1001 Lecture 20 rev - ART1001 ART1001...

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Unformatted text preview: ART 1001: ART 1001: Introduction to Fine Arts Professor: Darius A. Spieth Art History Program LSU School of Art Outline Lecture 18 Outline Lecture 18 Italian Futurism Dadaism Marcel Duchamp’s “Readymades” Marxism and Marxism­Leninism The October Revolution in Russia (1917) and the Rise of the Soviet Union Suprematism: Malevich, El Lissitzky Constructivism: Tatlin, Rodchenko Italian Futurism Italian Futurism Movement founded in 1908 by Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (publication of the Futurist Manifesto in Le Figaro, 1909) Cubism + Movement = Futurism Idolatry of the machine: cars, steam locomotives, motorcycles, air planes, etc. Passionate hatred for all things past; call for the destruction of all things of the past Future holds the Utopian promise of solving all present conflicts > goal is to accelerate the flux of time to attain this state of equilibrium Emphasis on courage, audacity, approval of war as the world’s hygiene > approval of Mussolini’s fascist politics in 1920s Italian Futurism Italian Futurism From the Futurist Manifesto (1909): “We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness… Courage audacity and revolt will be essential ingredients of our poetry. We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty; the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned by great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath – a roaring car that seems to run on shrapnel – is more beautiful than the victory of Samothrace. We will glorify war – the world’s only hygiene… We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, Boccioni: Boccioni: The Cubist Influence Umberto Boccioni, Dynamism of a Soccer Player, 1913, oil o/canvas Marinetti was a poet and a writer; execution of artworks left to artists inspired by his ideas Boccioni strongly influenced by Cubism; second influence: Pointillism of Seurat and Signac (associated with radical politics) But whereas Cubism is stable, Futurism is obsessed with movement; takes Cubism’s fragmented facets and aligns them so as to suggest sweeping, energy­filled movements Dynamism of Soccer Player purports to depict a soccer player in full movement Boccioni: Boccioni: The Cubist Influence Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913 (cast 1931), bronze Boccioni not only painter, but also a sculptor By definition sculpture is static; Boccioni infused element of movement Boccioni: Boccioni: The Cubist Influence From Boccioni’s Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture: “The enclosed statue should be abolished, the figure must be opened up and fused in space …We shall have in Futurist composition planes of wood or metal stationary or mechanically mobile” Surrounding space as important as sculptural mass for the object Balla: Balla: Painting Speed Giacomo Balla, Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912, oil o/canvas Another major influence on the art of the Futurists was photography (and related inventions like X­ray photography) With photography it became possible to think of movement as a succession of component movements All movements could be concurrently recorded in terms of transparency and overlap Balla: Balla: Painting Speed Compare the Balla composition with Edweard Muybridge’s photographic motion study of a galloping horse Studies of this sort informed Balla’s Dynamism of a Dog on Leash: close­up view from fashionable boulevard life > a lady is walking her dachshund (“the sports car of the dog world,” R. Hughes) Balla: Balla: Painting Speed Giacomo Balla, Speeding Car, oil o/carton, 1913 Motion studies also of great interest with respect to “speeding machines” By 1913 cars were still marvels of technology Race car drivers: idols for the Futurists; dare­devils in racing machines The faster, the greater the Futurists’ admiration Scene is no longer limited to the picture frame; frame of visual reference is shifting with the moving object Balla: Balla: Painting Speed See the Second Futurist Manifesto by Boccioni: “In painting a person on a balcony, seen from inside the room, we do not limit the scene to what the square frame of the window renders visible; but we try to render the sum total of visual sensations that the person on the balcony has experienced. The sunbathed crowd on the street, the double row of houses that stretch to right and left, the beflowered balconies, etc. This implies a simultaneousness of the environment, and, therefore, the dislocation and dismemberment of objects, the scattering and fusion of detail, freed from accepted logic.” Speeding Car: environment is non­defined, mountain (?) in background shifts with the frame Marxism and Marxism­Leninism Marxism and Marxism­Leninism To understand Russian avant­ garde art of the early 20th century one needs to understand ideas, history, and ideological development of Marxism­ Leninism, including its influence on the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 