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in the early 1800's in England. Artwork was created to celebrate progress and social/economic advancement. More wealth = more ornament = more social status. The Industrial Revolution created surpluses in production and the birth of Advertising emerged— Posters were flourishing by 1870. Victorian design bastardized type, marking them flamboyant and elaborate. Bold poster style types, like slab serifs were designed to grab attention. Victorian design is inspired by the decorative illuminations and ornate styles of the scribes, Gothic and Baroque. Arts and Crafts Movement 1880~1890 The Industrial Revolution separated humans from their own creativity and individualism; the worker was a cog in the wheel of progress, living in an environment of shoddy machine-made goods. The Arts and Crafts Movements sought to reestablish the ties between beautiful work and the worker, returning to honesty in design not to be found in mass-produced items. The Arts & Crafts Movement was a reaction against the pompous style of High Victorian, and emerged through small workshops in England. Writer, designer and central figure of the Arts & Crafts Movement, William Morris ultimately set new standards for type and composition as well as tapestries, furniture
and stained glass.
Aesthetic Movement 1890’s This movement was a loose knit group of “book builders” and typographers whose goal was to revive historical models for contemporary applications. They reprised Old Style faces that had been lost to earlier movements. Medieval references were present in decorative letterforms, but new serifs, san serifs and swash alphabets were being developed for type foundries. Art Nouveau 1890~1914 The first international design style inspired by nature and richly ornamental. Type was not a static medium, but entwined in the design. Art Nouveau’s graceful integration of type and art is clearly one of its most memorable qualities. This style is a derivative of Baroque and Rococo indulgences and the Arts and Crafts Movement of William Morris, Art Nouveau became popular across Europe and in the United States. Art Nouveau remained popular until about the time of World War I, and was ultimately replaced by the Art Deco style. * Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha. Expressionism 1900’s Expressionism was distinguished by its raw, simple, almost crude, primitivism that was very subtractive—deformation was used to heighten the emotion level/response. It espoused that life should be stripped bare and reduced to it essentials. This movement was influenced by the inevitability of world war in Germany, the rise of industrialization,
and the new power of capitalism. Note: In Germany, 1905 the Sachplakat (object poster) was a reaction to the excesses of Art Nouveau; this minimalist poster genre is a simple, clean, straightforward approach to advertising product. Its elements consist of, the product, a logo and a bold line of type. Fauvism 1905-1908 The first of the major avant-garde movements in European, Fauvism was characterized by paintings that used intensely vivid, non-naturalistic and exuberant colors. Paul Gauguin's style and his use of color were especially strong influences on future movements. Cubism 1907~1920 This highly influential style began an immense creative explosion—created principally by the painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in Paris, it emphasized the flat, twodimensional surface and used multiple angles of vision and simultaneous representation of disjointed planes—stretching the notion of space. Cubist strongly influenced design by the introduction of collage techniques, which quickly became popular in poster design— termed “mixed medium.” Cubism had run its course by the end of World War I, but
among the movements it directly influenced Futurism, Constructivism, and, to some degree, Expressionism.
Futurism 1909~1924 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti founded futurism in 1909. Futurists were closely networked with poets and writers. Some of the most interesting graphic experimentation came not at the hands of painters and graphic artists, but from Futurists poets who rejected typographic conventions. They supported the war, the machine age and were fascinated with speed. Futurists were strongly influenced by the capabilities of the camera and its shutter speed—echoing their preoccupation with motion. The futurists' representation of forms in motion influenced many painters, including Marcel Duchamp and Robert Delaunay, and such movements as Cubism and Russian Constructivism. Note: This is where David Carson’s extreme, radical post-modern design is inspired. Constructivism 1913~1919 A Russian art movement advocating the use of clean design. Constructivist art is very geometric. It is usually experimental, rarely emotional. The art is often very reductive as well, paring the artwork down to its basic elements. Constructivists sought an art of order, which would reject the past and lead to a world of more understanding, unity, and peace. Modern avant-garde found kindred sensibilities in Dada, Futurism, Cubism and other isms. Note: Constructivists typography developed its distinctive look—letters and words at right angles framed by bold rules and boarders printed in one or two colors—in part because the limited typecase materials. After the war, the nation was plagued with shortages of printing material, paper, ink and type. * El Lissitzky
