Week 3 Lecture, 20th Century


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Week 3 Lecture, 20th Century

  1. 1. History of 20 th Century Art Week 3 1911-1919
  2. 2. 1911 – Cubism: Closing the Curtain on the Window to the World <ul><li>In the late 19 th century, artists (Cezanne et al) begin to dismantle illusionistic space </li></ul><ul><li>Cezanne’s interest in the geometric foundations of forms will influence Cubism </li></ul><ul><li>Picasso & Braque begin to experiment with this in 1911 </li></ul>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
  3. 3. The Process of Looking: Kahnweiler’s Account <ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>Heighten the continuity of the canvas plane </li></ul><ul><li>Banished color so that they could emphasize shading (gray or tonal scale) </li></ul><ul><li>This created the lowest possible relief to heighten the recognition of depicted volume on a flat surface </li></ul><ul><li>To reduce painting to its essential elements—“autonomy and logic of the picture object” </li></ul><ul><li>Looking from multiple perspectives (composite) vs. one single (fixed) perspective </li></ul>Pablo Picasso, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler , 1910
  4. 4. Georges Braque <ul><li>Possibly originated from Braque’s memories of a Portuguese musician from Marseilles </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced color palette- ochers and umbers, silver, copper </li></ul><ul><li>Shallow planes set parallel to the picture surface (“as though a roller had pressed out the volume of the bodies” – Art Since 1900 ) </li></ul><ul><li>No consistent light source </li></ul><ul><li>Slight modeling through tints & shadows </li></ul><ul><li>Shapes also indicated by edges of form </li></ul><ul><li>As seen from multiple perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of text emphasizes flattened space (recalls posters hanging in dance halls & cafes) </li></ul>Georges Braque, The Portuguese , 1911
  5. 5. Pictures as Puzzles <ul><li>Synthetic Cubism </li></ul><ul><li>First introduced by Braque (using same material, oilcloth) </li></ul><ul><li>Addition of actual collaged objects (rope & oilcloth) achieves total flattening of space </li></ul><ul><li>Some recognizable objects (knife, lemon, napkin, glass, pipe) </li></ul><ul><li>“ JOU” refers either to the French word for game or newspaper (“journal”) </li></ul><ul><li>Chair caning indicates glass tabletop (as if looking through) </li></ul><ul><li>Shape of canvas reinforces tabletop shape (and resembles ship’s port hole) </li></ul><ul><li>Tension between suggested depth (tactile) and flatness (visual) </li></ul><ul><li>Overturns (or makes transparent?) </li></ul><ul><li>traditional still life painting </li></ul>Picasso, Still Life with Chair Caning, 1912 Chardin Still Life with Pipe and Jug 1737
  6. 6. 1912 – Cubist collage invented <ul><li>Amidst interaction among different artistic processes, rise of pop culture and social unrest </li></ul><ul><li>A visual play of figure-ground reversal </li></ul><ul><li>A break with the iconic system of representation </li></ul><ul><li>Uses arbitrary “symbolic” so that images depicted don’t necessarily look like their objects </li></ul><ul><li>Corresponding newspaper clippings used to suggest two very different figurative elements (wood grain of violin & airy background) </li></ul><ul><li>What was once definite, fixed knowledge has become entirely arbitrary—“a revolution in </li></ul><ul><li>Western representation” </li></ul>vs. DOG Icon Symbol Picasso, Violin , 1912, drawing/collage
  7. 7. Two Interpretive Approaches to Picasso’s Collages <ul><li>High Meets Low Art </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection of the intersection of elite and mass cultural practices </li></ul><ul><li>Introduces mass-produced, ephemeral materials (newspaper, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Blurs line between “fine art” and other artistic practices </li></ul><ul><li>Set in working class café where poor would read news they can’t afford to buy </li></ul>Picasso, Glass and Bottle of Suze , 1912 <ul><li>As Political Statement </li></ul><ul><li>Newspaper clippings refer to Balkan War 1912 </li></ul><ul><li>On right are battlefield reports, on left, accounts of an antiwar protest in Paris </li></ul><ul><li>Represents aftermath of a discussion about the war among workers? </li></ul><ul><li>Fragmented form of collage suggests dismantled ideologies </li></ul>
