WHAT IS AN ICON?Historical Overview• An term icon traditionally applies to a religiousAn term icon traditionally applies to a religiousimage of a saint painted on wood with tempera.image of a saint painted on wood with tempera.• The word icon derives from the GreekThe word icon derives from the Greek eikoneikon,,which translates aswhich translates as “likeness”, “image” or“likeness”, “image” or“representation”.“representation”.• During the Byzantine period (A.D. 330-1700During the Byzantine period (A.D. 330-1700’s)’s)the Orthodox Greek and Russian churchesthe Orthodox Greek and Russian churchesplaced icons on an elevated surfaceplaced icons on an elevated surface ..
Iconoclasts• Iconoclasts or Image-breakers, demanded thatreligious images be removed from churches astheir presence caused idolatry.• The iconoclast movement (8th-9th century)had thesupport of the emperors.• The destruction was extensive and included panelpaintings, frescoes, mosaics and illuminatedmanuscripts.• Only a small number of icons from the 5th and 6thcentury were not destroyed.
Icons and symbolism• In early Christian times many peoplewere illiterate and so churches encodedreligious paintings with symbols to“speak” to parishioner.• The audience was very familiar with thecoding of the artworks and had a strongsense of visual communication.
• A medieval painting workshopwould have resembled a sciencelab.• Artists made all of their owntools and materials, includingtheir paints.• Master painters took onapprentices to do much of thework of preparing materials. Inexchange for their labor in theworkshop, the apprenticeslearned the techniques ofpainting from the master painter.• Russian artists used egg yolkmixed with colored pigments tocreate egg tempera paint.Pigments were made fromground minerals and otherelements, prepared and blendedaccording to a specific recipe.• Because egg tempera dries veryquickly, artists had to paint smallareas at one time.• Source: Guggenheim MuseumART & SCIENCEMERGING OF SKILLS
THE ICON THROUGH THE STRUCTURAL FRAMEStructural: Artist• The artist adheres to a procedural practice and employs a formalist system ofvisual language, using symbols that communicate meaning• Structural: Artwork• Artworks are the medium for communication through signs and symbols.They are constructions of pictorial devices that communicate artisticprinciples. They exhibit material processes.• Structural: Artist• The structural world is a source of symbols and signs that are employed byartists. Codes and conventions in the world form the visual language ofrepresentation.• Structural: World• Audiences decode the meanings of artworks where they are cognisant with thelanguage of its symbols. They read meaning through compositional systems,materials and processes.
CLASS PRESENTATIONSThe class will break into foureven discussion groups. Eachgroup will take one of thequestions on this page (1-4) anddiscuss. When working ingroups create a page of ideas inbullet points and have yourgroup do some additionalresearch which will provide youwith enough material to do aclass presentation.Work can include images andcan be presented with the aid ofvisual resources and ICT’s.
VOCAB• Deesis : The Greek word for a humble request or prayer. This tier of an iconostasiswould include a representation of Christ Enthroned between the Virgin Mary and SaintJohn the Baptist, who was thought to be able to intercede on behalf of humans.• Egg tempera : a painting medium that uses colored pigments, ground into powder andmixed with egg yolks, to create paint. Bright colors are derived from minerals includingcinnabar (red), lapis lazuli (blue), and malachite (green).• Icon : Derived from the Greek, meaning any image or likeness, but commonly used todesignate a panel representing Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint venerated by Orthodox(Eastern) Christianity.• Iconoclasts: Group of society who called for the destruction of icons and other religiousimagery.• Iconostasis : in Eastern Christian churches, a screen separating the main body of thechurch from the altar; it was usually decorated with icons whose subject matter and orderwere largely predetermined.• Source - The Guggenheim Museum Online –• http://www.guggenheim.org/artscurriculum/lessons/russian_L1.php
WEBSITES•The Face of Russia. Companion to the PBS series focusing on Russian culture.http://www.pbs.org/weta/faceofrussia/timeline-index.html•Russian Painting. A site designed by Dr. Alexander Boguslawski, Rollins College,Winter Park, Florida http://www.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/ruspaint.html•The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Includes information abouttheir extensive collections and virtual tours.http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/index.html•The Society of Tempera Painters. Technical and historical information on theuse of egg tempera. http://www.eggtempera.com.•The State Tretyakov Gallery is the national treasury of Russian fine art.The collection consists of more than 130 000 works of Russian art.http://www.tretyakovgallery.ru/english/•Index of Russian art, with images of Russian paintings.http://www.auburn.edu/academic/liberal_arts/foreign/russian/art/index.html•Source - The Guggenheim Museum Online –• http://www.guggenheim.org/artscurriculum/lessons/russian_L1.php
Kasmir Malevich• Kazimir Malevich was aRussian artist born in Kievon February 28, 1878.• In 1905 he moved toMoscow, where he studiedreligious icons with greatinterest.• He wrote: "Moscow iconsturned over all mytheories and brought meto my third stage ofdevelopment.”
• In early 1913, he started tobecome interested incubo-futurism.• In July 1913, he wasinvited to create thecostumes and sets for theopera, Victory over theSun .• These works marked thebeginning of hisSuprematist period. Hisstyle moved from thefigurative to the abstract.• At the time Malevich wasdeveloping Suprematism,Russia was experiencingserious social upheaval.
The Icon through the SubjectiveFrame• Subjective: Artist• The artist is motivated by feelings, intuition, emotional experiences andimagination. Their responses in making artworks are expressive andsometimes spontaneous responses to their world• Subjective: Artwork• Artworks are places where emotions and evocations reside. Artworks aresensational or expressively confronting. They conjure up memories andassociations• Subjective: World• The world is the place of imaginings, fantasy, passion, spirituality personalmemories and associations as a source for representations• Subjective: Audience• The audience finds personal and emotional connections with artworks. Theyreflect on their memories and associations. Meaning and value is gauged byemotional response of the viewer.
Questions for Group SummaryThe Subjective Frame & The Conceptual Framework• Students break into groups of four with each student choosing one aspect ofthe Conceptual framework and answering the question that applies to theiragency (either the Artist, Audience, Audience, World). Once the group hascollected and shared their material, each student writes a summary of theirfindings.• Artist: How does the artist express his own experiences?• Artwork: What emotive responses does the artwork provoke? Why?• Audience: How important is an emotional response to an artwork?• World: Are the spiritual, psychological, emotive and aesthetic sensibilities ofthe audience and the artist related to world events? How?• Source: Revise HSC visual art in a month - Craig Malyon
Vocab• Abstract Art: the construction of art objects from non-representational(geometric) forms. The reduction of natural appearances to simplifiedforms.• Constructivism: An abstract movement in sculptural art founded byAntoine Pevsner and Naum Pevsner (GABO) on their return to Russiain 1917.• Suprematism: An abstract movement launched in Russia by Kasimir(Casimir) Malevich in 1913, maintaining that painting should be onlyfrom the geometrical elements the rectangle, circle, triangle, and cross.• Source: The Oxford Companion To Art, 1970.
Suggested Further Reading• Andersen, Troels. Malevich (exh. cat.). Amsterdam:Stedelijk Museum, 1970.• DAndrea, Jeanne, ed. Kazimir Malevich 1878–1935 (exh.cat.). Los Angeles: Armand Hammer Museum of Art andCultural Center; Seattle: University of Washington Press,1990.• Douglas, Charlotte. Kazimir Malevich. New York: HarryN. Abrams, 1994.• Hilton, Alison. Kazimir Malevich. New York: Rizzoli,1992.• Milner, John. Kazimir Malevich and the Art of Geometry.New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.
Marcel Duchamp• Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was a French artist who lived most of his life in Paris andNew York.• After one of his artworks was rejected from a cubist exhibition he set on a new course ofartmaking that did not require the approval of others.• Duchamp entered his artwork “Fountain” (anonymously, it was signed R. Mutt) in the1917 Society of Independent Artists Exhibition “The Big Show”. It was rejected from theexhibition and once again set Duchamp on a path of “anti-art” creation.
ICONCLAST• Duchamp’s inclination to pushthe boundaries of artisticconventions continued with hismanipulation of a postcardimage of the Mona Lisa(L.H.O.O.Q, 1919).• This technique became knownas “appropriation.”• This concept of an artistmaking manipulating anotherartists work gained prominencein American Conceptual art ofthe 1970’s.• Today appropriation in art iscommon and is defined as aconvention of“Postmodernism.”• The irony today is thatDuchamp’s original artworkL.H.O.O.Q. is now worth afortune.
The Icon through the Cultural Frame• Cultural: Artist• The artist depicts socially collective ideas and beliefs. Artistic practice isinformed by cultural deals of style or artistic expression, which is often ahistorical phenomenon.• Cultural: Artwork• Artworks are the products of culture, socialist expressions of ideas, beliefs.They represent community interests, for example about religion, gender andevents. They are historical records.• Cultural: World• The cultural world is informed by institutions; religious, educational andpolitical. Galleries, media and technology are part of the cultural dynamic.Collective ideology and identity influence art making• Cultural: Audience• Audiences are art consumers; collectors, critics, patrons, curators andhistorians. Art is assessed by its cultural, political and economic value in themarketplace
Practice – Art Criticism• The readymade is Duchamps way of creating Dada anti-art. Hewishes to counter the pre-conceived notion that art must havepersonal expression ("I wanted to get away from the stink of artistsegos") by removing all traces of the artists hand. He therebychallenges bourgeois assumptions of originality, authorship, craftand skill, taste, precious materials, uniqueness, and even gendercertainty, since he suspends Mona between male and female here.”• Dr. Karen Kleinfelder / Professor of Art History, California StateUniversity Long Beach• “Unlike more traditional works of art, which rely primarily uponvisual comprehension for understanding their importance — and,thus, financial value — a work by Duchamp (particularly thereadymades) relies upon more complicated processes of thought.”• Marcel Duchamp- Money Is No Object: The Art of Defying the ArtMarket by Francis M. Naumann.• “Marcel Duchamp shifted the epicentre of Art from making anobject to choosing an object and so questioned the distinctionbetween Art and non-Art objects.”• Michael Carter – Framing Art
Practice and Art Criticism• Art criticism is concerned with the expression of evaluative judgmentsabout artworks and the critical exploration of issues in the art world. Itallows for an opportunity to interpret and evaluate works byexpressing responses, systematic analysis and value judgments aboutartworks.• Writing about art is a self-conscious attempt to make more sense ofart.• Writng from the Cultural Frame relates the artwork through valuesand beliefs embedded within a specific context of society, e.g. race,gender, class, economics, politics, principles.• Student Activity• Referencing the critical writings on the previous page takeon the role of the critic. Pretend you are viewing theworks of Marcel Duchamp for the first time and write ahalf a page review of his exhibition. Writing should befocusing on the cultural frame.
Vocab• Readymade – a found object which an artist situates in a gallerysetting.• Appropriation -manipulating or adjusting somebody elses work, thenclaiming the final work as your own.• Anti-art is the definition of a work which may be exhibited ordelivered in a conventional context but makes fun of serious art orchallenges the nature of art.• A work such as Marcel Duchamps Fountain of 1917 is a primeexample of anti-art. It is a Dadaist work of art. Much of Dadaism isassociated with the quality of being anti-art. While the Dadamovement per se was generally confined to Western Europe in theearly 1900s, anti-art has a wider scope.• Since then various avant-garde art movements have a position on anti-art and the term is also used to describe other intentionally provocativeart forms, such as nonsense verse.• Anti-art source: Wikipedia
Websites for further research• Andrew Stafford: Making Sense of Marcel Duchamp - animatedexplanations.• Marcel-Duchamp.com Étant donné - annual review published byLassociation pour letude de Marcel Duchamp.• Toutfait: The Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal• MarcelDuchamp.org - Personal website dedicated to Duchamp.• MarcelDuchamp.net - Art Science Research Laboratory site aboutresearching Duchamp.• Marcel Duchamp - Olgas Gallery pages with biography and images.• Marcel Duchamp Rotoreliefs - animated.• The Essential DADA: Marcel Duchamp - biography and images
ANDY WARHOL• Andy Warhol was born AndrewWarhola in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, in 1928.• His family came fromCzechoslovakia (now known asThe Czech Republic).• In 1945 he entered the CarnegieInstitute of Technology (nowCarnegie Mellon University)where he majored in pictorialdesign.• Upon graduation, Warholmoved to New York where hefound steady work as acommercial artist.