Dada 1916~1922 Dada was a literary and artistic movement born in Zurich, Europe. Dada used photomontage in publication layouts eschewing conventional formats and established hierarchies of headlines and subheads. Columns of justified type were skewed beyond conventional margins, multiple type weights and faces from different type families were used unharmoniously in a single composition. This willful typographic anarchy reflected the chaos in the wake of the most devastating war to date, the Great War. Artists used any public forum they could find to (metaphorically) spit on nationalism, rationalism, materialism and any other -ism that they felt had contributed to a senseless war. Dada was, officially, not a movement, its artists not artists and its art not art. Dada work emphasized the absurdity of life. For example, Marcel Duchamp "improved" the Mona Lisa by painting a copy and adding a mustache. He also signed his name on a snow shovel and called it art. Dada self-destructed when it was in danger of becoming "acceptable". Note: For something that supposedly meant nothing, Dada certainly created a lot of offshoots. In addition to spawning numerous literary journals, Dada influenced Constructivism and was directly responsible for Surrealism. Dadaists are credited for inventing photomontage, and have had a strong influence on Pop Art, which was sometimes called neo-Dada. Dada is derivative of Abstraction and Expressionism followed by Cubism and, to a lesser extent, Futurism. Dada’s most notable contribution to art, that assemblage, collage, photomontage and the use of ready made objects all gained wide acceptance due to their use. John Heartfield, Kurt Schwitters Hannah Höch Merz 1924 Kurt Schwitters, not an accepted Dadaist, created a nonpolitical offshoot called "Merz." Schwitters work applied visual techniques to his sound poetry, making the language malleable, unusual and even amusing. His art was that collected from the streets. His studio, Merzbau was cover from top to bottom with montages, collages and assemblages. He influenced the way graphic designers thought about type and composition. * Raoul Hausmann, Kurt Schwitters Bauhaus 1919~1933 A school of art and design founded in 1919 in Germany with the aim of producing new architecture that combined artistic design, craftsmanship and newly emerging machine technology. Their concerns included urban planning, housing, and the development of highquality, utilitarian mass production of consumer goods. Bauhaus was the mecca for progressive designers, including Constructivist El Lissitsky and Duch de Stijl, founder
Theo van Doesburg. Germany at the time favored the serif, and the more complicated gothic fonts, the Bauhaus typography and design was based in the combination of simple optical forms—san serif fonts, geometric shapes, diagonal rules and primary colors. Its influence in design has lasted to this day. The Nazis closed the school in 1933, and many of the artists subsequently immigrated to the United States in search of intellectual freedom. Supremetism 1913~1919 Russian art movement founded by Kasimir Malevich in Moscow, parallel to constructivism. Malevich drew Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitsky to his revolutionary, nonobjective art. In Malevich's words, suprematism sought "to liberate art from the ballast of the representational world. It consisted of geometrical shapes flatly painted on the pure canvas surface. Malevich's white square on a white ground embodied the movement's principles. Suprematism, through its dissemination by the Bauhaus, deeply influenced the development of modern European art, architecture, and industrial design. de Stijl 1917~1931 The de Stijl movement, Dutch for “The Style,” was launched in the Netherlands, founded by Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian and several others. Europe was a bit of a mess
after WWI and in response to the environment of chaos came a Movement where order was valued above all else. Mondrian paintings are the wellspring from which de
Stijl’s philosophy and visual forms developed. They advocated a purification of art, eliminating subject matter in favor of vertical and horizontal elements, and the use of primary colors and non-colors, black, gray and white. The prime figures, Mondrian
and van Doesburg, had a falling out over the contentious issues of diagonal lines and use of the color green. Still, De Stijl’s imprint has lasted the longest, the GRID
became the adopted underpinning for nearly all modern print, asymmetrical placement, clean, organized, straightforward, no-nonsense presentation and the use of rules, boxes, lines and tinted blocks to create balance and space. Their work exerted tremendous influence on the Bauhaus and the International Style. NOTE: De Stijl Theo van Doesburg, published “The End of Art,” in 1926 and David Carson published “The End in Print,” 1995. Ironically, the results of both and their rebellion are considered exemplary. Swiss Design/ International Typographic Style’s 1950 A group of artists from Switzerland founded the Swiss School of the Swiss Movement. They adopted the de Stijl approach to visual design. Their goal was to further refine it and in the process reduce it to its most minimal components. Sometimes referred to as Swiss Design or ITS, International Typographic Style, their legacy to today’s contemporary design is their clean, minimal sans serif typography and grid. Note: Swiss design influenced the New York School of Design in the 1960, Paul Rand, Milton Glaser, Bradbury Thompson and Soul Bass.
