Friday, November 15, 2013

Before and After Art

by Drew Martin
I used to think that artists, including me, simply pulled things out of the air and had the power to create movements that could change the world, but now I realize that art is simply one of many moving parts of a constantly changing world. Art is a synthesis of what comprises the creator’s trappings: physical environment, social mores, and past and current events. I also used to think that movements neatly ended like the sections of my collegiate Janson and Janson art history tome. But now I see how ideas are devoured like fallen prey: lioness ad agencies bite off choice parts, the rest is left for hyenas, and the worms.

I thought about a few specific examples of this system and focus here on three movements/styles: Pointillism, Surrealism, and De Stijl.

Pointillism was indeed a comment at the time of physics by Georges Seurat, but ancient world mosaics such as this Roman piece preceded this by more than a thousand years, and the style has worked its way into our everyday visual language as seen here with pixilated photographs. 

Salvador Dalí acknowledged his debt to Hieronymus Bosch, who was doing wackier shit than any of the surrealists 500 years before they were born.  We have always had surrealism with us, look at our mythologies, but what surrealism as a popular art movement did was open the floodgates for expressing weird juxtapositions.

And finally, Piet Mondrian, who was incredibly inventive, but with a Dutch environment full of colorful fields of flowers, leaded glass windows, and city maps, his style seems more obvious. That being said, his simple color field paintings have probably been more appropriated than any other artwork. Very specific references have been used in fashion, design, architecture, and even hair products.

The following is a summary by a bikini kickboxer: