Futurism was a modern art movement originating in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century.  

In 1909, poet and editor, Fillipo Tommaso Marinetti, publisher of literary magazine Poesia (Milan), announced the movement of Futurism in a belligerent manifesto published on the front page of the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. The term ‘Futurism’ caught the imagination of writers and artists all over the world, as did Marinetti’s insistence that the artist turn his back on past art and conventional procedures to concern himself with the vital, noisy life of the burgeoning industrial city.

Futurism was a largely Italian and Russian movement, although it also had adherents in other countries.

Futurism was a celebration of the machine age, glorifying war and favouring the growth of fascism. Futurist painting and sculpture were especially concerned with expressing movement and the dynamics of natural and man-made forms.

Some of these ideas, including the use of modern materials and technique, were taken up later by Marcel Duchamp, the cubists, and the constructivists.

 

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913 – Umberto Boccioni

The Futurists explored every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, poetry, theatre, music, architecture and even gastronomy. Marinetti summed up the major principles of the Futurists, including a passionate loathing of ideas from the past, especially political and artistic traditions. He and others also espoused a love of speed, technology, and violence. The car, the plane, the industrial town were all legendary for the Futurists, because they represented the technological triumph of people over nature.

Futurists repudiated the cult of the past and all imitation, praised originality, “however daring, however violent”, bore proudly “the smear of madness”, dismissed art critics as useless, rebelled against harmony and good taste, swept away all the themes and subjects of all previous art, and gloried in science.

In 1910 and 1911 the Futurist employed the technique of divisionism, breaking light and colour down into a field of stippled dots and stripes, which had been originally created by French painter Georges-Pierre Seurat. Severini, who lived in Paris, was the first to come into contact with Cubism and following a visit to Paris in 1911 the Futurist painters adopted the methods of the Cubists. Cubism offered them a means of analyzing energy in paintings and expressing dynamism.

 

Perspective drawing from La Citta Nuova, 1914 – Antonio Sant’Elia.

Futurism attracted a number of architects, one of them being, Antonio Sant’Elia, who joined forces with the Futurists in 1914. Though he built little throughout his life, Sant’Elia translated the Futurist vision into bold urban form.

Futurist architecture is characterized by anti-historicism and long horizontal lines suggesting speed, motion and urgency.

 

 Cathedral of Brasília 1970 – Oscar Niemeyer

 

 

 

 

 

Oriental Pearl Tower 1991 – 1995 – Jia Huan Cheng

The Futurist principle of “dynamism” as an expressive means, the painters’ emphasis on process rather than on things, and their emphasis upon the intuition and its power to synthesize the manifold experiences of sense and memory had profound effects on other movements: the Constructivists and their various branches, the English Vorticists, Dada and Surrealism.

By the end of 1914, the first phase of Futurism was drawing to a close. With Italy’s entry into the war in 1915, an event ardently promoted by Marinetti and his fellows, all effective artistic activity ceased.

 

 

Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement 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 known for its use of brushstrokes and texture, the embracing of chance and the frequently massive canvases, all employed to convey powerful emotions through the glorification of the act of painting itself.

 

Number 31 1950 – Jackson Pollock

Some of the key figures of the movement were Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline. Although their works vary greatly in style they all share the same outlook which is one of freedom of individual expression.

The term was initially used to describe the work of Russian painter and printmaker, Kandinsky but was implemented by writers in the Fifties as a way of defining the American movement.

 

Wassily Kandinsky

Robert Coates, an American critic, coined it in 1946, referring to Gorky, Pollock and de Kooning. There are two distinct groups within the movement: Colour Field artists who worked with simple, unified blocks of colour; and gestural painters who made use of Surrealist techniques of automatic art.

The movement’s name is derived from the combination of the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of other movements such as Futurism and Bauhaus.

 

Clyfford Still, Jamais 1944

 

Not all the artists associated with the term produced either purely abstract, or purely Expressionist work. Abstract Expressionists were influenced by Existentialist ideas, which emphasized the importance of the act of creating, not of the finished object. Most had a Surrealist background and sought to express their subconscious through their art. Although it is true that spontaneity or the impression of spontaneity characterized many of the abstract expressionist’s works, most of these paintings involved careful planning, especially since their large size demanded it.

Abstract Expressionists were greatly influenced by the Great Depression and also by the Social Realists. The political climate after World War II did not long tolerate the social protests of these painters.

Since mid 1970s it has been argued by revisionist historians that the style attracted the attention of the CIA, who saw it as a representative of the USA as a haven of free thought and free markets. Publications detail how the CIA financed and organized the promotion of American abstract expressionists via the Congress for Cultural Freedom from 1950–67.

