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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Art Terms and Lighting

Abstract Expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post World War II art movement. It was the first American movement to achieve worldwide influence, a role formerly filled by Paris.
In the USA, Alfred Barr was the first to use this term in 1929 in relation to works by Wassily Kandinsky.
Technically, an important predecessor is surrealism, Jackson Pollock's dripping paint onto a canvas laid on the floor is a technique that has its roots in the work of Max Ernst. Another important early manifestation of what came to be abstract expressionism is the work of American Northwest artist Mark Tobey, especially his "white writing" canvases, which, though generally not large in scale, anticipate the "all over" look of Pollock's drip paintings.

Color Field Painting

Color Field painting is an abstract style that emerged in the 1950s after Abstract Expressionism and is largely characterized by abstract canvases painted primarily with large areas of solid color. An alternate but less frequently encountered term for this style is chromatic abstraction.
Color Field painting initially referred to a particular type of abstract expressionism, especially the work of Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and Adolph Gottlieb. Art critic Clement Greenberg perceived Color Field painting as related to but different from Action painting. During the early to mid-1960s Color Field painting was the term used to describe artists like Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland, and Helen Frankenthaler, whose works were related to second generation abstract expressionism, and to younger artists like Larry Zox, and Frank Stella.

Hard Edge Abstraction
It encompasses rich solid colors, neatness of surface, and arranged forms all over the canvas. The Hard-edge painting style is related to Geometric abstraction, Post-painterly Abstraction, and Color Field painting. Hard edge is also a simply descriptive term, as applicable to past works as to future artistic production. The term refers to the abrupt transition across "hard edges" from one color area to another color area. Color within "color areas" is generally consistent, that is, homogenous. Hard-edged painting can be both figurative or nonrepresentational.
Some people in the book and not in the book associated with hard-edged painting: (as a side note I got to see some of these works when I went to New York last year!)

Geometric abstraction was used in the earlier work of Josef Albers and Piet Mondrian. Other artists associated with Hard-edge painting include Richard Anuszkiewicz, Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Robert Irwin, David Simpson, Barnett Newman, Myron Stout, Al Held, Ludwig Sander, Burgoyne Diller, Ellsworth Kelly, Alexander Liberman, Gene Davis, Morris Louis, Larry Zox, Brice Marden, Ronald Davis, Ronnie Landfield, Larry Poons, Charles Hinman, Pat Lipsky, Kenneth Noland, Neil Williams, David Novros, Ad Reinhardt, Frank Stella, and Jack Youngerman.

Pop Art
I saw a large exhibit of Pop art four years ago in Des Moines at the Wells Fargo Gallery downtown, and in New York at Moma. It’s interesting upclose, not my favorite style, but certainly tells a story. I also saw some of this art in Aachen, Germany in October. I saw pieces like:

Drowning Girl
Andy Warhol’s Cambel soup montage
Andy Warhol’s Maryln Monroe
Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?
And some anime inspired Japanese pop art

Pop art emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in parallel in the late 1950s in the United States. Alloway was one of the leading critics to defend mass culture and Pop Art as a legitimate art form. Pop art is one of the major art movements of the twentieth century. Characterized by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture, such as advertising and comic books, pop art is widely interpreted as either a reaction to the then-dominant ideas of abstract expressionism or an expansion upon them.

Conceptual Art

My art theory class studied conceptual art extensively. Conceptual art are concepts or ideas that take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions. This method was fundamental to LeWitt's definition of Conceptual art, one of the first to appear in print:

In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. 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 the art. – Sol LeWitt, "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art", Artforum, June 1967.

The French artist Marcel Duchamp paved the way for the conceptualists, providing them with examples of prototypically conceptual works -- the readymades, for instance. The most famous of Duchamp's readymades was Fountain (1917), a standard urinal basin signed by the artist with the pseudonym "R.Mutt", and submitted for inclusion in the annual, un-juried exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York--it was rejected. He signed the work as an alias so that his name would not sway the judges opinion when set next to the many less famous artists his piece was up against.


Related to Abstract expressionism was the emergence of combined manufactured items - with artist materials, moving away from previous conventions of painting and sculpture. This trend in art is exemplified by the work of Robert Rauschenberg, whose "combines" in the 1950s were forerunners of Pop Art and Installation art, and made use of the assemblage of large physical objects, including stuffed animals, birds and commercial photography.


Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features. As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post-World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Prominent artists associated with this movement include Donald Judd, Carl Andre and Richard Serra.

Performance Art

Performance art is art in which the actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time constitute the work. Performance art can be any situation that involves four basic elements: time, space, the performer's body and a relationship between performer and audience. It is opposed to painting or sculpture, for example, where an object constitutes the work. Of course the lines are often blurred. For instance, the work of “Survival Research Laboratories” is considered by most to be "performance art", yet the performers are actually machines.
Although performance art could be said to include relatively mainstream activities such as theater, dance, music, and circus-related things like fire breathing, juggling, and gymnastics, these are normally instead known as the performing arts. Performance art, as the term is usually understood, began to be identified in the 1960s with the work of artists such as Yves Klein, Vito Acconci, Hermann Nitsch, Chris Burd, Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, and Allan Kaprow, who coined the term happenings. In 1970 the British-based pair, Gilbert and George, created the first of their "living sculpture" performances when they painted themselves gold and sang "Underneath The Arches" for extended periods.

Feminist Art

The feminist art movement refers to the efforts and accomplishments of feminists internationally to bring more visibility to women within art history and art practice. The increased prominence of women artists within art history as well as contemporary art practice can be attributed to this movement.
Some of the important names associated with feminist art are Judy Chicago, Suzanne Lacy, Kate Millett, Miriam Schapiro, Arlene Raven, and Eleanor Tufts.


