Yesterday, I left the trail in the Early 20th Century, a time when art theory became increasingly important and a number of "isms" rapidly increased. First, Futurism, and next Cubism. The geneology of influences that led to Cubism is interesting: Courbet to Cezanne to Picasso and Braque. Although the artists that were associated with Cubism at this time had differing opinions about what it meant, Picasso and Braque were recognized as the leaders. Most of us are very familiar with their work - right, Peggy? Pablo Picasso was the son of an academic painter, and so he learned traditional techniques. When he moved to Paris in 1903, he embraced Expressionism for awhile and then developed a cubist style by 1910. Georges Braque was the son and grandson of a house painter and decorator, and learned the trade. Later, he studied painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and also apprenticed with a decorator to become certified in 1902. Eventually, he fell under the influence of the Fauves and adopted their style. But, this didn't last long and his association with Cezanne, a major influence, led him to cubism around the same time as Picasso.
Eventually, Picasso and Braque began to construct collages using every day objects (Carolyn ... your roots!) Collage opened up a new kind of exchange between art and life by suggesting that art isn't creation from nothing, but rather a form of improvization. This development complicated the previously established division between the "artist" and the "worker." The collage below top is attributed to Picasso, and on the bottom to Braque.
Piet Mondrian, a Dutch Cubist, really pushed the envelope. He moved beyond an art form devoted to objects to one devolted to the relations between objects. Eventually, he explored only the relations between vertical and horizontal. This is a move away from the traditional use of "form." Here's a good example by Mondrian:
Personally, I'm fascinated by Surrealism and have made several attempts to use it. I'm not as successful as Mark, but I'm working on it!
- Neo-Dada- Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns
- Environments - Allan Kaprow's installations and "happenings"
- Pop Art - Claes Oldenberg
- Non-objective, non-representational, non-figurative, non-imagist, non-expressionist, non-subjective - Ad Reinhardt, Frank Stella
- Post-Painterly Abstraction - Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler
- Minimalism - (1960's) Donald Judd, Robert Morris
I'll end this sprint through the 20th Century with Conceptual Art, a child of the 60's. According to Sol Lewitt: the idea or concept is the most important part of the work. Such art is not theoretical or illustrative of theories, it is intuitive. In other words, conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes art.
Conceptual Art is less a movement and more of a fundamental redefinition of art. It had enormous range and moved from the borders of America to Europe and beyond. And, the enormity of this movement reaches beyond my time and words in this blog. At this point in my journey, it's enough to know what it is.
Next time ... Postmodernism. Two miles more to go. Boy, am I tired! Where's my sleeping bag?