Getting Started 3

Posted by Lloyd on April 12, 2011

Dada and Surrealism
You might say both the Dada and Surrealist art movements grew out of unlikely environments. Scientific advances were taking place with increasing rapidity, Freud and his contemporaries were pushing to map the unconscious mind, and photography had emerged to document the visual landscape in a way that painting never could. Yet somehow, as the world became more and more subject to scientific interpretation, the inner realm of fantasy and the far reaches of the psyche exploded into the work of the artists of these two movements.
Dada (a randomly contrived word to convey nonsense) arose from a number of artist’s desire to question and undermine every precept of a society that could produce something as monstrously devastating as World War I. Jean Arp, Max Ernst and the influential Marcel Duchamp were some of the predominant artists of this period. The Surrealist movement followed shortly thereafter, with artists like Salvador Dali, Meret Oppenheim, and Matta exploring the utterly illogical in an effort to uncover a more truthful reality. Expert recommendations Dada and Surrealism

Pop Art
In America in the late-50s and 60s, Pop artists, many of whom had commercial art backgrounds, looked around them and accepted everything that had previously been considered unworthy of being called art: commercial advertisements, television, movies, billboards, packaged goods. Their subject matter celebrated the newly affluent post-war American way of life, and the mass media and mass production industry that advertised the American Dream. Often the artists did not “invent” their subject matter, choosing instead from preexisting mass-produced images, which questioned the very definition of an original piece of art. Their techniques were impersonal, suggesting mechanical forms of reproduction. Many used photographic screen printing techniques to achieve the flat, slick surface characteristic of commercial advertising and consumer products. Their attitude was detached, witty, and often ironic. They would force a radical shift in the way people viewed art. Some of the most renowned artists of this movement were: Robert Rauschenburg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Richard Hamilton.Expert recommendations Pop Art

Abstract Expressionism
Considered the first movement to originate in the United States, Abstract Expressionism was certainly influenced by the Abstract movement. More an attitude than a particular style, it devoted itself to the principles that art is most expressive when a relationship is established between the artist and the spectator. The paintings often looked improvised and spontaneous. This movement’s most familiar method was “action art,” as famously practiced by Jackson Pollock (he of the paint dripped on canvas) and Willem de Kooning (slashing brushstrokes).

But some of the other Abstract Expressionists avoided gesture, instead emphasizing flatness or vagueness: the sublime color shifts of Mark Rothko; Robert Motherwell’s canvases filled with large, amorphous shapes of strong, austere colors; Barnett Newman’s vertical stripes. Many of the artists shared a belief that the method of painting was as important as the painting itself. Expert recommendations Abstract Expressionism

Contemporary Art
The contemporary art world is a massive variety of creative styles and directions, with many different “micro” movements. Some of these include: Minimal art, Photorealism, Earth Art, Op Art, Color Field, Hard Edge, Shock Art, Body Art, Installation, Performance Art, and Multimedia Art. Photography is finally considered a major art form, and the rapidly improving computer technology is making its way into the hands of many talented artists. Thanks to revolutionary social advances, previously silenced voices are now being heard more in the art arena. There are more women artists than ever before, and the representation of work by artists of color is unprecedented. Whether one predominant art movement emerges to define this era remains to be seen. Expert recommendations Contemporary Art

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