• Warhol befriended wealthypatrons who commissioned himto create large-scale portraits ofthem.• The portraits were made bytransferring a photographicimage onto a silk-screen andprinting with ink.• This type of printmaking hadnot traditionally been used byartists before the 1960’s.• Many of Warhol’s iconicimages were of famous actors.• Warhol became famous for thestatement “In the futureeveryone will be world-famousfor 15 minutes.”
“Whats great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buyessentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you knowthat the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink CocaCola, too. A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum onthe corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, thePresident knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”– The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: (From A to B and Back Again), 1975,• Warhol took banal imagesfrom everyday life andelevated them to the “iconic”• With his background inadvertising he was able to“ sell” his new conceptsand challenged artisticconventions about whatcould be considered aworthy subject forartmaking.
POSTMODERNISM AND THE ICON• Postmodern: Artist• Artists question mainstream values and beliefs. They parody or challengeartistic conventions. They question originality• Postmodern: Artwork• Postmodern artworks are unconventional; they up-end their relationship withaudiences. They recontextualise previous ‘texts’ and narratives. They questionnotions of originality and the masterpiece.• Postmodern:• The postmodern world is a clash of viewpoints, that challenge authoritariannotions. It is an eclectic world that parodies and satirises conventional ideas. Itis a world of the simulacrum• Postmodern• Audiences are agencies who question the power figures in the artworld. Theyaccept multiviewpoints and reject traditional artistic wisdom
• Discussion Questions:• Compare and contrast the formal aspects of the portraits(e.g., Warhol’s use of colour and shape, each artworksoverall balance and unity, and the sitters’ poses)• Andy Warhol not only made portraits from photographs heshot himself, but also from images he appropriated frommass media. What portraits do you see all the time on thetelevision and in magazines and newspapers?• What effect does this repetition have on culture?• Are there different types of fame? Which type is mostvaluable?• If you could make a portrait of anyone in the world, whowould it be? Why?source:http://edu.warhol.org/aract_icons.html
Websites for further research• Warhol Foundation in New York, New York.• The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania• Warhol Family Museum in Medzilaborce, Slovakia• Two short articles about Warhols 2002 museumretrospective from the art magazine "X-TRA"• Andy Warhol at Gagosian Gallery• Time Capsules: the Andy Warhol collection• Andy Warhol at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Postmodernism - Appropriationof the iconic “Mona Lisa”
High Brow vs. Low Brow• One lasting device ofpostmodernism is toappropriate or modifyan already famousimage or icon.• Added to this are theelements of high-browvs. low-brow. Whichbrings a clash ofcultures, sensibilitiesand aesthetics.
Yasumasa Morimura An example of an artist who worksfrom the Postmodern Frame. He appropriates and parodiesthe conventions of Western art history
LINK TO “ICON”HOMEWORKACTIVITY• CriticalAnalysis.doc
Essay Questions• Please choose one essay topic, using the relevant supporting document to plan youressay.• Frames (25 marks)• Evaluate the ways different artists represent ideas and interests in the world through thedevelopment of a visual language.• Conceptual Framework (25 marks)• ‘Museums exist in order to acquire, safeguard, conserve and display objects, artefactsand works of art of various kinds.’ Peter Vergo,art writer and curator)Critically assess this statement with reference to role(s) that galleries and/or museumsand/or collections play in the artworld.• Practice (25 marks)• Evaluate the use of different materials and techniques in the development of an artist’sbody of work.• *All questions sourced from the NSW Board of Studies HSC examinations.