  8. 8. 1914 – The Lessons of Cubism: Tatlin & Duchamp Find the Found Object <ul><li>Tatlin’s Constructions & Duchamp’s Readymades transform Cubist collage </li></ul><ul><li>Both anticipate a new world of mass-produced commodities made possible by industrialization </li></ul><ul><li>Tatlin involved in Cubo-Futurist avant-garde; went to Paris in 1914, saw Picasso’s constructions, and begins to make his own </li></ul><ul><li>Tatlin’s work departs from Duchamp in his interest in “truth to materials,” which will become Russian Constructivism </li></ul>Vladimir Tatlin Selection of Materials: Iron Stucco, Glass, Asphalt 1914 Man Ray Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Selavy 1920-21 Rrose Selavy Precision Oculist
  9. 9. Marcel Duchamp <ul><li>Prankster, provocateur, the consummate iconoclast </li></ul><ul><li>Dabbled in various styles (Cubo-Futurism) </li></ul><ul><li>Grew tired of “retinal art” because it privileged sight over mind </li></ul><ul><li>Disliked standards of artistic taste & bourgeois control of the arts </li></ul><ul><li>Work became series of questions about the nature of art, a “self-critique” or intellectual game </li></ul>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
  10. 10. Art After Painting? <ul><li>For Duchamp, painting had become inadequate and boring </li></ul><ul><li>A newly industrialized world demanded a new art </li></ul><ul><li>Art & utility/usefulness </li></ul><ul><li>Also intrigued by indifference in art </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired by Picabia, Roussel and their interest in art as form of negation and word play </li></ul><ul><li>Q: How does an artist represent this new culture of commodities in his/her work? </li></ul>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
  11. 11. The Readymade : appropriated product positioned as art….”He CHOSE it!” <ul><li>“ Can one make works that are not works of art ?” - Duchamp </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional Art </li></ul><ul><li>Materials (painting, bronze/marble sculpture) </li></ul><ul><li>Made by single artist, attributed to that artist, expressive of that artist’s style & ideas (subjective) </li></ul><ul><li>One-of-a-kind </li></ul><ul><li>Non-utilitarian (not useful) </li></ul><ul><li>Decorative or of aesthetic value </li></ul><ul><li>Readymade </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial materials </li></ul><ul><li>Anonymous creator (objective) </li></ul><ul><li>Mass-produced </li></ul><ul><li>Utilitarian or useful </li></ul><ul><li>(once was) </li></ul><ul><li>Expressive of artist’s indifference (no aesthetic value?) </li></ul>Thomas Struth, Art Institue of Chicago, IL, Chicago , 1990 Duchamp, Fountain 1917 readymade (porcelain)
  12. 12. 1915 - Kazimir Malevich shows his Suprematist canvases at the “0.10” exhibition in Petrograd <ul><li>Malevich aligned with formalist writers and poets in Moscow </li></ul><ul><li>Structuralist language experiments (“made strange” through nonsense words and neologisms) influenced his imagery </li></ul><ul><li>Experimented with various styles, particularly Synthetic Cubism </li></ul><ul><li>This first exhibition of Suprematist works sought the “zero of painting” or the core of the pictorial </li></ul><ul><li>Flat & delimited/deducted </li></ul><ul><li>Not purely geometric (skewed) </li></ul><ul><li>Bright color differs from Cubism </li></ul>Kazimir Malevich, “0.10” Exhibition, Petrograd, 1915 Malevich, Red Square (Painterly Realism of a Peasant Woman in Two Dimensions ) 1915 ground figure
  13. 13. The “Zero of Painting” <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Zero” of painting becomes almost nonexistent in the white on white paintings, some of which were hung on ceilings </li></ul><ul><li>Co-founder of school where he develops architectural ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Returns to figurative painting in 1930s. Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of persecution; avant-garde too radical & anarchist </li></ul>http://vimeo.com/6789494 Art by Yasmina Reza, Open Door Repertory Co. Malevich, Suprematist Painting (White on White), 1918 Malevich Self-Portrait 1933
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. 1916 – “A Farce of Nothingness”: Dada in Zurich <ul><li>In response to WWI (Switzerland was neutral, a refuge for anti-war artists and bohemians) </li></ul><ul><li>International movement (Zurich, NYC, Paris, Berlin) in keeping with anti-nationalist spirit </li></ul><ul><li>No set practice or leader </li></ul><ul><li>Shared love of play, chance, absurdity, farce & radical experimentation </li></ul><ul><li>Involved in poetry, performance & ephemeral art making (many Dada works no longer exist) </li></ul><ul><li>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.” </li></ul>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
