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Impressionism, Haitian Art & Minimalism
Transcript of Impressionism, Haitian Art & Minimalism
Curator(s): Selena Lafferty & Michelle Bologa
Researcher(s): June Dickerson, Michelle Bologa & Selena Lafferty
Writers: Catherine Jones (PR), June Dickerson (PR & Prezi), Michelle Bologa (Prezi)
Presentation: Michelle Bologa, with editorial assistance from June Dickerson
Beard, Dorathea K. 2014. "Claude Monet." Salem Press Biographical EncyclopediaResearch Starters, EBSCOhost (accessed February 15, 2015).
“Edgar Degas.” Creative Commons License. Access date Feburary 2015. http://www.edgar-degas.org/.
"Monet sold for record $41.5million Impressionism at its best'." The London Evening Standard (London, England), 2008. Business Insights: Essentials, EBSCOhost (accessed February 17, 2015).
Sayre, H. (2012). A World of Art. Upper Saddle River: NJ. Prentice Hall, Inc.
Wilner Cherizol. [Internet] . 2015 Vassar Haiti Project. Available from: http://thehaitiproject.org/browse-by-artist/wilner-cherizol/ [Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Rigaud Benoit. [Internet]. 2015. Haitian Art Hopkins. Available from: http://www.haitianarthopkins.com/benoit.htm [Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Rigaud Benoit. [Internet]. 2015. The Chicago Gallery of Haitian Art. Available from: http://www.chigoha.com/artist-galleries/rigaud-benoit/ [Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Rigaud Benoit. [Internet]. 2015. galerie Macondo. Available from: http://www.artshaitian.com/Pages/haitianartbenoit.html [Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Hector Hyppolite. [Internet]. Mystical Imagination. Available from: http://www.waterloocenterforthearts.org/hyppolite/ [Accessed 18 Feb 2015]
Hector Hyppolite. [Internet] . The African American Registry. Available from: http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/hector-hyppolite-haitian-legend [Accessed 18 Feb 2015]
Wolf, Justin. [Internet]. 2015. TheArtStory.org website. Available from: http://www.theartstory.org/movement-minimalism.htm [Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Frank Stella. [Internet]. 2015. The ArtStory.org website. Available from: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-stella-frank.htm[Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Glenn, Constance W. [Internet]. 2015. MoMa. Oxford University Press. Available from: http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=5640 [Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Dan Flavin. [Internet]. 2015. TheArtStory.org website. Available from: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-flavin-dan.htm [Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Daniel Flavin. [Internet]. 2015. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (SRGF). Available from: http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artists/bios/704 [Accessed 14 Feb 2015]
Swan Lake, Op. 20 : Act IV By the Lake: No. 28. Finale: Andante - Allegro Agitato - Moderato e Maestoso - Moderato
Tangente au Yanvalou 4:50 C-Force Tchaka Mizik Classical
The Kiss 2:49 Philip Glass The Music of Undertow (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) Soundtrack
Selections purchased and retrieved from Itunes
edited/merged using Garage Band on MAC to agree with the Prezi format
Impressionist Art, Haitian Art, and Minimalist Art bring awareness to the different and fascinating styles that create artwork. Claude Monet and Edgar Degas inspired and influenced Impressionism Art like no one else in the 1860s. Claude Monet was a French artist that achieved perceiving nature on canvas and considered one of the most influential Impressionist artists. Edgar Degas was a French artist and one of the original founders of Impressionist Art and preferred to be called a Realist. Degas mainly painted pictures of beautiful dancers and nude women
Haitian Art started in 1943 and portrays many different views of African and French culture deeply rooted to religion, as well as income. Multiple layers of thick paint are used to create abstract forms of humans and Vodou symbols. There is a saying of Haitian Art, “80 percent Catholic and 100 percent Vodou”. Wilner Cherizol started his artistry in 1978 and captures everyday life in Haiti by painting street vendors, markets and marina scenes. Rigaud Benoit was involved in the early Haitian Art movement. Hector Hyppolite is a Vodou priest and Haitian artist with no formal training. With his religious Vodou background, his art typically depicted Vodou scenes. Hector Hyppolite eventually received international attention in New York for his highly complex and intuitive art.