The ITS objective clarity won converts throughout the world. The visual characteristics of this international style included a visual unity of design achieved by asymmetrical organization on a mathematically constructed grid, using only sansserif type. In this paradigm, the designer defined his or her role not as an artist but as an objective conduit for spreading important information between components of society. Achieving clarity and order was the ideal. The roots of the International Typographic Style grew from de Stijl, Bauhaus, and the New Typography of the 1920s and 1930s. The New Typography This movement surfaced after World War I, and reflected a utopian view that art was not an entertainment for the elite but a utilitarian product for the masses. Type, which became both a symbol and a tool of transformation, was one of the first indicators of this “new spirit.” Its underlying principles were the rejection of tradition, the use of geometric types, design following content, organized and structured pages, and a preference for photography over illustration. The design style, which flourished in Russia, Germany, Italy, and Eastern Europe was heavily influenced by Constructivism and Futurism. Art Deco 1920-1930 Emphasized sleek, linear decorative designs that reflected modern technology. An art movement involving a mix of modern decorative art styles that’s main characteristics were derived from various avant-garde painting styles of the early twentieth century. Art Deco works exhibit aspects of Cubism, Russian Constructivism and Italian Futurism— with abstraction, distortion, and simplification, particularly geometric shapes and highly intense colors. The letters were bold and in many cases type served as a surrogate illustration. Type was used as a frame or boarder— letters were geometric and stylishly. * Tamara de Lempicka, Cassandre. Surrealism 1924~1950 Surrealism, founded in Paris was an art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious and free of convention. * Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico, Man Ray, Rene Magritte. Abstract Expressionism 1946~1960 Emerging in the 1940s in New York City and flourishing in the Fifties, Abstract Expressionism is regarded by many as the golden age of American art. The movement is marked by its use of brushstrokes and texture, massive canvases, and powerful emotions through the act of painting itself. The movement was enormously successful both critically and commercially. The result was such that New York came to replace Paris as the center for contemporary art and the repercussions of this extraordinarily influential movement can still be felt thirty years
after its heyday. • Franz Kline, Jackson Pollack, William de Kooning, Robert Motherwell. The New York School 1940~1960 A group of American poets, painters and musicians active in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s in New York City. The poets, painters, composers, and musicians often drew inspiration from Surrealism and the contemporary avantgarde art movements, in particular action painting, abstract expressionism, Jazz, improvisational theater, avantgarde music, and the interaction of friends in the New York City art world's vanguard circle. * Paul Rand, Alexey Brodovich, Henry Wolf, Herb Lubalin, George Lois Minimalism~1950 A painting style that attempted to throw off any need for social comment, self-expression and allusions to history, politics and religion—in fact, imagery of any kind—in favor of paintings that stood on their own as objects of interest and beauty. Minimal Art emerged as a movement in the 1950s and continued through the Sixties and Seventies. It is a term used to describe paintings and sculpture that thrive on simplicity in both content and form. * Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella. Pop Art 1950~1960 Art using commonplace objects, such as soup cans, comic strips and hamburgers, as subjects. The movement was marked by a fascination with popular culture reflecting the affluence in post-war society. It was most prominent in American art but soon spread to Britain. Pop Art is a direct descendant of Dadaism. *Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Roy Hamilton, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg. Op Art~Psychedelic Art 1950~1960 Op Art relies on optical tricks or illusions to evoke visual responses. Inspired by psychedelic drugs, music and the counter culture. Op artists used bold colors and geometric designs in ways that made their pictures seem to move or vibrate. Op Art is a form of abstract art and is closely connected to the Kinetic and Constructivist Art movements. NOTE: After 'The Responsive Eye' exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965 the term became a household name and the style was soon appropriated by fashion designers and high street stores. Victor Moscoso created powerful posters influenced by Art Nouveau for Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, and The Doors. Conceptual Art 1960~1970 Conceptual artists used nontraditional art media and materials in order to focus on ideas rather than objects. Conceptual artists used text as well as photography, publications, drawings, video, film, and performance to focus on an inquiry into art practice and
meaning. Conceptual works could be seen in nontraditional art contexts like books, magazines, mail, advertisements, and billboards. Photorealism 1960~1970 This movement emerged in the United States and Britain in the late 1960s and 1970s. The subject matter, usually everyday scenes, is portrayed in an extremely detailed, exacting style. * Chuck Close, Richard Estes Graffiti Art 1980 The practice of writing or drawing on public spaces such as walls, sidewalks, billboards and subways. In the early 1980s, graffiti was embraced by contemporary artists, and moved from the street to the gallery—the Museum of American Graffiti opening in 1989. * Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring. Massurrealism 1992 Coined by the American Artist James Seehafer, Massurrealism stands for a fusion of the dream like visions of Surrealism, Pop Art and New Media Technology—as well as for an expression of the Hyper-real. Influenced by the postmodern time mass-media communications where examples of surreal imagery is present in print media, movies and music videos without the conscious notice of the observer that he is looking at a surreal image/scene. * James Seehafer, Salvatore Lodico, F. Michael Morris, Salvatore Lodico, Jr, Marketta Leino, Ginnie Gardiner, Domenic Ali, Caplyn Dor, Alex Filipchenko, Peter Steinlechner, Cecil Touchon Thrasher 1994 An American art movement founded by David Carson, called “Thrasher,” “Beach Culture,” or sometimes, “ Skateboard Culture.” David Carson shook the industry in the early nineties with his radical design and in Ray Gun magazine, garnering nearly equal amounts of criticism and acclaim—detractors initially deemed his style a fad. Carson is a master of collage; he melds the typographic with the visual—breaking just about every typographic rule ever written. He has been quoted by, Print magazine, “brilliant,” and Graphis magazine, “Master of Typography.” He is famous for his personal quote, “Don't mistake legibility for communication.” Carson’s book published in 1996, “The End of Print” is now in its fifth printing and has sold over 125,000 copies worldwide, making it the biggest-selling design book of all time.
2000 and Beyond
The variety of materials and formats that contemporary artists use to make their work reflect the diverse and complex ways in which they experience and respond to American life and the issues and concerns of our times are in contrast very similar to the explosive turn of the century. Today, art is influenced by technology, global networking, war, and
the ability to alter and transform human appearance through plastic surgery. Hypertext has become a new medium, and cyberspace a new public space for art. As the millennium progresses, the questions of what is art and what is American continue to preoccupy artists and society at large.
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