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Abstract expressionism, Pop Art, Op Art

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Abstract expressionism, Pop Art, Op Art

  1. 1. World events in the mid-20th century immensely influenced the course of human life and, with it, the course of art history. World War I (1913-1914) and World War II (1941-1945), in particular, shifted the political, economic, and cultural world stage away from Europe and on the “New World” continent, America.
  2. 2. The New York School In the 1920s and 1930s, aspiring young American painters, sculptors, and writers sailed to Europe to expand their horizons. But during the dark days of World War II, a reverse migration brought European scientists, architects, and artists to American shores. New York, in particular, became a haven for the arrived artists and their American counterparts.
  3. 3. The result was the establishment of what came to be known as “The New York School”—as opposed to “The School of Paris” that had been very influential in Europe. The daring young artists in this movement succeeded in creating their own synthesis of Europe’s cubist and surrealist styles. Their style came to be known as abstract expressionism.
  4. 4. Pollock worked on huge canvases spread on the floor, splattering, squirting, and dribbling paint with (seemingly) no pre-planned pattern or design in mind. The total effect is one of vitality, creativity, “energy made visible.” Pollock’s first one-man show in New York in 1943 focused worldwide attention on abstract expressionism for the first time. One form of abstract expressionism was seen in the works of Jackson Pollock. These were created through what came to be known as “action painting.”
  5. 5. Autumn Rhythm Jackson Pollock, 1950 Oil on canvas
  6. 6. In contrast to the vigorous gestures of the action painters, another group of artists who came to be known as “color field painters” used different color saturations (purity, vividness, intensity) to create their desired effects. Some of their works were huge fields of vibrant color—as in the paintings of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.
  7. 7. Magenta, Black, Green on Orange Mark Rothko, 1949 Oil on canvas Vir Heroicus Sublimis Barnett Newman, 1950 - 1951 Oil on canvas
  8. 8. Others took the more intimate “pictograph” approach, filling the canvas with repeating picture fragments or symbols - as in the work of Adolph Gottlieb and Lee Krasner. Forgotten Dream Adolph Gottlieb, 1946 Oil on canvas Abstract No. 2 Lee Krasner, 1948 Oil on canvas
  9. 9. By the early 1960s, the momentum of The New York School slowed down. In its place, a new crop of artists came on the scene using lighter treatment and flashes of humor, even irreverence, in their artworks. The movements they brought about have come to be called: • neodadaism and pop art • conceptual art • op art • the new realism
  10. 10. Like the dadaist movement that arose after World War I, the neodadaism of the 1960s wanted to make reforms in traditional values. It also made use of commonplace, trivial, even nonsensical objects. But unlike the angry, serious tone of the original dadaists, the neodadaists seemed to enjoy nonsense for its own sake and simply wanted to laugh at the world.
  11. 11. Their works ranged from paintings, to posters, to collages, to three-dimensional “assemblages” and installations. These made use of easily recognizable objects and images from the emerging consumer society—as in the prints of Andy Warhol. Their inspirations were the celebrities, advertisements, billboards, and comic strips that were becoming a common place at that time. Hence the term pop (from “popular”) art emerged.
  12. 12. Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) was an American pop artist. During the 1960s, along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist among others, he became a leading figure in this new art movement. Twelve Cars Andy Warhol, 1982 Art print Marilyn Monroe Andy Warhol, 1967 Silkscreen print
  13. 13. Wham! Roy Lichstenstein, 1963 Acrylic and Oil on canvas In the Car Roy Lichstenstein, 1963
  14. 14. As the term implies, conceptual art was that which arose in the mind of the artist, took concrete form for a time, and then disappeared (unless it was captured in photo or film documentation). Conceptualists questioned the idea of art as objects to be bought and sold. Instead, theybrought their artistic ideas to life temporarily, using such unusual materials as grease, blocks of ice, food, even just plain dirt.
  15. 15. A key difference between a conceptual artwork and a traditional painting or sculpture is that the conceptualist’s work often requires little or no physical craftsmanship. Much of the artist’s time and effort goes into the concept or idea behind the work, with the actual execution then being relatively quick and simple. An example is this conceptual art piece by Kosuth.
  16. 16. One and Three Chairs Joseph Kosuth, 1965 An actual chair (center), with a photograph of the same chair and enlarged copy of dictionary definition of a chair.
  17. 17. Another movement that emerged in the 1960s was optical art or “op art.” This was yet another experiment in visual experience—a form of “action painting,” with the action taking in the viewer’s eye. In op art, lines, spaces, and colors were precisely planned and positioned to give the illusion of movement. Current Bridget Riley, 1964 Synthetic polymer paint on composition board
  18. 18. As the eye moved over different segments of the image, perfectly stable components appeared to shift back and forth, sometimes faster, sometimes slower as the brain responded to the optical data. Viewers experienced sensations varying from discomfort to disorientation to giddiness. Current Bridget Riley, 1964 Synthetic polymer paint on composition board
  19. 19. As the eye moved over different segments of the image, perfectly stable components appeared to shift back and forth, sometimes faster, sometimes slower as the brain responded to the optical data. Viewers experienced sensations varying from discomfort to disorientation to giddiness. Current Bridget Riley, 1964 Synthetic polymer paint on composition board

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