Minimalism Art is a movement that started in the early 1960s. The style is a cross between paintings and sculptures using industrial material, geometric forms and units. The Minimalists attempted to avoid metaphorical associations, symbolism, and spiritual references and focus on not inside the work but on the surface. Frank Stella’s work was in Minimalism and Abstract art and went from two dimensional paintings to incorporating non-painter elements to his canvases, and large sculptures and printmaking. Dan Flavin is an American Minimalist artist that created many sculptures and objects with fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lights brought a unique presence into art and showed how light could be portrayed as interesting art.
Art transcends around the world, but brings worlds apart together for one common goal, the display of creativity and beauty in many different styles and forms. Impressionist Art, Haitian Art, and Minimalist Art were created in different time periods, but display through their art, no boundaries or limits. They created the keys to unlock the doors for artists to freely expose art lovers to nontraditional artwork. The art genres exhibited within, prove the art styles are set "Worlds Apart" as opposites in how they contribute to the art community on a global scale. They are not only founded on different continents, and one island, but they possess qualities that directly oppose one another. Impressionism is rich with emotion and natural elements, Haitian is a conflicted mix of art that is beautifully constructed by a war torn and impoverished culture, and Minimalism is the representation of an art form that is a disconnection from the artist, or emotions and any deeper suggestion the art might try to convey or inspire. We have learned that while these genres are opposite, there is something powerful to be gleaned from each one.
The Impressionist movement began in the late 1800's and embodied an artisan style that broke from traditional and classical methods of painting that were popular in the Renaissance era. This method was born by a collaboration of like minded painters, who made strides to paint real images of the world, while employing rich, bold colors, and layering them with rich textures and loosely portrayed imagery. The Impressionists worked to capture natural light and its effects on the subjects the painters depicted in their work, with the intention of infusing those images with a sense of true reality to how such people and places would look in our ever changing world. For the purpose of this exhibit we focus on two artists who largely influenced this genre, Claude Monet & Edgar Degas.
Claude Monet was a key figure in the Impressionist movement, whose work helped to transform art as we knew it in the second half of the nineteenth century. Monet was encouraged to stretch the rules of art by the marine painter, Eugene Louis Boudin. Monet's work featured the landscapes and leisure activities of Parisian life. His long life objective was to portray the variations of light and atmosphere brought on by changes in the hour of the day or fluctuation of seasons. Monet's representation of light was based on his knowledge of the laws of optics as well as his own observations of his subjects. He showed examples of natural color in his art works by breaking it down into its different components, just as a prism does. Early in his career, his ambition was to be a historical painter, prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties he changed course, bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life. Monet is characterized by the use of discontinuous strokes of color meant to reproduce the effects of light. Monet struggled with depression, poverty, cataracts and health problems throughout his life, but his vibrant and insightful works of art would not lend to this. He died in 1926
Edgar Degas was a French artist who was famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. Although he is considered one of the founders of the Impressionist movement, he rejected the term and preferred to associate with the genre of realism. Degas began painting early in his life, and turned a room in his home into his art studio. Although he was expected to study law, he showed little interest in the practice. In 1855 he received admission to Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he studied drawing under the mentorship of Louis Lamothe. In the summer of 1856 he traveled to Italy to study the techniques of classical art forms of the masters of the Renaissance era. He would continue the study of classical works, copying them to gain experience, until he met Edouard Manet in 1864, while copying at the Louvre. Degas was able to work in comfort, due to the fortunes of his family. This would change after the death of his father, when it became discovered that his brother had wracked up considerable debt against the family fortunes. Degas would have to depend on art proceeds for the first time in his life to support himself. As the years progressed, Degas became more reclusive. He never married, for fear that any kind of personal criticism from a spouse would be more than he could tolerate. This choice and the loss of several friends, due to his political beliefs and personal seclusion, led him to loneliness and regret in the last years of his life.