Founded on the theories developed by Karl Marx (1818­1883), author of the Communist Manifesto Marx was a German political economist, but above all a philosopher and a historian Marxism and Marxism­Leninism Marxism and Marxism­Leninism Marx held a very specific view of history and historical developments History was propelled forward by the battle between the Capitalists (the exploiters) and the Proletarians (the disenfranchised masses without property, the workers) Over the course of history, the gap between those who owned the means of production (the Capitalists) and those who did not (the Proletarians) was constantly widening Marxism and Marxism­Leninism Marxism and Marxism­Leninism At the same time, the exploited Proletarians would experience an ever greater alienation from their work due to the division of labor (mechanical, repetitive tasks would replace craftsmanship in the age of industrial production) Finally, concentration of wealth in the hands of a few Capitalists would become so extreme and the poverty of the Proletariat so miserable that a universal world revolution would take place Marxism and Marxism­Leninism Marxism and Marxism­Leninism After the universal world revolution, a classless society would come to power, instituting the Utopian dictatorship of the Proletariat (Communism) At this moment, history would stop, since mankind had reached its manifest destiny Important “fine print” in the Marxian recipe for history: Marx maintained that the evolution towards the universal world revolution is deterministic, i.e. one cannot change its course (intervene in some way) either to hasten or to avert the world revolution – Lenin ignored this last clause Taking the Lenin out of Taking the Lenin out of Marxism­Leninism Lenin lived during WWI (1914­1918) in Zürich (CH), speculated about what would be best for the poor and hopelessly downtrodden in his Russian homeland or how he could overthrow the Tsarist government (He also enjoyed occasionally non­sense theater performed by Dada artist at the “Café Voltaire” a few steps from his apartment) Taking the Lenin out of Taking the Lenin out of Marxism­Leninism Lenin found a new twist to Marxism Given the abject living conditions of the Russian poor in the cities and the countryside, one could not wait for the revolution to happen by itself One had to hasten the course of history and the revolution in Russian now Birth of Marxism­Leninism Taking the Lenin out of Taking the Lenin out of Marxism­Leninism Lenin’s problem: he was sitting in cozy exile in Switzerland, needed to cross Germany to get to Russia Germany at this time at war with Russia; German government strictly anti­ communist An unlikely deal was reached: Lenin was allowed to cross German territory in a sealed railway coach declared “extraterritorial” Germans anticipated that Lenin would start revolution in Russia, which would cripple Russia’s ability to defend itself > permission was granted Birth of Propaganda Art Birth of Precarious situation in Soviet Union in 1917: people starving in the street, rampant illiteracy, backwardness in industrial revolution Lenin vows make Soviet Union catch up: promote industrialization, literacy But before goal can be reached, masses need to indoctrinated with ideology of Marxism­Leninism Birth of propaganda art > agitprop art (agitation and political propaganda) Birth of Propaganda Art Birth of New task for artists: Design of propaganda trains rolling through Russian countryside, promoting the revolution (for instance) Stage sets, plays, propaganda ships, public displays, posters Need to communicate to the illiterate masses through visual information Suprematism vs. Constructivism Suprematism vs. Constructivism Two movements defined Russian avant­garde art of the early twentieth century; both had their origins in the October Revolution and the rise of propaganda art Suprematism: Differentiates itself from Constructivism by greater emphasis on spiritualism, intellectualism, and the promise of a remote post­revolutionary Utopia (Malevich, Lissitzky) Constructivism: Value of art perceived in terms of how it could practically improve living conditions in a poverty­stricken country; turned against the notion of art itself > bourgeois pre­occupation; should be replaced with engineering and photography During the years after the October revolution, Suprematism and Constructivism vied over the official sanction by the Soviet state Under Stalin (late 1920s) Constructivism will finally won out over Suprematism Malevich: Malevich: Suprematism Kasimir Malevich, Wood Chopper, 1912­1913, oil o/canvas Before Malevich turned to abstract art, he painted figuratively Influence of Cubism and Italian Futurist art: Cubo­ Futurism Iconography: Russian peasant art; tribute to rural life in Russia Malevich would increasingly simplify figures; faces would turn into blank egg shapes, merge into completely abstract settings with architectural overtones Malevich: Malevich: Suprematism Kasimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying, 1915 (dated 1914), oil o/canvas Example of a typical Suprematist painting Malevich arrived at completely abstract art between 1915 and 1918 Became fascinated with squares and rectangles as basic “building blocks” of his compositions In his drawingsfrom the same period, figurative elements sometimes continue to appear: crosses, human figures with empty faces For Malevich, geometric shapes were full of symbolic meaning, expressing optimism about the coming of the new order of modern life, in which art would play a pivotal role (Abstract) art is an expression of the ordering principles of cosmic unity, truth, and knowledge See Malevich’s 1915 manifesto From Cubism to Suprematism: Malevich: Malevich: Suprematism “Cubism, Futurism and Suprematism were not understood. These artists cast aside the robes of the past, came out into modern life, and found new beauty. And I say: That no torture chambers of the academies will withstand the days to come. Forms move and are born, and we are forever making new discoveries. And what we discover must not be concealed. And it is absurd to force our age into the old forms of a bygone age. The void of the past cannot contain the gigantic construction and movement of our life.” Reason for this optimism about the Malevich: Malevich: Suprematism Kasimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition: White on White, c. 1918, oil o/canvas Most reductive painting yet in the series In the quest for a spiritualist world order, the subject of art itself seems to dissolve Malevich’s misfortune: in 1926 he traveled to Germany to oversee book publication project; returns to Stalinist Russia, is arrested, later released because of his poor health; died in abject poverty in 1935; paintings worth millions today Lissitzky: Lissitzky: Suprematism El Lissitzky, Proun P 23, no. 6, 1919, oil o/canvas Suprematist artist and a polymath with many talents: painter, sculptor, typographer, illustrator, monteur, all­ purpose designer Studied engineering in Darmstadt (Germany) between 1909 and 1914; became in 1918 an instructor at the influential Vkhutemas art school (Higher State Art Training School) in Moscow (Malevich also on faculty) Tatlin: Tatlin: Constructivism Photograph of Vladimir Tatlin with Monument to the Third International, 1919­1920 With Tatlin we leave the dreams and Utopias of Suprematism behind and enter the harsh world of Constructivism Mission of Constructivism: art should solve practical problems; it should serve society at­large Pre­occupation with nature of new materials, media and techniques “Impure” or “proletarian” materials (like steel) serve as metaphors for industrialization and as catalysts of the revolution Faktura=“Speech of Material,” implying an honesty of material determined by its purpose Tatlin: Tatlin: Constructivism Monument to Third International a good example of “Faktura” Strange mixture between oversized sculpture and architecture Never built, but model of the structure raises questions whether it could ever have been realized Model commissioned from Tatlin by Lunacharsky’s People’s Commissariat for Education A slanting steel tower, projected to be 1,300 feet high > would have been the world’s tallest building at the time and the ultimate metaphor for Tatlin: Tatlin: Constructivism Structure would have contained three “chambers” Lowest level: “Legislative Assembly”; turned one degree every day and a full rotation/year Mid­level: Pyramidal “Executive Block”: rotated once a month Above that: Cylindrical Information Center: one full turn per day Crowned by a half­dome Entire structure built of iron and glass; a special “mechanism” would secure the clock work rotations on every level Design was greeted with great enthusiasm; students paraded model in the streets with banners reading “Engineers create new forms” Rodchenko: Rodchenko: Constructivism Alexander Rodchenko, Hanging Spatial Construction No. 8 (Circle in Circle), plywood, 1920­1921 Rodchenko was another Constructivist engineer/object maker who came into his own after the 1917 revolution Fascinated by graphic precision of drawing instruments: all his paintings, drawings and designs for sculptures rendered with rulers, compass and drawing pens Sculptures from Spatial Constructions series are installed as suspended from the ceiling Rodchenko: Rodchenko: Constructivism Rodchenko was fascinated with the concept of space and used his Spatial Constructions to find new definitions for this idea Rodchenko stipulated in his will that museums all over the world were permitted to reconstruct these sculptures and call them originals Rodchenko: Rodchenko: Constructivism Alexander Rodchenko, Hanging Spatial Construction No. 12 (Oval in Oval), plywood, 1920­1921 (reconstruction from 1980s) Almost all the original works from the Spatial Construction series did not survive, but were later reconstructed according to the artist’s drawing Rodchenko: Rodchenko: Constructivism Alexander Rodchenko, Fire­Escape, from the series House on