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The 19th century  artists specifically addressed the history of medium, while they were following such style, adopting past themes and styles were seen. Development of new forms and liberating art forms were also another significant issues. Neoclassicism was such a widespread movement in painting  and other visual arts between 1800 to 1850 in Europe. In painting, it took the form of emphases on subject matter and it sought elements from antiquity. Therefore artists tried to imitate Antient Greek relatedly its subject and style. The movement began as a reaction against frivolity of Rococo and excessive dramaticism of Baroque which dominated European art for years.

Neoclassicism reached its peak by Jacques Louis David.

Neoclassicism was such a movement that was against Baroque and Rococo style. Unlike Baroque’s diagnal, dynamic, complex, detailed, dramatic paintings that conveys emotion, motion and drama, contrast between light and dark; neoclassical paintings were vertical and horizontal, fixed,  had no unnecessary details, clean-cut, shallowness, had no feeling of movement.  The movement firstly based on subject matter like political and philosophical attitudes. Artists looked antiquity for inspiration and used realistic images but in idealized way.

As a matter of fact the usage of Ancient Greek styles in neoclassical paintings also effected the architectural styles. One of the conservative architectures who was called as Charles Perret used columnar architecture and rhythm of the style even in factories. In early 20th century by the rise of technological and engineering  developments modern architecture became such an issue. Among modern architecture based on simplification and rejection of ornaments. Modern architecture arose from the same ground of neoclassicism.Neoclassical architecture increased by the help of rejecting other popular styles like Rococo and Baroque. Neoclassicism was also supporting simplification of form and elimination of ornaments. It seems modern architecture borrows from neoclassical style in its basic principles.

” We cannot do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves.”

-Banksy, Wall and Piece

Bansky is a British graffiti artist and also political activist who displays his political and social commentary works on street walls , bridges etc. His satirical works combine with dark humor and graffiti. His first film “Exit through the gift shop billed as the world’s first street art disaster movie. He produces his street arts which depend on anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist, anarchist, nihilist and existentialist ideas. He critiques greed, poverty, absurdity, boredom, alienation and etc.

The images that he produces are brilliant even a child can easily understand what it means. I don’t mean it shows such basic knowledge, his street art is simple and accessible rather than elitist.  I put on some of the examples below which I like,enjoy. His wants to push people think why is this wrong?

He explains why he choose graffiti to express his ideas like:

“Bus stops are far more interesting and useful places to have art than in museums. Graffiti has more chance of meaning something or changing stuff than anything indoors. Graffiti has been used to start revolutions, stop wars, and generally is the voice of people who aren’t listened to. Graffiti is one of those few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make somebody smile while they’re having a piss.”

Postmodernism is a concept that emerged as an area of  academic study around mid 1980s. It is  a wide variety of concepts which includes architecture, music, literature, fashion, technology, film etc. In 1980s Cold War effect was on the stage , Berlin Wall felt down, rise of neoliberalism was seen. Political climate  changed ,Gorbachov became general secretary of Communist Party. This time period also known as electronic age.  During this period, Postmodernism involves a radical estimate of modern assumptions about culture, identity,history and language. In other words, it points out the role of language, power relations and motivations and in addition  it attacks the meaning of classifications like black vs white, straight vs. gay, male vs. female etc. They wanted to maintain elements from modern utility  while using traditional materials and end forms by ironic self-reference and  absurdity.

Postmodernism started with architecture. It focused on ideal perfection, harmony of form and function and return of ornaments,references. The functional and formalized shapes of modernist movements are replaced by aesthetic unusual surfaces. To create new means of designing building was appeared like adapting Greek and Roman examples. Birth of maximalism, kitschy style, playful and unusual surfaces were seen in architecture. Michael Graves was one of the significant architectures who rejected notion of pure and perfect forms. He borrowed elements and references from past and reintroduced color and symbolism.

Postmodern art has contradictions to some aspects of modernism. It uses artistic elements like collages, simplification, appropriation, depiction of consumer or popular culture. Modernism was based on hierarchy, order, and central control. They used consumption culture, object and reality. However postmodernism supported anarchy, demassified culture, less consumption, subject and virtual.

