persistence of Memory, 1931. Fig. 14-22. Europe, 1920 to 1930 http:// = WixEvXAkrZo&feature =related
    16. 16. <ul><li>Naturalistic surrealism (vs. biomorphic) </li></ul><ul><li>Represent the unconscious mind & childhood (Catalan landscape) </li></ul><ul><li>Recurring symbols (ants; limp, amorphous forms) </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired by Freud and Jung </li></ul><ul><li>Realistic dreamscape </li></ul><ul><li>“ Concrete irrationality” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Paranoic-critical” </li></ul><ul><li>method </li></ul>SALVADOR DALÍ, The Persistence of Memory, 1931. Fig. 14-22. Europe, 1920 to 1930 Detail from Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights ca.1505