  17. 17. Cabaret Voltaire <ul><li>Named for the 18th century French satirist, Voltaire, who wrote Candide </li></ul><ul><li>Meant to be a “vaudevillian mockery of ‘the ideals of culture and of art’” </li></ul><ul><li>In performances, spoke in different languages, chanted, made noise with typewriters, drums, laughing, dancing, hiccupping </li></ul><ul><li>Ball gave the last performance dressed up as a “bishop” (in cardboard outfit, colored in blue, scarlet and white) and performed Karawane </li></ul><ul><li>Ball believed Janco’s masks referred to ancient Greek and Japanese theater, they </li></ul><ul><li>demanded a “tragic-absurd </li></ul><ul><li>dance” </li></ul>http:// www.ubu.com/sound/ball.html Hugo Ball, “Magical Bishop” costume Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, 1916
  18. 18. 1916 – American avant-garde photo receives an advocate in Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>Also exhibited works by members of his Photo-Secessionist group (founded 1902) </li></ul><ul><li>First championed Pictorialist photography </li></ul><ul><li>When introduced to Strand’s work, he gave him exhibition at 291 and featured him in Camera Work </li></ul>Francis Picabia, C’est ici Stieglitz , 1915, illustration Paul Strand, Abstractions, Porch Shadows Connecticut , 1917 <ul><li>Began to favor more truthful & direct photographic aesthetic as seen in Strand’s cropped abstractions </li></ul><ul><li>“ Straight Photography” </li></ul><ul><li>and modernist art share </li></ul><ul><li>aesthetic concerns </li></ul>
  19. 19. Pictorialist vs. Straight Photo <ul><li>Pictorialism </li></ul><ul><li>Early photographic movement </li></ul><ul><li>Imitated painting (as valid art form) </li></ul><ul><li>Often staged or manipulated </li></ul><ul><li>Used tricks like soft focus, greased lens, </li></ul><ul><li>drawing on negative, etc… </li></ul>Henry Peach Robinson, Fading Away , 1858, Albumen print <ul><li>Straight Photo </li></ul><ul><li>Even present in this early work by Stieglitz </li></ul><ul><li>Image has clarity, lacks melodrama </li></ul><ul><li>Light through window mimics photographic process </li></ul><ul><li>Three of same photo suggest mechanical reproduction & serial image </li></ul>Alfred Stieglitz, Sun’s Rays – Paula, Berlin , 1889
  20. 20. From the Window to the Frame Albrecht Durer, from Four Books on Human Proportions , 1528 Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 10 , 1939
  21. 21. 1917 – Mondrian discovers abstraction & DeStijl <ul><li>Moves to Paris in 1912 to study Cubism </li></ul><ul><li>Extended the Cubist grid to pure abstraction </li></ul><ul><li>Considered the abstract form symbolic of spiritual transcendence </li></ul><ul><li>Distilled recognizable forms to intersecting vertical & horizontal lines (as “immutable” truths) </li></ul><ul><li>The grid destroys hierarchy in the image (order of importance) </li></ul><ul><li>A tension/dialectic of opposites in horizontals and verticals </li></ul><ul><li>This work still doesn’t fulfill his aims because it still upholds the traditional figure-ground composition </li></ul>Piet Mondrian, Grey Tree , 1911, oil Mondrian, Composition in Line , 1917, oil
  22. 22. Neoplasticism <ul><li>Represents his mature style, Neoplasticism </li></ul><ul><li>How does he resolve the figure-ground problem? </li></ul><ul><li>Superimposed planes were eliminated (crossed lines) </li></ul><ul><li>Space divided into various rectangles, some different shades of white, some in color </li></ul><ul><li>The modular grid was developed & determined by the canvas proportions (allover composition) </li></ul><ul><li>Primary colors added to grid </li></ul><ul><li>Non-hierarchical </li></ul>Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Red, Black Blue and Grey , 1920, oil
  23. 23. DeStijl <ul><li>The DeStijl publication had been founded in 1917 by painters and poets sympathetic to Mondrian’s ideas (including Theo van Doesburg) </li></ul>DeStijl album cover, The White Stripes, 2000 Spatial Color Composition for an Exhibition, Berlin , 1923, DeStijl <ul><li>Interested in the application of Neoplasticism to utopian living spaces </li></ul><ul><li>To reduce architecture to its most basic forms </li></ul><ul><li>Likened to painting because of planar units in each </li></ul>