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Over the years we have not only modified and changed our views and interpretations in defining what art is and what art is not, we have also looked more closely at the tools we use to make art. Whenever art is created with brand new materials or cutting edge technology, you can be sure you will inevitably have to deal with some kind of negative criticism. When the camera was introduced to the art world, photography was rejected as a valid form by the art establishment and it was not until  years later that it gained a bit of grudging respect. It has been no different since then and whenever new techniques are involved any artist attempting something new and revolutionary must know that they will face many questions regarding their work. Using a computer to create art is certainly a new technique and certainly different than painting with a brush or carving with a chisel.  But—is it art or is it not art?

The computer has been developing very quickly and, just as quickly, has pushed its way into the art world. There is a new concept of art, created with a computer, called interactive art. This is where a person is involved with the artwork as it is being created. Whitney Artport is a museum portal to this net art. There you will find many different results of computer-created art. To name a few, there are: Screening Circle, The Battle Of Algiers, The Dumpster, Structures, and Untitled Landscape #5. Here is where one will find interactive art. It might be enough to just like or dislike this art form just by the way I respond to it but—what if I wanted to use the art guidelines that were first conceived a few hundred years ago?  If I was to ask David Hume about computer art, his response might have gone like this: “One must be educated in this field of computers in order to decide whether it is art or not”. On the other hand if I were to ask Emmanuel Kant a similar question, his response may have been: “Does this artwork strike you emotionally, does it heighten your senses when you view it, does it present beauty to you?  If it does, then it must be considered to be art”.

Dumpster

The Dumpster is an interactive on-line piece of artwork. This is a site where information has been gathered from on-line bloggers to create art.  One could make an argument that because it was assembled interactively with others, it isn’t art. Why not take a minute and think back in time to the sixteenth century when painters and sculptors like Titian, Caravaggio, Michaelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci  all had assistants and sponsors when they produced their masterpieces. In actuality, they had people helping them create their art work. I don’t know anyone that would wish to discredit the works of Titian because he had students filling out his large canvases.

Modern artists have considerably extended the practice of painting to include the collage and have incorporated different materials such as sand, cerement, straw or wood for texture. Artists use these materials to express themselves with emotions that don’t have to be recognized but rather to be felt. Could this idea possibly be an extension of the paint on canvas that has lead to interactive computer art? I think so. If we were to take into consideration the philosophies of Hume and Kant, we can easily  apply them to interactive and computer art. I believe that if it is a good piece of art it won’t disappear but will stand the test of time. I think the most important thing is to remember is that art must inspire beauty and create an emotion for the viewer. We must apply the same rule for any type of instrument that is able to create art.

Once computer technology was improved and perfected in the late 1990s, computers were marketed for the average home. It wasn’t long before everyone had a computer in their home and this, in turn, meant there was a need to create programs for the computer. Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrated, Sketchbook Pro, Art Range Corel Painter, Graphics Designer, Dreamweaver, and many more soon appeared on the scene.   These new programs made it easy for people to think that it could be possible that even the average person could create an art form. I think the important thing to note here is that even though you have used the computer and the program to create something, it is the person using the program that is the artist, not the computer or the program.

When using a computer you must first choose a program, become familiar with it, and then be willing to continue to adapt as the program evolves and adds additional changes and revises or your artwork will quickly become dated. Keeping up with the latest technology as each new program change is announced can become expensive. On the other hand you have the capability to edit, delete or eliminate work as you create it.  It’s very easy to produce many copies of your work even though having many copies of your work in existence can devalue an individual piece. I think that it is important for me to feel that the more people that can enjoy my work the better I like it. I believe the more copies in existence, the easier it is to gain a reputation as a professional. The downside is, of course, should you acquire a reputation, you may not want too many copies floating around in the market.. I think this is a personal choice by the artist and, if you are concerned about the ease of reproduction via the computer, maybe you should rethink your choice of medium.

Finally, I feel digital art is an art form that should be considered valid and not dismissed. It takes a great amount of skill, effort and patience, just as traditional methods do. I don’t think one should be judged by the tools they choose to create art, but by the results they can achieve. One still must have an understanding or knowledge of light, shadows, forms, shapes, lines and color. Without knowledge of these fundamentals most art will turn out to be second rate. I think Hume would agree with me here. As I said before art is an expression of what is beautiful to an individual. If you are creating something that is pleasing to the eye and gets to hang on someone’s wall, does it really matter how it was made?