Any shift in the idea of what is fashionable and acceptable in art has always been met with some form of resistance and criticism. The following painting,
, gave artists of the movement of Impressionism their name. Impression Sunrise was one of Claude Monet's contributions to the exhibition of 1873, held at the Musee Marmottan Monet, in Paris. The artwork was scorned as the images within the work were deemed incomplete and too loose in the handling of the subject matter. Critics expect the work to behave as what was acceptable in those current art circles. However, this harsh criticism fueled the artists associated with the movement, and they considered the scorn a badge of honor. Monet had a high regard and appreciation of the involvement that light plays in the subject of his work. He cared more to depict how changes of the light would lend to the natural blurring of images and the way our eyes adjust naturally to colors. Monet would capture the same natural setting in several works, each consisting of a different color palate. His attention to the adjusting hues of a single location, based on different times of the day, would not be captured in such a manner until the invention of photography was developed further in the craft, many years later. However, Monet captured in art what no camera can capture, and that is the single impression of an image, with precise natural lighting that is gradual over moments of time, partnered with speckles of paint, sweat and consistent effort, in order to achieve authenticity to the hour and landscape provided.
Claude Monet moved to Giverny, France in 1883, and his homes and gardens became the chief sources of inspiration for the latter part of his work. Fellow artists would enjoy his property and paint alongside their colleague. Monet's interest in capturing the process of gradual perceptual changes influences by the adjustment of natural light sources, reached its peak with the series,
. In each series, Monet would paint the same site again and again, to record how the colors would change with the time of day. He rented storage space, and would change the canvas he was working on, to develop multiple works on each canvas, as the light shifted. This means that he would be working on several canvases in a given day, depending on the hour and the natural lighting.
When the Franco-Prussian war broke out in 1870, Degas enlisted, and there was little time left for painting. During rifle training it was found that his eyesight was poor, and those problems would continue to bother him the rest of his life. After Degas returned to Paris, and after the death of his father, he began to support himself solely by his art works. He took a leading role in creating exhibitions for himself and other artists. He found this endeavor to be telling and did not readily celebrate the exhibition's success at challengng the status-quo. His strong social perspectives caused him to originally reject the movement of the Impressionists. He did not agree with the majority of their painting style, although he did admire Edouard Manet. He became interested in photography in the late 1880's, which helped him to avoid the practice of painting subjects outdoors in their natural settings. Art historian, Frederick Hartt believes the difference in Degas work, compared to other impressionist painters, is that his work "never adopted the Impressionist color fleck" of loose images, and he chastised painting outdoors. His choice of materials, such as the rich oil pastels, give his work a soft, looser sense of imagery, with a more literal depiction of the subject matter.
If it was not for the invention of photography, Degas may have had to bend his personal rule of preferring to paint solely indoors. Snapshots such as Beach Scene, were images frozen in time by use of photography, and reinvented on canvas in Degas' studio. This is a practice that many modern painters use to produce their art, but there were limits to the variations of changing colors and hues that changes in light produce. His personal attitudes and stereotypes were reflected in his various works. His painting series of dancers portrayed athletically built beautiful forms, while his paintings of laundering women were portrayed as thickly proportioned women, with a lackluster presence. However, the stereotypical imagery would not effect the color palate. Degas had become a master at the use of oil pastels, as well as oil on canvas. The dry medium of the oil pastels were applied in layers, which lent to the work complex textures. Later in life he would use the pastels to capture his women bathers. The textured lines of his pastel work would become more scribbled and rough looking, while he would blend his backgrounds and keep them more simple.
Wilner Cherizol is the embodiment of the Haitian tradition of the relationship and mentoring of new Haitian artists and their development within the Haitian art genre. Mentoring new artists within the community by family members or close community connections, is the way that Haitian artists become "informally trained." The development of the Haitian people is more limited than in the art communities elsewhere in the world, which is influenced by the remoteness of the island, and the poverty and strife which is a part of daily life in Haiti. Wilner Cherizol was a natural tie, because he is recognized as a painter of the impressionist style as well as a Haitian artist. His work reflects the culture of his people, and his work ranges from images of the lives of Haitian fisherman to the gathering of people in village settings. He was taught and influenced by his cousin, Ernst Louizor. Both Cherizol and Louizor are impressionist painters, as opposed to Benoit and Hyppolite, who are surrealist painters. Wilner Cherizol's work is a good example of the kind of art that is typical for the region. It features a rich use of vibrant colors, to match the vibrancy of the Haitian people and to celebrate their resiliency as a culture.