Inspiration from the early masters of Abstract Expressionism, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, has led Winn’s journey to define his personal visual language.

The movement had an inestimable influence on the many varieties of work that followed it, especially in the way its proponents used color and materials. Its essential energy transmitted an enduring excitement to the American art scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virus Taylor Winn 2005

 

 

Minimalism is a twentieth century art movement and style stressing the idea of reducing a work of art to the minimum number of colors, values, shapes, lines and textures.  Minimalist 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.

Minimalism stemmed mostly from the work of Frank Stella, who’s Black Paintings were first exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1959, inspiring many artists to turn away from the expressive art of the past.

The term “minimalist” is often applied colloquially to designate anything which is spare or stripped to its essentials. Minimalism can also be used to describe trends in music, literature, architecture, even interior design.

Center Tryptich 1966 – Mark Rothko

Minimalism in art emerged in New York in the 1960s. Minimalism has been interpreted as a response to the Abstract Expressionist painters as well as the principles and ideas that supported them. It had roots in Pop art, Cubism and Conceptual Art.

Minimalists were influenced by composers, poets and architects. Minimalists strongly declared that their work was not self-expression, in opposition to the previous decade’s spontaneous Abstract Expressionists. Minimalism’s attributes included: geometric, often cubic forms purged of all metaphor, equality of parts, repetition, neutral surfaces, and industrial materials.

Untitled 1998 – Agnes Martin

Minimalist influences also include the geometric abstraction painters in the Bauhaus and other artists involved with the DeStijl movement.

White Flower 1960 -Agnes Martin

It incorporated geometric forms often in repetitive patterns and solid planes of colour. Often based on a grid and mathematically composed, the use of industrial materials was common.

The Cube – Larry Bell

Minimalists wanted their viewer to experience their work without the distractions of composition, theme, and other elements of traditional work. Minimalist artists rejected the idea that art should reflect the personal expression of its creator. There was a lack of emotion and subconscious decision-making in minimalist art, hiding the presence and feelings of the artists.

Minimalism questioned the nature of art and its place in society. Although some deemed Minimalist art to be unapproachable and barren, others saw the revolutionary concept of pure aestheticism and the strong affect that Minimalist theory had on post-modern art.

 

 

 

 

 

  

Installation art uses sculptural materials and other media that evoke complex and multiple associations and thoughts. Installation art incorporates almost any media to create an experience in a particular environment. Unlike traditional art works, installation art has no autonomous existence.

Installation art is not necessarily confined to gallery spaces and can be any material intervention in everyday public or private spaces.  It may also be site-specific, designed only to exist in the space they are created for. Installation art must be displayed and subsequently dismantled, leaving documentation as its only trace.  Materials used in installation art range from everyday and natural materials to new media such as video, sound, performance and computers.

Installation art has picked up influences everywhere, from Futurism to Dada, from Assemblage to Minimalism.

Rachel Whiteread Embankment

Installation art came into prominence in the 1970’s.  Its first use as documented by the OED was in 1969. Presented only at alternative art spaces; its incorporation into mainstream museums and galleries is a relatively recent occurrence.

With the improvement of technology over the years, artists are now more able to explore new ideas and break free from the boundaries where earlier artists were restricted.  Interactive installation has emerged as a significant branch off the installation arts category. Interactive installation involves a work of art requiring construction or elaborate setting up at its exhibition site: an installation typically makes use of a variety of media and often includes nontraditional media, as projected images or taped sounds.  Normally, an interactive installation will often involve the audience acting on it or the piece responding to the user’s activity.

Movement in B flat 2005 – 2006 – Renee Butler

Interactive installations artists are more interested in the participation of the audiences where the meaning of the installation is generated. Conceptual and Installation artist Vito Acconci is a key artist in creating interactive installations.

One of the premier artists working in the medium is the American Ann Hamilton who installed a piece in the nation’s neo-classical pavilion in Venice, which is used every two years for an international art exhibition.

Myein 1999

Hamilton called her piece Myein, which comes from the ancient Greek word for mystery and initiation and also refers to an abnormal contraction of the eye’s pupil.

“It’s the eve of the millennium,” Hamilton explained. “I want to bring to the surface the questions we should be asking.” Katy Kline, the director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine, who chose the work for the Biennale, says, “She invites the viewer into a set of visible and auditory conditions where their entire bodily experience is activated. They are swept into a state of awareness beyond that of the normal viewer. She tries to intrigue the whole body.

Oil spill – Lisa Kellner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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