Swiss style is a kind of graphic style that emerged in Switzerland in 1950s. During 1920s and 1930s most of the skills were based on Swiss industry like pharmaceuticals and mechanical engineering. According to Richard Hollis most of the graphic designers from that decade produced their advertising and technical literature. Because of the industrial impact they admitted design as industrial production. They mostly searched anonymous, objective visual communication. The effects of techniques from that period lifted its effectiveness during 1950s. The style pointed out the importance of cleanliness, readability and objectivity. Asymmetric layouts, usage of grid and typefaces mostly sans-serif like Akzidens Grotesk were seen as a part of design elements. The Swiss style associated with photographic images rather than illustrations and typefaces those have industrial looking. Typography was primary design element in addition to texts.

Swiss style is a one of the key element in history of modernism.Images and texts are organized by geometrical grids and sans-serif typefaces like Helvetica is mostly used. Grid and sans-serif typefaces became crucial  techniques for this graphic design.

Chrisitiana Couceria is a designer who produces collages with Retro Swiss graphic design and traditional images. I really like her interpretations. There are some of the examples below.

Body, performance, action arts were reaction against the common art, ideology  about commodifiable art object. It was a new understanding of sculpture. It became an interest to discover hidden meaning of the body and body used as a political object. The moral values was attacked and rituals, religions, ceremonies, cultural values etc were questioned. Love, war, sexuality,human interaction, violence, moral values, social formations were main issues to perform, they were all matter of body. Performance art involves relation between performer and audience, mostly audience become performers. Because reaction of the audience is deciding factor of the art.

By the end of modernism, body was discovered as a medium of art. Actions,performances, happenings got on the stage. Art got out of the galleries and performed at streets. Social consciousness, emancipation became moral issues.

Carolee Schneeman performed avantgarde art pieces comparison to male colleagues.  In her revolutionary work “Eye Body”, she used her body as substance of art.  In the “interior scrool”   her idea was mostly creative and wild. She stands in nudity on a table and read from her book about Cezanne then she drops the book and a scroll out of her vagina and she starts to read it.

It is a term that  used to explain the idea of simplicity for both painting, sculpture and design. ” Less is more” is the main slogan for exact simplicity in every details. Art always excludes unnecessary details. It is realignment in art that has America’s hegemony and upsurge in Europe. New researches and interactions occurred. Minimalism mostly based on sculpture. The minimalist sculptures started to question “space”. They had interaction with space.  “Space” is one of the significant issues, the minimalist idea give no space for emotions it also excludes from the idea itself. There is a tension between transcendental and secular arts. Malevich, Bauhaus were early roots for minimalism.

Donald Judd was one of the minimalist artist who sought autonomy and clarity for constructed objects and space was created by it . There is no more inside the painting that means what you see is what you get in his works. He mostly went into notion of space. Theoretically they were much likely Rothko’s works.


Dan Flavin was one of the minimalist artists who firstly conceived of using electric light as an art form. Fluorescent light was used as medium. He used to explore color light and sculptural space. His works are mostly cold, cool, distant  and it helps to creation of space. The objects are very industrial like Duchamp used.

I found some of the minimal logo design which are based on minimal understanding.

An intended departure from traditional understanding or issues and usage of innovative forms or forms of expression that affects styles in arts and literature is called modernism in 20th century. It refers experimental and avant-garde trends mostly in art. In addition it is also reforming previous trends and artistic forms. Modernism is interested in new types of materials and it refers expressing feelings and ideas. This art movement requires audience to be patient or lets say to observe carefully to understand the artist, his ideas, beliefs, environments and intentions before judging the artist or his works. The modernist art is based on creating abstraction rather than representing what is real. Paul Cezanne is known as “father of modernism”. Gustav Klimt, Matisse, Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky and so on are some of the supporters of modernist idea and artistic norms.

The rise of cinema and usage of photography strongly affected modernism by rendering of the representational functions of visual art obsolete. Photorealism was also another issue of modernism. Embedded reality was recreated. Photorealism helped to come back to reality. Vision and image was overlapped. Photograph had become the leading means of reproducing reality  and abstraction that was the focus of art world.

