Formalism First Pops Its Head Onto The Scene With Georges Braque And Picasso

774 words - 4 pages

piet mondriangeorges braquealexander calderI.FORMALISM.Formalism first pops its head onto the scene with Georges Braque and Picasso. Working closely for some years, these two revolutionary artists draw away from Impressionism and create a new movement known as Cubism. Here modern art leaps away from content and into formalism, a new concept many new artists toy with. With Braque and Picasso at the reins, Cubism becomes very popular. New artists toy with these formalist concepts, from Analytic Cubism to Synthetic Cubism. While Picasso is the more household name these days, history book rarely remember the part played by Georges Braque in the creation of Cubism. If we look at the two pieces compared in the text (p. 1076, Violin and Palette and Ma Jolie) we see the influence Picasso and Braque had on each other's art.In Picasso's Ma Jolie we see the formalist theories already forming. Here the point of departure is predictable only by the title and a musical clef in the bottom left corner. Instead of focusing on the woman the painting is said to be of, Picasso veers off into a color, line, shape study. A monochromatic work, Picasso aims to paint the essence of his point of departure, rather than the literal image.Around the end of Cubism, Piet Mondrian also latches on to the formalist theories of form as content. Beginning by studying Cubism, Mondrian went his own way and founded a new movement, one called De Stijl of Dutch origin. Instead of the fractured style of Cubism, he sought to capture beauty in its most simple essence. The shape and color, the balance of beauty. He began experimenting with this theory to capture the essence of beauty in his work. Composition with Yellow, Red, and Blue is a perfect example of his work, with the elements of the three primaries, the bold black and white lines all put together to symbolize balance. His studies of higher beauty in the medium of paint continued even after he left the De Stijl movementThe third artist of the 20th century I wish to discuss is Alexander Calder, whose kinetic sculpture was also a revolutionary venture into the theories of formalism. By incorporating movement and three dimension space into his work, he came up with an entirely new style. Mobiles also worked to capture the essence of the point of departure, although through movement instead of line or shape.Formalism has influenced art since Cubism, and while content has returned to art, the principles of form have remained. Said to be hand in hand with Modernism, Formalism promotes a deeper understanding of art for the sake of art.allan kaprowshozo shimamotojean tinguelyII.ART AS HAPPENINGS (PERFORMANCE ART)Allan Kaprow, at the beginning of art as happenings, said that since Jackson Pollock, art had come to a new intersection. He said that art was destined to become more like a performance. He began his own adventures with this theory by staging "live art", art/performances that had no intended product. The Courtyard, an example of Kaprow's work, was very symbolic and used many consumer leftovers, another aspect of Performance art that Kaprow had predicted (the study of object from our every day lives).Simultaneously, a Japanese art group had been experimenting along the very same lines. Shozo Shimamoto, for example, was smashing jars of paint against canvas as a Happening. In Paris, Yves Klein invited the public to watch nude models covered in blue paint roll around on a canvas. Performance art was getting weirder and weirder. These abstract, sometimes symbolic Happenings became a new chapter in art history by combining fine art with movement and performance. Spontaneity was the goal of this new form of art, and the experience of making art was the art, not the finished product.Jean Tinguely was also a big supporter of this new wave of art. His Homage to New York machine, a contraption that's purpose was to self destruct embodied the period wonderfully. Spectators cheered as the machine was "set free" and exploded, not quite as intended, requiring firmen to put out the flames. Perhaps the unpredictability was the very thing that made it a success.


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