Showing posts with label Dada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dada. Show all posts

Art Movements

This glossary of different art movements will help you define unfamiliar art terms whether you're a student, parent, teacher, or just a curious reader!
Abstract Expressionism
American art movement of the 1940s that emphasized form and color within a nonrepresentational framework. Jackson Pollock initiated the revolutionary technique of splattering the paint directly on canvas to achieve the subconscious interpretation of the artist's inner vision of reality.
Art Deco
A 1920s style characterized by setbacks, zigzag forms, and the use of chrome and plastic ornamentation. New York's Chrysler Building is an architectural example of the style.
Art Nouveau
An 1890s style in architecture, graphic arts, and interior decoration characterized by writhing forms, curving lines, and asymmetrical organization. Some critics regard the style as the first stage of modern architecture.
Ashcan School
A group of New York realist artists at the beginning of the twentieth century who rejected the formal subject matter of the academy and focused on gritty urban scenes and ordinary, even ugly, aspects of life.
Assemblage (Collage)
Forms of modern sculpture and painting utilizing readymades, found objects, and pasted fragments to form an abstract composition. Louise Nevelson's boxlike enclosures, each with its own composition of assembled objects, illustrate the style in sculpture. Pablo Picasso developed the technique of cutting and pasting natural or manufactured materials to a painted or unpainted surface.
Barbizon School (Landscape Painting)
A group of 19th-century French painters who rejected idealized landscape painting and sought a more informal, realistic portrayal of nature. They were heavily influenced by 17th-century Dutch genre painting. Theodore Rousseau, one of the principal figures of the group, was a proponent of outdoor painting, based on direct observation of one's surroundings.
Baroque
European art and architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries. Giovanni Bernini, a major exponent of the style, believed in the union of the arts of architecture, painting, and sculpture to overwhelm the spectator with ornate and highly dramatized themes. Although the style originated in Rome as the instrument of the Church, it spread throughout Europe in such monumental creations as the Palace of Versailles.
Beaux Arts
Elaborate and formal architectural style characterized by symmetry and an abundance of sculptured ornamentation. New York's old Custom House at Bowling Green is an example of the style.
Black or African-American Art
The work of American artists of African descent produced in various styles characterized by a mood of protest and a search for identity and historical roots.
Classicism
A form of art derived from the study of Greek and Roman styles characterized by harmony, balance, and serenity. In contrast, the Romantic Movement gave free rein to the artist's imagination and to the love of the exotic.
Constructivism
A form of sculpture using wood, metal, glass, and modern industrial materials expressing the technological society. The mobiles of Alexander Calder are examples of the movement.
Cubism
Early 20th-century French movement marked by a revolutionary departure from representational art. Pablo Picasso and Georges Bracque penetrated the surface of objects, stressing basic abstract geometric forms that presented the object from many angles simultaneously.
Dada
A product of the turbulent and cynical post-World War I period, this anti-art movement extolled the irrational, the absurd, the nihilistic, and the nonsensical. The reproduction of Mona Lisa adorned with a mustache is a famous example. The movement is regarded as a precursor of Surrealism. Some critics regard HAPPENINGS as a recent development of Dada. This movement incorporates environment and spectators as active and important ingredients in the production of random events.
Expressionism
A 20th-century European art movement that stresses the expression of emotion and the inner vision of the artist rather than the exact representation of nature. Distorted lines and shapes and exaggerated colors are used for emotional impact. Vincent Van Gogh is regarded as the precursor of this movement.
Fauvism
The name “wild beasts” was given to the group of early 20th-century French painters because their work was characterized by distortion and violent colors. Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault were leaders of this group.
Futurism
This early 20th-century movement originating in Italy glorified the machine age and attempted to represent machines and figures in motion. The aesthetics of Futurism affirmed the beauty of technological society.
Genre
This French word meaning “type” now refers to paintings that depict scenes of everyday life without any attempt at idealization. Genre paintings can be found in all ages, but the Dutch productions of peasant and tavern scenes are typical.
GothicThe Gothic period was tremendously culturally productive, in painting, sculpture, architecture and illuminated manuscripts.  These art-works are complex, fraught with religious fervor and symbolism. Biblical stories were told and retold continuously--painted, sermonized, allegorized, embellished, creating a convincing and mysterious belief system.
Impressionism
Late 19th-century French school dedicated to defining transitory visual impressions painted directly from nature, with light and color of primary importance. If the atmosphere changed, a totally different picture would emerge. It was not the object or event that counted but the visual impression as caught at a certain time of day under a certain light. Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro were leaders of the movement.
Mannerism
A mid-16th-century movement, Italian in origin, although El Greco was a major practitioner of the style. The human figure, distorted and elongated, was the most frequent subject.
Neo-classicism
An 18th-century reaction to the excesses of Baroque and Rococo, this European art movement tried to recreate the art of Greece and Rome by imitating the ancient classics both in style and subject matter.
Neo-impressionism
A school of painting associated with George Seurat and his followers in late 19th-century France that sought to make Impressionism more precise and formal. They employed a technique of juxtaposing dots of primary colors to achieve brighter secondary colors, with the mixture left to the eye to complete (pointillism).
Op Art
The 1960s movement known as Optical Painting is characterized by geometrical forms that create an optical illusion in which the eye is required to blend the colors at a certain distance.
Pop Art
In this return to representational art, the artist returns to the world of tangible objects in a reaction against abstraction. Materials are drawn from the everyday world of popular culture—comic strips, canned goods, and science fiction.
Realism
A development in mid-19th-century France lead by Gustave Courbet. Its aim was to depict the customs, ideas, and appearances of the time using scenes from everyday life.
Rococo
A French style of interior decoration developed during the reign of Louis XV consisting mainly of asymmetrical arrangements of curves in paneling, porcelain, and gold and silver objects. The characteristics of ornate curves, prettiness, and gaiety can also be found in the painting and sculpture of the period.
Surrealism
A further development of Collage, Cubism, and Dada, this 20th-century movement stresses the weird, the fantastic, and the dreamworld of the subconscious.
Symbolism
As part of a general European movement in the latter part of the 19th century, it was closely allied with Symbolism in literature. It marked a turning away from painting by observation to transforming fact into a symbol of inner experience. Gauguin was an early practitioner.

Joan Miró


The symbolic vocabulary of color has many different languages. These languages allow the voyeur to understand their experience of art and the world within a variety of contexts. Color is a vocabulary of communication as well as a process of creating. It can be understood through techniques of degree, but also articulated as modes of emotion in the lexicon of psychology. The relationship between color and symbol is particularly strong in the work of Joan Miró.

The question of how to interpret art, literature, music, politics, and basically everything is one that has been postulated, revised, and argued for millennia. Strategies focusing on form, content, source, and context are all relevant and successful methods for extrapolating meaning from experience and creation. There is interpretation that happens on a personal level and works within the context of an individual’s unique world of perspective, and then there is interpretation that is formulated in an aesthetic vocabulary that interacts with critical conversations taking place within a larger community. Though different in their origin, both personal and critical processes begin from a point of engaged response. The piece of art must create a unique experience. How this experience is interpreted within a given context becomes the grand debate.

The discussion of art on a personal level is directly connected to the therapeutic arts and may often be a guided strategy. The inner world of the individual is projected onto an external object to reveal metaphors that are challenging the development or health of the psyche. Once externalized the collective symbology of the art may be researched, concretizing internal abstract concepts into a visual vocabulary. While this description is brief and reductionary, the process is intended to be organic and address both personal experiences and archetypal dynamics. Symbols contain both personal and collective meaning, or relevance.

In contrast, a critical or aesthetic discussion of art focuses on an understanding of that those participating in the conversation have an understanding of what has been said in the past, how it has been said, and why it was or is no longer relevant. Critical interpretation accesses jargon specific to the medium, within the realms of both technique and content. Symbolism that is found in archetypes, geometry, color, and numerology all play a role within formal interpretations. In his book, Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary, Terry Bennett summarizes the principles of interpretation. These principles our listed below, however central to the action of interpretation is that the piece of art demands an interpretation and that feelings are the guide. Whether the feelings are understood as a collective or personal analytical process depends on the forum.

This relationship between feeling, interpretation, and symbolism is particularly visible in the art of Catalan artist Joan Miró. Born in 1893 Barcelona, Miró was a part of the surrealist and Spanish Civil War Parisian ex-patriot communities. However, while his work has often been interpreted as Surrealism, he resisted being defined as a Surrealist artist. His objective was to “assassinate art” or to break from the historical interpretation of what art is, or should be. Being labeled as a Surrealist would work would limit his ability to explore new territory, methods, and forms of expression.

While Miró resists categorical interpretation, throughout his work he asks questions. These questions take the form of color and technique and meditate on what the symbol has to say within a set amount of space. Specifically, Miró worked with strategies such as automatic drawing (where the hand is allowed to move freely as an extension of the unconscious), Surrealism (which philosophically strove to reveal authentic thought through juxtaposing unexpected symbols and forms), Expressionism (which applies emotional subjectivity to evoke moods or ideas), and Color Field Painting (that meditated on combinations, and or fields of color symbology). While each of these methods is accompanied and motivated by methods of critical thought, Miró’s resistance to one mode of exposition is consistent.

Which leads us to ask, just how does Miró want his body of art to be understood?

If we take away interpretation, what is left? Experience. What is the experience of viewing Miró’s art? Does this experience change? How can this experience remain active? How does one assassinate this historical concept of art? By striving to avoid classification, and by engaging the imagination.

For example, what is the experience of viewing his 1978 painting “Personnage Etoile”? In English the title is translated as Star Person, or Star Character. On an abstract textured field of bright sky blue, minimalistic symbols work together and disjointedly to engage the imagination. Circle, star, curve, red, yellow, what is the message? Is the blue the color of the Madonna? Does it relate to Haitian Santeria, or is it inspired by the expansive Mediterranean beyond the walls of Miró’s studio? In his theory of Deconstruction, Derrida argues that the experience of deconstruction is as if, while following the inward curve of a fixed point toward a center, we suddenly find that the center has moved elsewhere. The spiral is destabilized and the interpretation is disoriented. Likewise, the experience of Miró’s “Personnage Etoile” provides just enough information to stimulate the process of interpretation, but the same stimulation resists conclusions and continues to evoke questions.

Through the interpretive resistance of Miró’s artwork we are better able to witness our own processes of interpretation for what they are, reflections and projections of who we are—internally and as a community. And what we find is that who we are is just as unresolved as the image that we meditate upon.