Bibliography

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZysu9QcceM

2.

Philosophy of Art, Hume/Kant, Summary and Comparison.

Web address:

http://www.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/phil%20of%20arthume

and Kant.htm.

3.

A History of Graphic Design by Philip B. Meggs.

4.

Janson’s History of Art, Western Tradition by Penelope J.E. Davis,

Walter B. Denny, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph F. Jacobs,

Ann M. Roberts, David C. Simons.

5. http://artport.whitney.

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I don’t think it’s possible to look at a particular piece of art, whether it’s from the Italian Renaissance, French Expressionism or, closer to our time, Post Modernism, and point to that example as the beginning of a movement.  The 1943 painting above, Broadway Boogie Woogie, by Piet Mondrian, however, sure looks like one of the early examples of graphic art that surrounds us today.  It is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art.  He took the grid pattern of Manhattan and combined it with the music he loved and created a modern vision of Times Square in primary colors that throbs with movement.  He influenced artists like the Russians, Kandinsky and Malevich, who used geometric patterns to create abstract art, exactly the opposite of people like Jackson Pollock who liked to drip around the canvas. As much as I love Mondrian, I think you can carry abstraction a little too far.  I could never make heads or tails of Pollock and I wouldn’t hang Malevich’s “Black Square” in my garage.

A school of art and design called the Bauhaus flourished in Germany in the 1920s until the Nazis closed it in 1933. It promoted the idea that it was possible to create a marriage of art and technology.  It eliminated ornaments and emphasized clean, straight lines by stripping away decorations or distractions and, I think, unfortunately, stripped away much architectural beauty.   It produced architects like I. M. Pei, Phillip Johnson and Miles Van der Rohe, who created many of the buildings erected in our large cities in the second half of the twentieth century.  You may see some of their creations (the damn glass boxes), the next time you visit Sixth Avenue in New York’s midtown.

By the 1950’s, the influence of the Bauhaus had spread to typography.  If you believed that design should not be confined to what was historically correct then you were free to use new ideas when it came to designing typefaces.  In 1957, Adrian Frutiger, a typeface designer, created Univers, a san serif, which grew to a family of 44 faces, including Helvetica. This is the typeface you see displayed in the New York City subway system.

 

With these sans serif typefaces you were no longer bound by the traditional ideas that flowed from the old versions.  If you wanted to communicate quickly, with a minimum of confusion or reflection, you used these new faces that were clear and clean of line and were instantly understood.  You were not slowed or restricted by the graceful serifs of Bodoni or the strong old lines of Caslon.  San serifs could communicate your message without distraction.  It was welcomed by the creators of signs, by corporations looking for logos that provided immediate identification and by anyone who wanted to bring home a message without being distracted by the typeface.  That makes sense to me.

A good example of a san-serif typeface combined with modern graphic design is the map for the London Underground system created in 1931 by Harry Beck who recognized that the main point was communication not geographical accuracy.

The type face used today is called Johnson and was

chosen for the map because the letter “O” is a perfect circle.

The use of graphic design in today’s world surrounds us on a daily basis.  We like to think of ourselves as living in a fast moving society.  We pride ourselves on our efficiency in communicating quickly and graphically.  We have little time to spend reading newspapers, we want our news to come at us with clear emphatic force–immediately. We click from icon to icon to read the bold san serif headlines and, if you think you can ever escape from our super efficient, no-nonsense world, just take a look around the next time you pull into the last stop in the parking lot and see the overhead sign..

I think that the development of graphic art can be seen within the development of modern art, as a kind of progression.  The DaDa movement rejected this, of course; they advocated a kind of anti-art history which lead to Pop Artists like Andy Warhol and his soup cans.  I can appreciate his ideas behind the Marilyn Monroe silk screens but a Brillo Box?  That’s Art? Which brings me, finally, to Post Modernism, which I find to be a mixed bag.  I like the idea of using different media to interpret art.  A painting is fine but, it just sits there, on the wall of the museum. A video installation moves, flows, changes, vibrates.  It appeals to your ears as well as your eyes and, like a painting, it appeals to your mind as well.  You can use a computer, a camera, a tape recorder–you are not restricted to paint and canvas–you have much more freedom.  You want to create a collage?  Get a canvas, a plank, the side of a barn, and add whatever objects you wish.  Use newspaper clippings, dead mice, an old shoe.  Is it art?  Sure, although it’s “Low Art” and certainly not “High Art”.  It may not have been created to stand the test of time but, at this particular moment, I consider it art.  I am not in competition with Picasso—not yet. I can also use a camera to feed a computer and access Photoshop to swirl it around.  I can compose and blend images, change them, and create whatever I think works for me.  It may never be exhibited at the Met but it’s what artists are creating today.  And, about that long, hard apprenticeship that Michaelangelo endured: did you ever try to master Photoshop?

