Sunday, December 5, 2010

3D December 3, 2010 Lecture and Reading

Abstract Expressionism - 1950s - 1980s.  WWII changed everything, America became superpower and the center of the art world moved from Paris to New York.  Menil's began collecting contemporary art in Paris and later made shift to New York.   The most significant change was the enormity of scale and museums had to accommodate this change.  Before AE, art was about thinking, now about being.

  • Jackson Pollock - # 8, 1948. Played to his celebrity, called "The Dripper" by Life Magazine.  The epitome of what is hard to understand about American modern art painting.  Very improvisational, happen stance in technique.  The most significant aspect of Pollock's painting was the scale.  Hans Hoffman asked Pollock if he was painting nature.  He replied he was nature.
  • Franz Kline - Mahoney, 1956. Not as far out as Pollock.  It took forty years for his art to get to a  postage stamp.
  • Willem De Kooning - Women I, 1950s. Unflattering view of women.  More about the way it was painted not what it is a picture of.
  • Joan Mitchell - 1960. Second generation AE but denied being action painter.  Women had to find a new way of expressing movement to be taken seriously.  Pollock's style was very macho and was off limits to women.  There was a very narrow camp, very doctrinaire, short period, dogmatic.
Reaction to AE
  • Cy Wombly - What came after AE was the reaction to it.  Also painted enormous canvases (Pollock influence) but made small wimpy drawings.   A juvenile reaction to AE.  Turned drawing into painting, which began with Pollock.  Wombly totally opposite Pollock.
  • Brice Marden - Cold Mountain 6, 1981.  Painted with sticks.  The thought in the art world at this time was that painting was dead.  Martin proved wrong.  In the 80s rules were very stringent, now more tolerant.  His paintings proved artists can do anything, even change styles during career.  This was unlike Pollock, who never experimented with anything but drips.  Martin filled space.
Color Field Painting
  • Helen Frankenthaler - 1952.  New York meant large scale, this was the biggest change. Artists were looking for other ways to drip paint.  More feminine in appearance than Pollock.
  • Mark Rothko -  Untitled, 1957.  His paintings are like doors and windows.  More a description of what the weather is like than seeing landscapes or objects.  Painted the black paintings for the Rothko Chapel at the Menil Museum.
  • Louis Morris -  Alpha Phi, 1960. Poured veils of color using acrylic resin on raw canvases.  
After AE - Tom Wolfe's book, The Painted Word, 1974.  Wrote about the art world humorously.  What camp are you in?

Hard Edge, Op, Pop, and all the isms - all happened within a few blocks in Manhattan.  There was competition to make money and achieve fame.
  • Frank Stella - Black Stripes, 19  .  Large scale because in New York.  He was doing everything wrong.  Not about being,  life or intense emotions.  What you see is what you get and nothing more.
  • Ellsworth Kelly, 1963.  Flat, hard edge color field. 
  • Bridget Riley - 1960s Op art.  Nothing to know about this, don't need anything outside of what it looks like, straight forward.  Big Blue, 1981.  Still making art, hasn't changed style. Artists can outlive Art History.  She was written about in the 60s but not written about any more, outlived movement.
  • Mary Hillman - Sunday Morning, 1987.  Small scale
  • John Lasker - 1980s. Very textured painting, like frosting and candy colored.
Pop - The most significant artists are Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp
  • Richard Hamilton - What Makes ... So Appealing? 1956.  A social satire on commercial culture.
  • Andy Warhol - Background in fashion.  Loved fame and money, played to his celebrity.  Made paintings about commercialism, Soup Cans and Brillo Pads.  He brought content back to art, no longer existential.  He blatantly painted portraits of famous people to make money.  His content was about everyday objects.  Took expectations of art and created art where nothing happens.  He was a major influence of this movement.
  • Jasper Johns - Painted numbers
  • Robert Rauschenberg - JFK silkscreen
  • Roy Lichenstein - Appropriated comic strips, very large scale
  • James Rosenquist - Billboard style paintings
  • Robert Indiana - LOVE logo
  • General Idea - retake on Indiana logo, AIDS
Neo Pop
  • Ed Ruscha - Backside of Hollywood, 1977.  Word paintings
  • Keith Haring - Chalk style paintings, filled missing street poster spaces with paintings and graffiti. Early 80s.

The Painted Word, Tom Wolfe, 1975

This is very funny.  Wolfe is making fun of critiques, namely  Harold Rosenberg, Clement Greenberg, and Leo Steinberg and modern art theory.  I love his take on Hilton Kramer's statement, "... to lack a persuasive theory is to lack something crucial...." His response, "Not 'seeing is believing,' you ninny, but 'believing is seeing,'..." is making fun of how art needs to be put in a literary box, which is very limiting, to have meaning or be understood.  Even artists who enjoy art theory may do so because it defines their artistic vision of what is modern.  So there needs to be a theory first or we cannot interpret art appropriately.

Wolfe also goes after the mediocrity of art and the large amounts of money these works demand.  He addresses Photo-Realism specifically and the way it is produced by projecting a photo onto a canvas and painting it in.  Is this really art?  He says what the Photo-Realists have accomplished "... is to drive orthodox critics bananas."  He also makes fun of Kramer for dissing the Metropolitan for putting large print historical notes by their exhibit "The Impressionist Epoch".  Kramer seems to have forgotten that art has no meaning without a persuasive theory.  Wolfe jokes that future artists will have to divulge themselves of everything that does not fit into art theory.  What happened to the idea of art for the sake of art?

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