Rigaud Benoit is considered one of the first Masters in Haitian Art. Born in 1911 in Port-au-Prince, he worked as a shoemaker, musician and taxi driver in his youth, before becoming an artist. When the Centre d'Art first opened in 1944, Benoit came to the center with a piece of painted pottery, but told Dewitt Peters that his friend had painted it. The pottery was purchased and Benoit was encouraged to bring his "friend" to the center. Benoit would make several visits to the center, each time bringing more pottery, before he finally admitted he was the artist responsible for the work. Benoit was one of three artists who were commissioned to paint murals for the Cathedral of Sainte Trinite in Port-au-Prince. His mural, Nativity, was painted in the main apse of the cathedral. In the Christian murals, the Haitian artists paint the God heads as black men (as they see themselves, reconciled with their deity). Even their voodoo images are black faced men. I think it is important to note that there was resistance to the murals painted in the temples being painted to depict Haitians, which should be viewed as insult to the Haitian people. A temple in their country, and the first expectation of the art to be painted there was that it should include the images of white men. Opinion had later changed when the murals were completed, as the colorful images in their splendor was hard to criticize. Sadly the Cathedral of Sainte Trinite was badly damaged due to an earthquake in 2010, and most of the art work was destroyed. The piece we have displayed,
, in our presentation is a reprint of the original work. Rigaud Benoit was married to Hector Hyppolite's daughter, and it is assumed that Hyppolite's surrealism style had eventually influenced Benoit's work.
In the 1940's, Dewitt Peters, an American school teacher arrived in Haiti. Dewitt Peters was amazed to find an abundance of raw talent on display by so many of the local people. The Haitian people worked from their own understanding of artistic expression and by working with local materials. The majority of Haitian artists were people who never went to a formal art school, and in most cases were uneducated laborers, who worked all kinds of trades within their communities. Most Haitian artists would work their day jobs, come home, and then as a hobby, would produce the marvelous examples of indigenous art work we celebrate in this presentation. Painting as a hobby is a way that the Haitian people capture the images of the daily lives of their culture and the symbols of their religious beliefs. In an effort to support the artistic efforts of the Haitian people, and to bring more attention to their existing art works, the Centre d'Art was founded in Port-au-Prince in 1944. The center would become a place that would discover new Haitian talent, and work to mentor artists and bring their art work to the global art community. The center grouped Haitian Art into the "Native Art" genre, which is also known as form of "intuitive art." We have selected two of the more celebrated artists of this movement, Hector Hyppolite (189401948) and his son-in-law, Rigaud Benoit (b. 1911). In the spirit of all Haitian artists, we have also selected Wilner Cherizol to be featured as well. Cherzol represents the common artists, many of whom remain undiscovered, and are largely self-trained, as were most of the artists who became known as the "Masters" of this movement. He embodies a tradition found within the Haitian art community, that fosters a close knit mentoring of new artists by members of their families or communities.
Hector Hyppolite is the most popularly recognized figure in Haitian art, who received world wide recognition from art critic and writer, Andre Breton. Hyppolite was third generation voodoo priest, and his paintings depict the heroes and muses of voodoo, and are filled with images of religious symbolism. Despite the crudeness of some of his works, Hyppolite paints with a richness of colors which lend to the dramatic and expressive power of his art. Hyppolite considered himself connected in a spiritual marriage to "La Sirene" and therefore was drawn to paint sensual images through the influence of female "spirits." He used handmade brushes of chicken feathers and furniture enamel, along with his fingers to create his work, and achieve his desired textures. Prior to being discovered, he worked as a shoemaker, a harvester, and struggled to make a living as a house painter. It was his hand painted door work on the Mont Roius, that led Dewitt Peters to Hyppolite. Hyppolite was offered a place to work at the Centre d'Art and the chance to make art his career. Once he arrived at the center, the art work poured out of him, 16 pieces in one week to be exact. Hyppolite said that he knew in vision that he would be discovered and that he would have chance to express his religious views though artistic expression. He considered Peter's discovery of his talent to be voodoo fate. When Haiti was colonized in the early 1800's the French colonists tried to force Haitian people, who had become enslaved, to convert to Catholicism. The slaves would depict the voodoo characters, "loas" as Catholic saints in order to disguise them and continue their practice of voodoo in secret. Once the slaves were permitted to keep their religion, the Haitian voodoo presence in art no longer had to be painted in secret. However, the influence of Christianity would always stain the Haitian culture to some degree. This is why there are many pieces of Haitian art that depict images of Christianity and Voodoo in a single body of work. The estranged marriage of two religions is evident throughout the culture.