I draw the line on one aspect of this post-modern movement.  When a naked lady takes to the stage and proceeds to cover herself with chocolate all over her body and advertises this action as “performance art” I say—NAH!

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

 

1. Janson’s History of Art, Western Tradition by Penelope J.E. Davis,

Walter B. Denny, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph F. Jacobs,

Ann M. Roberts, David C. Simons.

 

 

 

 

2. History of Modern Art, Third Edition by Daniel Wheeler

 

 

 

3. A History of Graphic Design by Philip B. Meggs.

 

 

 

4. http://www.webexhibits.org/colorart/mondrian2.html

 

 

 

5. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/how-helvetica-took-over-the-subway/

 

Eileen Freely

Art 85

History of Communication

Assignment Three

The Value of Art

Dr

The painting, shown above, was created by Vincent Van Gogh and was finished a year before he died while he was living in an asylum under the care of Dr. Gachet.  It was eventually sold by his sister-in-law in 1890 for 300 francs.  Exactly one hundred years later, in 1990, it was purchased by a Japanese businessman for $82.5 million.  A reasonable person could ask: “What happened during those hundred years to increase the monetary value of that painting from a few hundred francs to many millions?”  I think that is a fundamental question to consider when you look into the subject of the value of art.  Can we ever hope to view a piece of art from an entirely objective position without being affected by the knowledge of how much money it brought in at the last auction at Sotheby’s?  The next time you visit a museum look to see how many visitors flock around the stars of the show.  Check out the crowd around the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. See how few tourists stand in front of the nearby half-dozen or so paintings by DaVinci that are exhibited near the star, on the same wall.  Don’t too many of us value and appraise art based upon the price tag?

Art in the Middle Ages was dominated by religious values and, not surprisingly, the established church was the sponsor of much of it—they had the money.  They commissioned the artists and they determined the subject matter.  The arrival of the Renaissance saw the sponsorship of some art projects shift to wealthy families like the Medici.  In the nineteenth century, even if the Paris Bohemians lacked financial backing, they faced a more formidable threat: the development of photography.  Now you could have a portrait made by a man with a camera and, in a short time, see every line in your uncle’s face, accurately, and without the interpretation of the artist, who was more expensive and took much longer to deliver a finished product.  The artists’ answered by giving their impression of a subject, something the camera was not yet able to do.  How do you now price a painting with one of these photographs?  The camera negative can produce an image over and over again while a painting is one of a kind, an original that can never be exactly duplicated, even by the same artist who, more often than not, was already dead?  The fact is that many copies of a product tend to lower the price while an original must command a higher price if only because of its originality, but Walter Benjamin raises the point that: “In principle a work of art has always been reproducible”.  Richard Kazis thinks that Benjamin saw this as positive and writes that:

Benjamin understood and lauded the potential democratization of the

communications media and the arts implicit in advances in mechanical

reproduction.  A work of art that once could only be seen by the wealthy in a

museum or gallery could be reproduced at little cost and made accessible to

many more people.

But–how much more satisfying it must be to possess an original painting which only you could hold, only you could determine who can or cannot see it.  This brings us to the question of the collector.

Suppose you were a wealthy member of a wealthy family, living amongst friends and associates who existed on the same financial and social level, and you wished to make your mark in the world.  You might become a philanthropist, enter politics, endow a university chair or, you could collect art.  It would have to be something that held value over time and it would have to be portable (the Sistine Ceiling would never fit in the living room).  Most importantly, it would have to be something with a sale price that would impress people over your ability to afford it.  In the early 19th century, Thorsten Veblen called this “conspicuous consumption”.  It may not be all negative.  Think of the sections in many museums devoted to collections given to them by private collectors who accumulated great pieces of painting and sculpture.  One catch: the collections may include Picassos, Turners and Mondrians, but they are always accompanied by a prominent display of the donor’s name and they are almost always required to be shown as a group regardless of compatibility of style or era.

