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A short history of Art Nouveau, Dada and Punk Art

1371 words (5 pages) Essay in Cultural Studies

5/12/16 Cultural Studies Reference this

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I originally chose Art Nouveau as my main art period for A level art because I love the deceptively simple flowing lines and the fine detail put into every individual piece of art, ranging from jewellery to

Posters, and from wall-paper by William Morris to architecture – some of the most popular being

The Eiffel Tower in France and the staircase of the Maison & Atelier of Victor Horta in Brussels or the Liberty & Company department store in London.

Art Nouveau is an approach to design according to which artists should work on everything from posters to jewellery and from furniture to architecture, making art part of everyday life. Art Nouveau was the most popular artistic style in graphic art at the turn of the century and peaked in popularity at the turn of the 20th century; roughly from around 1890 to 1905. It was commonly used within architecture and decorative arts. It was quite a simplistic art style and had a whip lash ripple or floral effect where a lot of the imagery looked as though the starting point had been curved in the style of a whip curves when it is about to strike something.

The movement was strongly influenced by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, when he produced a lithographed poster which appeared on the first of January 1895 in the streets of Paris as an advertisement for the play Gismonda. It was an overnight sensation and announced itself and its creator as a new artistic form to the citizens of Paris. Originally named Mucha style, it later became known as Art Nouveau which means “new art” in French. Art nouveau had a fifteen year peak and was most strongly felt through Europe from Glasgow, to Moscow, to Madrid but its influence was worldwide.

Art nouveau was a popular form of graphic design with detailed prints and bright colours which set the atmosphere of the imagery within. It was usually used for posters which drew the viewer’s eyes first to the outlined figures inside and then to the text within and then you would notice the fine detail around the whole image. The art style was a new form of Japanese inspired art and had a William Morris style of repetitiveness within the detail.

I love the intricate detail of Art Nouveau, but I feel that it is not my style of art I like to produce detail pieces but a stranger style would suit me more. I have decided to move away from Art Nouveau and move more into the styles of Dada with are more interesting and confuse the viewer, the style is very different to what has been previously produced and that is why I have decided to do more of a Dada approach to my project now.

Dada first started in Zurich, Switzerland, at the start of World War 1.Dada was an international movement among European artists and writers from 1915 – 1922 marked by a spirit of anarchic revolt against the futility and destruction of War. Dada took great pleasure in ridicule and promoted the role of the unpredictable in artistic creation. For many Dadaist, as they became to be known, their participation the movement was a protest against the conformist nationalist and colonialist interests, which many Dadaists believed were the root cause of the war, and against the cultural and intellectual conformity in art and more broadly in society that corresponded to the war. In addition to anti war, Dada was also anti bourgeois, nonconformists, and anarchist in nature

French poet Tristan Tzara plunging a penknife into the pages of a dictionary to randomly find a name for the movement this act in itself displays the importance of chance within Dada art. A lack of respect was another key feature in one of Dada’s most infamous exhibitions, organised by Max Ernst, axes were provided for visitors to smash all of the works available on show. Marcel Duchamp, George Grosz, Otto Dix, Hans Richter and Jean Arp are among the leading Dadaists. The movement had a strong influence on Pop art, which was sometimes called neo Dada. Dadaists seeming to show lack of seriousness towards things on the surface, the Dada artists were actually charged by false belief and moral outrage at the unprecedented carnage of World War I, and the ultimate aim of the movement was to shock people out of complacency.

Dada generally involved visual arts, poetry, art manifestoes, theatre art, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti war politics through rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti art cultural works. Dada’s purpose was to mock what its contenders thought to be the meaninglessness of the modern world. According to its participants, Dada was not art; it was “anti art”. Dada represented the opposite to everything for which art stood.

I felt that Dada was quite an interesting art period due to the style of its workings and its slight mysteriousness to it. The images produced during this time were unusual at the time and were seen as weird as is seen as today. The style of Dada is quite eye catching with its strange shapes and dull colours, it makes the viewer want to try and understand the picture so in a way Dada was quite a successful form of graphic design. The Dada movement became associated with anti-aesthetic creations and protest, which were affected by disgust and despair over World War 1. By 1924, after the first World War World War I, which was lasted from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918 only a few years since the movement was founded Dada was melding into surrealism, and artists had gone on to other ideas and movements, including surrealism, social realism and other forms of modernism. Some theorists argue that Dada was actually the beginning of postmodern art

Although the Dada period was very interesting and successful graphic design art period, I decided to evolve from this period into the form of Punk art. Punk art is more interesting for me because it uses bolder colours and has a more upfront and to the point style of things. For this reason I have chosen to move into this art period for my project.

Punk has always been anti-establishment, a subversive form of protest against the status quo through outrageous and confrontational music, visuals and behaviour. At its inception it was a protest from the margins about inequality, poverty, unemployment and exclusion, and a rejection of the mythologies of the hippy dippy values of rock and peace which hid those realities. Punk fashion was primarily a demonstration of nonconformity, as well as opposition to popular culture and the hippie counterculture. Punk fashion often portrays aggression, rebellion and individualism. Some punks wear clothing or have tattoos that express sociopolitical messages. Punk visual art also often includes those types of messages. Many punks wore second hand clothing, partly as an anti-consumerist statement and partly because they were hard up. They expressed their art and their thoughts in their hair styles, their jewelry and their clothes. All were designed to shock.

Punk raged against the cultural and fashion of it’s parents. Punk didn’t belong to that mainstream; already ‘outside’, it raged against the society that had marginalized it. It was the voice of the those most affected by exclusion from mainstream society, poverty, inequality and injustice. Punk ideologists were an assembly of mixed social and political beliefs within the Punk subculture. In its first standing the Punk subculture originally was troubled with ideas such as rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, individualism, free thought and discontent. Punk ideologies are usually reflected through Punk rock music, Punk literature, spoken word recordings, Punk fashion, or Punk visual arts. Some Punks have expressed their radical views through direct action, such as protests, boycotts, squatting, vandalism, or property destruction.

Some of the great punk ‘artists include Vivian Westwood, fashion designer whose clothes epitomised the era – and who today still designs to shock. The Sex Pistols whose leader Johhny Rotten would scare even political leaders because of their influence on the youth of the time. Others such as The Clash

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