, was chosen as a reflection piece regarding the Haitian people and their culture as it pertains to their art. The Haitian people struggle through extreme poverty and strife in their daily lives. In some parts of the country, people are so impoverished and starving, that they resort to eating dirt to obtain a small source of minerals their body needs. The cultural and political struggles the Haitian people face is largely absent in the artwork they create. This is a testimony to the resiliency of the people of Haiti. In the art, it does not seem to matter that their daily realities are not mirrored by the happy, colorful images they produce. There is an absence of anguish in the work, but instead a sense of pride about themselves and how they choose to view themselves, simply happy in being alive. It was difficult to dig into researching this genre, and the group assumes this is the case because of the nature of the Haitian people to be more secretive. The country has been exploited, and continues to suffer as a result. There are limited resources online, and even the art curators who represent the art are limited in what information they can provide interested parties. Research has proved easier as we chose to reflect on the history of Haiti, and used its few examples of artists, as we sought to understand the art. In
, Hector Hyppolite provided us with a day in his life, which would be the typical day of any Haitian man, who was a house painter who is struggling to make a living for himself.
Frank Stella had an early opportunity to meet and become inspired by the works of Jackson Pollack, Franz Kline and most importantly, Jasper Johns. John's geometric paintings of flags proved to be largely inspirational and drove Stella to experiment with many forms of simplistic artistic application. Frank Stella was a key figure in American Modernism, helping spur the Minimalist movement. Following his
, Stella began to adjust his monochromatic styling, and thus began to add other mineral elements to his artwork. Additionally, he began to fashion geometrically unique canvas shapes which were non-traditional to rectangular shaped canvas. During his career he has continued to explore new artistic avenues, to include printmaking and sculpture. In 1970, Stella was the youngest artist to be exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and then 17 later after, received a second retrospective, thus becoming the only living artist to earn this distinction.
After making his first few sculptures, Flavin never worked with any other medium. Through constant experimentation, he learned how to create powerful effects from the lamps, a medium which limited Flavin to working with a few colors and standardized lengths and diameters, since his preferred medium used was typical household lighting. In creating one of his more popular pieces,
Green Crossing Greens
, Flavin employed his knowledge of the differences in the color palates for lighting. For pigments, the primaries are red, yellow and blue, whereas for light they are red, blue and green. (Green mixed with red, makes yellow light). In the work, Flavin demonstrated that green is the most brilliant type of fluorescent light, and it is so intense that in some areas of the installation, it appears to be white. Flavin dedicated the work to the Dutch modernist painter who was famous for his use of the traditional primary color palate, one that does not include the color green as a primary, but instead, secondary color.
The light installations of artist Dan Flavin contributed a body of work that ranged from intentionally restrictive work fashioned in playful colors, to muted and antagonistic. Flavin was raised in modest household and was never formally trained or nor did he graduate from art school. By 1961, Flavin started to make sketches for sculptures that incorporated electric lights. He prepared his work like a draftsman in light. Flavin planned his rough sketches on paper with a plan to use three-dimensional shapes in space that radiated the color of the bulbs he chose. The lines on paper were demonstrated by the straight luminescence of the lighting. Flavin gave attention to the scale of the light, and became experienced in the knowledge of the primary color palate of lighting, in order to better manipulate the glow and hues the lighting would emit throughout the empty space surrounding the installation. Flavin was unhappy to be labeled a Minimalist artist, and created an illusion of relevance to his work by giving his light sculptures literary titles after people he admired. Despite the personal dedication, there was not always a direct connection between the theme of work and the person named for the art.
Bridge Over a Pool of Water Lilies, 1899.
Oil on canvas, 36 1/2 X 29in. Signed and dated.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY,
H.O. Havemeyer Collection.
Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer
Grainstack, (Sunset) 1891.
Oil on canvas,
73.3 x 92.7 cm. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection, 25.112.
Impression, Sunrise, 1872.
Oil on canvas.
19 1/2 x 25 1/2 in. Musee Marmottan, Paris
Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874.
Oil on canvas.
54.3 x 73.3 cm. The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917. Cat. 1050
Water Lilies, Morning: Willows 1916-26.
Triptych, each panel 80 x 170 in.
Musee de L'Orangere, Paris, France.
After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself, 1889-90
Pastel on paper, 26 5/8 x 22 3/4 in.