Photography collections do not make headlines.  There are no great thefts, no forgeries, no pigments to be tested and authenticated.  Original negatives are not displayed and prints are, after all, copies, like the woodcuts and lithographs that came before them.  Collectors cannot flaunt photographs, even ones by Ansel Adams, like they can with a Manet and museums of art are thought of as places where you go to see paintings and sculpture.  The Metropolitan is a bit more open and you may visit their collection of musical, medieval armor or ancient Egyptian sarcophagi next time you call.

It all comes down to how we look at art.  Do we continue to exclusively pursue the traditional art-book artist or do we develop an open mind to new forms of art such as computer art?  Don’t misunderstand me.  We should never reject centuries of criticism and observation.  We must have standards to guide us and pillars to support our values and our tastes.  No one suggests rejecting the art of the past.  No one is ready to consign Rembrandt to the dust bin.  At the same time, we should be open to new methods of art creation, not as threats but as new territories to explore even if they don’t come with million dollar price tags.

Bibliography

  1. A history of Graphic Designs by Philip B.Meggs
  1. Jason’s History of Art; Western Tradition by Penelop J.E. Davis,Walter   B. Denny, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph F.Jacobs, Ann M.Roberts and David C.Simons
  2. Benjamin’s “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
  3. http://www.anseladams.com/content/ansel_info/anseladams_biography2.ht

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/6460780/The-Letters-of-Vincent-van-Gogh-revie

Art 85

Eileen Freely

Art 85 History of communications Assignment Two Have you ever come across an interview on television where the person being interviewed started to squirm a bit and stalled for time?  “Now that’s a good question”, he would offer, as he tried to think up an answer.  The question: “Which caused the greater revolutionary change: Printing or the Computer?”  That’s a good question.

The development of printing in Europe occurred in the 15th century and Johannes Gutenberg is usually credited with being the godfather.  He devised a method of making individual letters from molten lead that could be used to compose words, sentences, paragraphs and, eventually, books.  The first book in the Roman Catholic dominated Europe was, of course, the Bible.  Wealthy people could now afford a fine book without the long wait associated with the hand crafted versions hand inscribed by the monks.  Soon, a Venetian printer named Aldus Manutious created a smaller, more affordable version of the Bible and that’s when the revolution really began,

The population could now read their own, individual bible and no longer be dependent upon the interpretation of the priest reading from the hand crafted version.  The diminished role of the pope and the priest was reflected when the Reformation created different and lasting versions of Protestantism.  The weakening of Catholic Rome was reinforced by the printing of many more bibles that became more and more accessible to the general population.

Science also underwent a revolution that was spurred by the invention of printing.  Until the printing press could mass produce scientific information much scientific knowledge was lost for lack of records.  Science books changed things and brought science to anyone who took the time to read about new discoveries.  One could argue that, without the invention of printing, the Age of Enlightenment would never have happened.   Printed knowledge created a basis of information with which to probe further into the unknown.  Books could be used to raise the rate of literacy of the commoner.  No longer would reading and writing be confined to the nobility and the clergy.

If the monks lost their job to new technology, a new class of skilled artisans was created—the printers.  Printing survived new means of communication like the telegraph and the telephone, the radio and the television, for 500 years and the printers had a pretty good runs.  By the 1970s it was all over—the new boss was the computer—and printers had their skills stolen by technology just as the monks did centuries ago.

The computer began to push into the public’s view shortly after WWII and, by the sixties, began to proliferate, printers began to disappear in the 1970’s.       Many companies were looking to this new technologies to enhance there, business, jobs were going to change. In the printing industry, it would take six years for an apprentice to become journeymen. Now with the computer doing all the work, training someone to operate them, would take only eight weeks. The computer entered into the corporate world and change the way things were done. As time went on so did the development of the computer it became more advance and more affordable. Everyone was going to have a computer in there home. This is where the major shift began, with the internet, it changed the world. People are now able to communicate very quickly by E-mail. No more stamps and no more waiting by the mailbox for that letter soon came many web sites full of free information available to you with just a click of a keyboard. Social networking was developed such as: facebook ,blogs and twitter  these are all way to communicate with people around the world. These social networks hold a very powerful position; it was in fact a social networking that helps obama’s campaign win in his resent presidents election.