Assemblage is an artistic process in which a three-dimensional artistic composition is made from putting together found objects.
Assemblage is the 3-dimensional cousin of collage. The origin of the word can be traced back to the early 1950s, when Jean Dubuffet created a series of collages of butterfly wings.

Late Modernist (architecture)

Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram’s building, the ultimate monument of high modernism and Philip Johnson’s AT&T building, which declared the advent of postmodernism, this period produced the vast majority of the modern architecture that surrounds us.

“Viet Nam Veterans Memorial”

Mia Lynn produced this masterpiece as a grad student for a contest. She is now a world celebrated artist and designer. I have seen many of her famous works in person, and some of her work that is not so well known such as the interior and outer paint schemes of the Des Moines Thomson Engineering Golf Stream X. She designed the memorial in a minimalist fashion so that those who came to visit the art work would walk in and out of it just as the work goes in and out of the ground. The reflective marble makes the viewer see themselves, like a dark mirror pale against the hard surface with the facts of lost lives thrust before them. The piece was originally loved and hated by many. She was criticized for designing it, because of her ethnicity while others cried out for more visual pieces to be added to the memorial so people would notice the piece. She disagreed and fought with the idea of additions to her work. Finally a flag was moved around the area and three small statues. Now it is one of the most celebrated American memorials for the way the piece touches people’s hearts and all five senses.

“Spiral Jetty”

The Spiral Jetty, considered to be the central work of American earthwork sculptor Robert Smithson. It was built of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks, earth, and water on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah, when the lake was unusually low because of drought, it forms a 1500-foot long and 15-foot wide counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake. Due to a recent drought, the jetty re-emerged in 1999 and is now completely exposed.
“Running Fence”
Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Running Fence traversed Sonoma and Marin Counties in California. Inspired in part by fencing that separate the continental divide in Colorado, the fence was 18 feet high and followed a 24 1/2-mile-long-serpentine path through hilly pasturelands into Bodega Bay.
First conceived in 1972, Running Fence took more than four years to realize. For the installation, the artists obtained permission for land use from the counties and fifty-nine ranching families; they also filed an Environmental Impact Report as stipulated by the Coastal Commission. In April 1976, construction finally began. In early September, the artists working with nearly 400 people installed the nylon fabric panels. This brilliant white fence threaded through the landscape like a "ribbon of light."


Postmodernism is a term emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding, modernism. postmodernism tends to refer to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness. Postmodernity is a derivative referring to non-art aspects of history that were influenced by the new movement, namely the evolutions in society, economy and culture since the 1960s.
Stravinsky, Mann, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Baudelaire


Neo-expressionism was a style of modern painting that emerged in the late 1970s and dominated the art market until the mid-1980s. Neo-expressionists returned after the minimalists to portraying recognizable objects, such as the human body (although sometimes in a virtually abstract manner), in a rough and violently emotional way using vivid colours and banal colour harmonies. Overtly inspired by the so-called German Expressionist painters--Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, George Grosz--and others such as James Ensor and Edvard Munch.

Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati

The Contemporary Arts Center is a pioneering contemporary art museum located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The CAC is a free museum that focuses on new developments in painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, performance art and new media. Remaining committed to programming that reflects "the art of the last five minutes," the CAC has displayed the works of many now-famous artists early in their careers, including Andy Warhol.

“You are a Captive Audience”

Several cultural factors have influenced this corresponding art shift from modernism to post-modernism. Perhaps the biggest factor is the advent of the technological age. Just as modern culture was influenced by the industrial age, so post-modernism has had to deal with the electronic age. As a result of this electronic, or information, age, traditional geographic boundaries have been destroyed. Images of artworks are instantly accessible to an international audience. Whereas modernists promoted abstraction, post-modern painters advocated a return to traditional subject matter such as landscape and history painting. Some post-modernists reject the modern notion that each art movement be completely original; this rejection takes the form of borrowing (appropriation) from art or architectural history, or other sources, and combining previous images and styles in new juxtapositions. Often, post-modern subject matter in the visual arts is issue-oriented and activist. Toward this end, and because post-modernism has its roots in literature, visual artists often incorporate text into their work. Extremely varied and eclectic in both art and architecture, although post-modern visual artists use identifiable, representational images. KRUGER, You Are a Captive Audience, 1983 is a perfect example of this style.

“Untitled Film Still #15”

Untitled Film Still, #15 depicts the tough girl with a heart of gold. Contrary to the media images they appropriate, which may require a transparent sense of realism to sell an illusion, Sherman’s stills have an artifice that is heightened by the often visible camera cord, slightly eccentric props, unusual camera angles, and by the fact that each image includes the artist, rather than a recognizable actress or model.

“Light Cycle: Explosion Project for Central Park”
Commissioned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Central Park, Cai's Light Cycle fireworks display lit the New York sky with a circle of explosions on a September night in 2003. This 24-page accordion book documents it all from planning to performance, executed by the famous Grucci fireworks family. Separating the book's hardbound cloth covers reveals a continuous folded sheet with reproductions of Cai's gunpowder drawings (made by burning scant gunpowder on paper) on one side and photographs of the event and text on the other. In an interview, the artist compares his drawings to "love-making" and explains some technical aspects of his displays, such as a computer chip in each explosive shell.
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Senior UI/UX web designer at a large-scale IT contractor for defense, intelligence, and civilian government solutions. Adventurist and certified Yoga / Barre Instructor. Love aviation, books, and travel.Prefer long light hearted series in mystery, comedy, fantasy, and romance.

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