After WWII modernism merged with the consumer culture. Most of the youth  sub-culture members even called themselves as modernist. Merging these two issues caused a radical transformation of meaning of the idea itself.

Dadaism is a nihilist movement that is based on irrationality, anarchy, rejection of law, laws of beauty and social organization. It is “anti” of everything, lets say “anti-art”. There is a common belief that its name comes from a French word that means hobby horse. Some people think that it is like a baby talk and much catchy than any other name so they call it as Dada. Dadaism is sarcastic, enjoyable , chaotic as its name. It does not have a bourgeois taste at all  which is also against the bourgeois Victorian values in19th century. Collage, photomontage and assemblage styles are used to develop a design. It was founded in Zürich which was response to World War I. It does not depend on combining aesthetic characteristic.

In the United States the movement was centered in Alfred Steiglizs gallery 291. Marcel Duchamp is one of the well-known artist who supports Dada. The idea is shortly based on making a statement on social values of contemporary world that was faced with destroying war period.

DuChamp was the creator of ready-made art. He transformed everyday object to its context. Even, he exhibited a urinal Fountain as a sculpture and examined what the art is. His works are mostly playful and humorous.

Dada also broke most of the printing traditions. It was a radical approach that created anti,bourgeois outlook on designs. New interpretations of horizontal and vertical dimensions created and used as lines, surfaces etc. Capital lowercase, condensed and light semibold typefaces were used.

In 1920s the WWI was finally over and new attends like recreation of peace and understanding became significant issues. Inflation affected whole Europe and economy was out of control. In Germany they also influenced from this situation ever so much. However new understanding came up like romanticism. They broke the traditional ideas and supported inventions that were something new. Transformation of technology and science and recreation of existing space and time issues became very  much important. Bauhaus movement emerged at that movement which was mostly an architectural movement that included such a good and sophisticated philosophy behind.

Bauhaus school advocated a modernist movement that should be functional. In other words, form always followed function. The minimal understanding, sence of simplicity were fundamental points. This modernist idea was based on rationality and logic. Precision which was matter of astrology, engineering and mathematics. The supporters had to follow analytical way of thinking.

The well-known Bauhaus movement supporters were Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Mies van der Rohe and so on.

Bauhaus movement not existed only for architecture but also furniture design and visual art. I found some of the examples that indicates the idea of Bauhaus.

 

 

After the WWI, the old forms and the philosophies are left behind by artists and designers. Industrial age’s machine effect and abstract ideas became more popular. Art and design were two issues which had been separated by each other since the end of the Renaissance however by the help of 20th century’s new trends like I said above caused to improve those issues parallelly. In the 1920s, some artists and architectures influenced by the idea of Dadaism and they formed those ideas and created a new style that was called Stijl –Dutch for the style. Theo van Doesburg was the founder of the movement who was architect. Gerrit Rietveld and Piet Mondrian were the important participants who supported the idea strongly.

The Stijl’s principles those went by Bauhaus. The philosophy was based on functionalism. They reduced geometric shape and forms, used minimalist way of thinking. All the decorative elements, even colors were eliminated, they mostly used the color like white, black, red, yellow and blue. Non-figurative, abstract elements created arithmetic compositions. Purity, abstraction of color and universality were key points by reduction of pure minimalist form and color.  Beyond the subjectivism designs were concerned by functionality and they developed this by spiritual harmony and order. Mostly emotions took off the question.

Piet Mondrian’s two paintings like Broadway Boogie- Woogie and Composition 10 were good examples of the understanding of the philosophy.

Mondrian’s paintings have been using by lots of the designs for industrial purposes.

The Red Blue Chair was made by Gerrit Rietveld. The chair was one of the symbol of interactions of  the De Stijl movement. It was painted the primary colors of the De Stijl like black, white and grey. After the interaction between Rietveld and Mondrian the colors of the chair changed completely like Mondrian’s paintings. It is still displaying in Museum of Modern Art.