It’s only in the last few decades that computers spread their World Wide Web.  Just like printers put books into the hands of individuals, computers now made it possible to read the views of wise men—and fools—from all over the world.  You could read it all until your head hurt.  The question raised here: “Is the web used principally to inform?  Or to Entertain?” one may say that the computer is design with the intention to be used by all people there are games for children chat room for teen movie for adults and plenty of information to read. You can even visit with people around the world.

As for that “great question” that began this essay: “Which changed the world more, printing or the Computer, We have had centuries to evaluate the role of printing in history, the computer is still a baby.   I believe it’s too soon to get a definite answer to the question.  Ask it again in about thirty or forty years.

Bibliography                                  1. A History of Graphic Design by Philip B.Meggs.

2. The history of the Computer web address htpp://www.merchantos.com

3. The History of visual communication web address htpp://www.citrinitas.com

4.The history of the printing press

web address http://communication.ucsd.edu./bjones/Books/printech.html

THE BOOK OF KELLS

Like most of the life forms that have ever populated the earth, the human race has been communicating with each other ever since the first amphibians crawled out of the water and made it safely to dry land.  Eventually symbols, developed from cuneiform, turned into alphabets and alphabets became words.  Practicality merged with art in or around 890 A.D. when the manuscript called The Book of Kells was created.  The

illustrations in that book are quite remarkable for that time or, indeed, for any time.  We continue today to marvel at this book and we continue to discuss the nature of the book itself.  We continue to ask the question: “Is it art or design?”  Right here, I want to submit a few ideas as to how we should go about determining whether any given work is a piece of art.  Let’s look at what David Hume and Emmanuel Kant have to say about the matter.

Hume expressed a strong viewpoint.  He believed that the person who is doing the evaluating should have a sense of what constitutes art by using experience gained by looking at a lot of different art in various forms.  The evaluator should possess standards and tastes that he developed from an acquired eye for what is critically thought of as good art.  Hume believed that this is essential when making a judgment as to whether a particular piece of art is fine art.  He also thought that some art could create an emotion of pleasure but–that momentary flush of excitement is not enough to make an evaluation.  He concluded that only people who have developed certain standards derived from being educated, experienced and knowledgeable are truly capable of influencing others when viewing art.  Kant’s viewpoint emphasized feelings, according to the feelings of the individual.  The person responds to the artwork according to the way he feels rather than filtering his observations through the standards of taste that he has developed.  Kant would be more sympathetic to the person who says: “I know what I like when I see it”.

After looking at the philosophy of art expresses by Hume and Kant, it makes sense to include a bit of history about the manuscript itself.  The book was created at the time of the dominance of the Catholic Church and the art of the period was completely influenced by its values.  The Kells manuscript consists of Latin texts of the four Gospels using calligraphy and ornate script and lavish illustrations including many in ten colors.  If you take the time to examine a reproduction you will see many intricate and delicate designs of animals and figures.  From this observation one may conclude, or be convinced, that this manuscript is a work of design rather than a work of art.  However, if you have the opportunity to actually view a page of the work the experience might change your viewpoint.  It could generate emotions and feelings and one could take into consideration Kant’s philosophy and feel that The Book of Kells is art.

There is something to be said for both viewpoints.  If you believe art is “in the eye of the beholder . . .” it must also be recognized that, if the beholder has not made a serious effort to understand and appreciate a wide range of work, the beholder’s opinion is not likely to be of much value to someone seeking a greater understanding of art.  Score one point for Hume.  With that said, I do believe tht people can have a positive reaction to a piece of artwork without having to study for years.  An artist may value the opinion of a person with a greater understanding of art but that does not mean that he only creates art for the critics.

My final judgment of whether The Book of Kells is art or design?  I think that the illustrations were primarily designed and intended to illuminate the text but were executed with such wonderful skill and such glorious color and composition that, in this case, art and design intermingle.  My answer to the question: “Art or Design?”  Both.

Bibliography

1.

C. W. Post Library—Special Collection.

Web address: www.cwpost.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/sc/kells.htm.

2.

Philosophy of Art, Hume/Kant, Summary and Comparison.

Web address:

http://www.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/phil%20of%20arthume

and Kant.htm.

3.

A History of Graphic Design by Philip B. Meggs.

4.

Janson’s History of Art, Western Tradition by Penelope J.E. Davis,

Walter B. Denny, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph F. Jacobs,

Ann M. Roberts, David C. Simons.

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