Myasnitskaya, 1925, vintage photograph Rodchenko was also active as a photographer Photography appealed to Constructivist artists: cheap, quick, easily reproducible Rodchenko took thousands of photographs Liked to illustrate the accomplishments of the working classes and the accomplishments of the Soviet state with its architectural monuments Steep angles, dramatic shadows are Rodchenko’s hallmark Rodchenko: Rodchenko: Constructivism Rodchenko commentary on photography: “Tell me frankly what ought to remain of Lenin: an art bronze, etchings, watercolors, his secretary’s diaries, his friends memoirs. – OR: a file of photographs taken from him at work and rest, archives of his books, writing pads, note books, shorthand reports, films, phonographic records? I don’t think there is any choice. Art has no place in modern life… Every cultured modern man must wage war against art as against opium. – Photograph and be photographed.” Dadaism Dadaism The rise of Dada art directly related to the life experience of a generation of artists sent to the trenches to fight WWI Ernest Hemingway called WWI “the most colossal, murderous, mismanaged butchery that has ever taken place on earth” > reality of war was incommunicable to those who did not fight it Generational gap between those who fought the war and those who started it (exaggerated nationalist feelings) Dadaism Dadaism Dadaism started as a reaction against the bourgeois complacency that made WWI possible By attacking the notion of art itself, Dadaist artists intended to attack the bourgeoisie and its value system Movement started in Switzerland (Zürich), moved to Germany, spread to France and U.S. (New York) Meaning of the term Dada deliberately unclear: non­ sense word (?), child word (?), Slavic affirmative “Yes, Yes” Arp: Arp: Beginnings in Switzerland Hans (Jean) Arp, Collage Arranged According to the Law of Chance, 1916­1917, torn and pasted paper Artist from Alsace (Franco­German border region) seeking refuge in Switzerland Frequents Café Voltaire in Zürich: non­ sense theater performances: words drawn out of a hat and strung together (beginnings of “Automatism”), members of audience asked to come to the stage to be insulted, etc. Anti­militarism, pacifism, radical left­wing politics Collages different from Cubist collages in that compositions were arbitrary Related to idea of “automatic writing” => random words strung together in the order that they come to mind Arp: Arp: Beginnings in Switzerland Principal of chance translated into a work of art Let pieces of colored paper rain down on support, glue them where they happened to fall Art according to principles of “continuous contradiction” and “immediate spontaneity” But: Can one change the word with it? Protest the war? Probably not. Höch: Dada in the Weimar Republic Hannah Höch, Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, 1919­1920, Photomontage After the end of WWI, Dada comes to German capital, Berlin Coincident with advent Weimar Republic (1918­1933, from end of Wilhelminian empire to Hitler’s and the NAZI party’s coming to power) after WWI: period of political turmoil, radical politics (extreme left and extreme right), harsher and more radicalized political environment than Zűrich Invention of the use of photocollage as new medium Photos reproduced in newspapers, magazines, brochures, advertisement, etc. cut out and re­ assembled to create an indictment of the capitalist Höch: Dada in the Weimar Republic Artist’s procedure: Ball bearings, cog wheels, etc. symbols for industrialization and the exploitation of the proletariat by the Capitalist system Organic and mechanical subjects are deliberately juxtaposed Höch was the leading Dadaist woman artist of the Weimar Republic Partner in life and in art of Raoul Hausmann, who also worked with photocollages after 1918 Schwitters: Schwitters: Collages and Merz­Pictures Kurt Schwitters, Merz 19, 1920, paper collage Another important German Dadaist artist, working from the Northern German city of Hanover Famous for his collages (this time mostly free of political messages) Schwitters had strong visual interest in objet trouvé (found object) like train tickets, food stamps, address forms, labels on packs of cigarettes, etc. Assembled purely according to visual considerations Schwitters called all his pictures Merzbilder (Merz pictures), appropriating the “merz” from the name of German bank called “Commerz­ und Privatbank” Ironic intent? Criticism of Capitalist system implied? Chance and arbitrariness play more important role compared to Berlin Dadaists Schwitters: Schwitters: Collages and Merz­Pictures Duchamp: Duchamp: Cubist Beginnings Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, oil o/canvas, 1912 Before becoming a Dadaist, Duchamp went through a Cubist phase Nude Descending a Staircase embroiled in scandal from the beginning Shown some years later at the “Armory Show” in New York; Teddy Roosevelt called it an “explosion in a shingle factory” T...
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