Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pablo Picasso Pissing on the Past

When Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain on October 25th in 1881, it would not have been guessed that he was going to later on become one of the greatest and one of the most influential artists of the 20th century (Pablo). Picasso, along with Georges Braque after they met in 1907, were the founders of the new movement called Cubism (Cubism).

This new movement arose out of the desire to represent and define the new modern reality that was surrounding the world during that time as well as a a reaction against the traditional ways of representing light and color (Cubism).  In the textbook Megg's History of Graphic Design, it is said in the description of figure 13-1 of Picasso's Nude c. 1906-7 that "the seeds of cubism are contained in the fragmentation of the figure and background spaces into abstracted geometrical planes.

Marten Jansen states in his column titled "Pablo Picasso Cubism" that it is important to fully realize how important cubism is and that it is significant to note that cubism is not just the "style" of Pablo Picasso but it is the mark of the real beginning of abstract art which was a new wave of thinking and a new way of looking at art.

I would like to reflect on the fact that cubism "began a new artistic tradition and way of seeing that challenged the four-hundred-year Renaissance tradition of pictorial art" (Megg). The way that I interpret that statement made on page 256 of my textbook for this class Picasso and Braque essentially just broke all of the rules that were set forth for them prior to the beginning of their movement, and that they decided to make new rules for themselves and every artist after them.

Another statement from the textbook that I would like to reflect upon this week is one of the statements made on page 257 of Megg's History of Graphic Design.  The statement is "Cubism has a strong relationship with the process of human vision. Our eyes shift and scan a subject: our minds combine these fragments into a whole." This can be connected to my interpretation of the definition of cubism changing and challenging the way art was viewed for hundreds of years due to the idea that now instead of the entirety of a subject being present in a work, now only fragments appear. The human mind is an incredible thing and it is capable of filling in the absent lines to complete the subject. This new way of thinking about art challenged the past due to the idea that now the viewer's mind has to work a bit more to really see what is being presented to them.

Examples of works where the viewer's mind has to be put to work:

Nude, c 1906-07 Pablo Picasso

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907, Pablo Picasso

The Dream, 1931, Pablo Picasso.

It was a way of, for lack of a better term, pissing on the past of what used to be accepted as art. Picasso forced the viewer's mind to find lines where there were not any, in his new movement of cubism. It is important to realize how incredible the human mind is, and Picasso's work during his cubist movement exemplifies this concept.

Works Cited:

Megg, Philip B. Megg's History of Graphic Design. 5th ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012. Print.

Cubism: A New Vision." Web. 2 Feb 2014.

"Pablo Picasso. Biography" Web. 23 Feb 2014.

Jansen, Marten. "Pablo Picasso Cubism." Web. 23 Feb 2014.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Arts and Crafts Movement: A Chain Reaction?

During the Victorian Era, the Arts and Crafts Movement came about that challenged the tastes of the time (Arts). This movement was said to have been inspired by philosophic thinkers such as Walter Crane and John Ruskin (Jirousek). It is also said that this movement was inspired by the ideals of the designer and reformer William Morris, who was said to be a pivotal figure in the history of design as a whole (Meggs). Although this information seems all fine and dandy, I would like to reflect upon the concept of where these art movements come from...

The Arts and Crafts Movement was said to be the “new appreciation of the decorative arts throughout Europe” as well as a rebellion against the Victorian sensibilities (Arts).

 It was said to be a reaction to the poor aesthetic quality of the new machine made wares. This movement is not the only art movement that is said to have come about due to an outside force. Art Nouveau was a direct byproduct of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Dadaism was a reaction to the horrors of World War I, so the “non-artists” chose to combat these troubles with lunacy (Esaak). Impressionism was a reaction and rebellion against the rules of academic painting (Samu). Cubism was a reaction against the traditional ways of representing light and color (Cubism)... I could go on all day.

The aspect of this topic that I would like to reflect on is that of how each new wave of art seems to be defined as a reaction to something, but is it possible to define an art movement as it’s own entity? Is it possible to not compare and contrast when searching for a definition and for a new art movement to come about solely from itself, and not as a reaction to something? Is everything in life simply a reaction to something else?

I think that with every choice and event that takes place throughout life, it is completely feasible that since birth, everything that one does is a reaction to what had just happened. This concept can be applied to art movements due to their lifelike quality. They have a birth, they have a hay day and they have an end... but once they end people do not stop talking about and practicing what they preached. But I do believe that everything in these art movements, as well as life are direct reactions to everything, and that an art movement cannot exist within itself,  but only exist through the contrast of what is going on around it. 

The Arts and Crafts Movement, that we learned about this week in class is a reaction to the lame aesthetic of the new factory made goods. I do not believe that it would be as powerful of a movement if it was not said to be a reaction to something, I think that if it stood alone, without contrast, it would not be as strong as a movement.

Now I am not going to pretend that I have the correct answers to these questions, or even that there are right answers to them, but I would like to open them up to discussion during the comment session of this assignment. Let me know what you think!

Works Cited:

Megg, Philip B. Megg's History of Graphic Design. 5th ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012. Print.

Jirousek, Charlotte. "Art Design and Visual Thinking." 1995. Web. 2 Feb 2014.

"Arts and Crafts Movement."  Web. 2 Feb 2014.

Samu, Margaret. "Impressionism: Art and Modernity." October 2004. Web. 2 Feb 2014.

Esaak, Shelley. "What is Dada?" Web. 2 Feb 2014.

"Cubism: A New Vision." Web. 2 Feb 2014.