Abstract Expressionism Essay, Research Paper
Since the World War II the paintings’ movement had gathered considerable momentum. The political realities of the time- from 1943 to early 1950s- the War, the Holocaust in Europe, the apparent threat of the world destruction by atomic bomb, the conservative reaction of McCarthyism in United States and even intensified hurly burly of city life-resulted in a movement called Abstract Expressionism. Abstract Expressionism combined two tendencies already evident in the twentieth century; the drive to create totally abstract works and express emotion through the use of arbitrary colors (book). The leading figure of this new painting style was Jackson Pollock, who produced his large works by dribbling strands of paint on the canvas, involving his whole body in the activity and creating sensations of sparkling energy and movement. The term “Action Painting” was coined to describe how Pollock worked. Pollock felt, he could become emotionally involved with his work and through it communicate his emotions to the viewer. A more violent and intense form of Action Painting was devised by Willem de Kooning from whose seeming destruction of form gradually emerged a bodily image.
During the fifties, older and younger artists alike were affected by the trend towards discarding all standards of form. Mark Rothko developed a uniquely personal, reserved, almost mystical mode of painting in which colors interacted as they appeared to shift in space. In this geometrical abstraction, a clarity of design appeared, together with the use of flickering effects of color. The example of Abstract Expressionism was followed within a short time by artists all over the world. In Great Britain, abstract art took on fresh importance when new relationships of form and color were highlighted in two and three dimensions. A number of painters in Belgium, Holland and Denmark added the aggressive aspects of Abstract Expressionism to their own versions of Northern-European Expressionism. Again, in Germany and Italy there also emerged followers of the new fashion who strove to express their own feelings through unobstructed out- pouring in paint. This led to matter painting in which very thick layers of paint, mixed with plaster and manipulated on the surface of the canvas. At the height of popularity of Abstract Expressionism worldwide, the fashion was swept aside and interest turned in the appearance of Pop-Art
By early 1960s a newer style called Pop Art began to thrust into fore-front. Pop Art depicted every day objects and images in techniques borrowed from advertising and the comics. The first Pop Art work was made in Britain. In America it grew by slow stages out of the prevailing abstract expressionist style. Its reception was not too warming. According to the critics, ” Pop art depicts the consumer environment and its mentality: ugliness becomes beauty.” Another said, ” Subject is raised to the status of content by the artist’s attitude to it.” as it emerged from the experiment of the fifties, Pop art was the ideal instrument for coming to grips with the American urban environment. Although the imagery referred to popular culture, the works of the pop painters were as much art made out of art as the self-conscious purely formal arrangement. Pop art was the product of industrial revolution which succeeded it. It brought together fashion, democracy, and the machine. Andy Warhol, a leading Pop artist, as a commercial illustrator used, whimsical methods in “Ethel Scull 36 Times”, grotesquely made up Marilyn Monroe and tearful Jackie Kennedy. As the fashionable fever over Pop art died down, the other styles pressed forward.
The painters showed renewed interest in investigating the technical possibilities of abstract painting and extending its ability to create optical sensations with or without emotional content, called “Op Art”. This led to optical illusion and other visual effects achieved by manipulating abstract form and color areas. Op art was first referred in Life. By 1965, Op art was a household phrase referring to black and white boldly patterned fabrics, window displays, and generally used objects. Op art’s crucial aspect involved a technique rather than an ideology. It was impossible to make exact distinction where the movement began and ended. Sometimes. Kinetic and op art were grouped together to achieve a unique illusion. The number of artists working in op art were very limited. Most famous explored such effects like the wavy shimmering forms on watered silks. Op paintings do not necessarily lend to intellectual exploration. There main reason is to provoke an intense sensual and often sensational impact.
Minimalism can be best described as the art which no longer cared about to serve state and religion. It wanted to exist for itself and for itself only. Minimalism celebrated rationalism and a mathematical way of thinking, where an object would point toward an immediate legible geometry. Minimalism defined a mutual sense of psychologically indifferent decoration. The minimalists shared the view that a work of art should be completely conceived by the mind before its execution. They wanted to get away from the idea of self-expression. The Minimalists introduced the idea with a commitment to clarity, conceptual region and simplicity. Despite some earlier opposition, Minimalism became a decisive force in painting, music and dance.
In late sixties to early seventies an extended free-for-all art began which lasted for more than a decade. This extremely diverse range of activities were labeled as Conceptual ,Idea or Information Art. This movement placed an emphasis on ideas: ideas about everything around us, an unruly range of information, subjects and concerns. These diverse ideas were conveyed by written proposals, photographs, documents, charts, film and video, maps, artists’ use of own bodies and language. This resulted in art form which demanded a new kind of attention and mental participation from the viewer.
Post modern Art:
Post modern art started in late seventies and then was applied to everything that followed it. The post modernist is best exemplified by some of the artist’s works around 1980 that recycled conflicting images and systems of representation. Identities rooted in gender and sexuality became central forces in the development of post modernism. The emergence of gay and feminist movements in 1970s challenged conventional assumptions about sexuality and gender. Explicitly feminist and gay perspectives began to affect the arts. By frankly engaging in social issues, post modernists deal with ideology, the mass media and the dynamics of authority. ACT UP and WHAM, the two organizations were actively involved in bringing out social education in the AIDS crisis. The arts world presence in a number of controversial issues brought forward the wrath of conservatives in the Congress. Along with by highlighting some abuses in the arts world Congress tried to cut major funds to a number of individual artists and museums. Art has been a major part of our development. One can accumulate a number of high-tech weapons to gain superiority but it is gain in the art world which brings harmony and peace in this diverse world. Even before the Cold War ended, the involved countries were familiar with each other only by heir respective artistic talents. There was always artistic exchanges among the countries with an understanding to know each other differences and similarities. Art world’s subsidization should be a major part of our budget. America is known more in the foreign world for its various artistic talents as in films and video as for its better-equipped army.
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