Courtauld Institute Galleries, London
Samuel Courtauld Trust
The Glass of Absinthe, 1876.
Oil on canvas, 36 x 27 in.
Musee d'Orsay, Paris
Beach Scene, about 1869-70.
Oil (essence) on paper on canvas. 47.5 x 82.9 cm. Signed.
National Gallery, London
Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917. #NG3247
Blue Dancers, 1897.
Pastel, 67 x 67cm.
Pushkin Museum, Moscow
10 x 12
8 x 10
Oil on Masonite, 20 x 16 in.
Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach
Florida Private Collection
Agoue & La Sirene, 1983.
Oil on masonite, 32 x 24 in.
Augoun Chango, 1944.
Oil on hardboard, 20 x 28 in.
Arte del Pueblo
General Baron Vodou Ceremony, 1945.
Oil on masonite, 25 x 30 in.
Oil on hardboard, 30 x 24 in.
Yellow Building, 1947.
Tempera on board, 15.5 x 19.5 in.
Savvy Collector, KS. USA.
Empress of India, 1965.
Metallic powder in polymer emulsion paint on canvas, 6' 5" x 18' 8"
MoMA, New York, NY.
Gift of S. I. Newhouse, Jr. MoMA #474.1978
The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II, 1959.
Enamel on canvas, 7' 6 3/4" x 11' 3/4"
MoMA, New York, NY
Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund. MoMA# 725.1959
Untitled (Rabat) from X+X
(Ten Works by Ten Painters), 1964
MoMA, New York, NY
Gift of Harry C. Oppenheimer (by exchange)
untitled (in honor of Harold Joachim) 3, 1977.
Pink, yellow, blue, and green fluorescent light.
8 ft square across a corner.
Collection of Stephen Flavin © 2012
Stephen Flavin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
the nominal three (to William of Ockham), 1963.
Cool white fluorescent light, 8 ft. (244 cm) high.
Dia Art Foundation. Stephen Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
greens crossing greens (to Piet Mondrian who lacked green), 1966.
green fluorescent light,
first section: 4 ft. high, 20 ft. wide,
second section: 2 ft. high, 22 ft. wide,
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Panza Collection, 1991
Stephen Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Monet often worked on large scale canvas outdoors and would finish the work to completion indoors, within his studio. His primary objective was to capture the true essence of nature as accurate as possible, an effort that could only be achieved if you worked outside in the elements. The luminescence found in his paintings is said to be attributed in part to the fact that Monet would prepare his canvas with a light-colored primer, as opposed to the dark primer used in traditional landscape paintings. In his final series, a work that would last years, Monet paints the gardens of his home in Giverny. His works are mural sized, and painted in sections of two and three canvases lined up side by side. Shortly after his death, the French Government installed his Water Lilies collection at the galleries at the Orangerie in Paris, where they are still housed to date.
"Minimalism" was born as a self-conscious movement in New York in the early 1960's and has evolved over the last half century to include numerous types of artistic media. The artists, whose work influenced the new movement, were intentional to create artwork free of emotional or literal associations, any form of symbolism, or suggestions of self-expression. The Minimalists created artistic objects in the forms of paintings and sculpture. The work was characterized by geometric forms and industrial materials. The artists wanted the work to speak for itself, free from a connection to the creator of the work and capable of standing alone in anonymity. The movement is said to be a revival of a mixture of Russian Constructivism and Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades. Duchamp's ready-mades inspired the early artists to imagine that art could be constructed from simple pre-fabricated materials. Much of the Minimalist genre is a direct reaction against Abstract Expressionism. An artists work should demonstrate intention to remove all signs of composition and evidence of a literal guiding hand, if the work was easily associated with this genre. In our presentation we feature two artists, Frank Stella and Dan Flavin, who are both considered great contributors to the Minimalist movement.
After graduating college, Frank Stella moved to the Lower East Side of New York, and fashioned an art studio in a former jewelry store. Shortly after setting up shop, at the age of 23, he began to draw significant amounts of attention from the art world. His early work and first series,
Black Paintings (1958-60)
, were a direct shift from the Abstract expressionist painting style he once employed. Stella covered canvas with black house paint, smoothly applying it to take care to leave defined pinstripes in repetitive, parallel patterns. This striped pattern work was once described by Stella as forcing "Illusionistic space out of the painting at a constant rate." His style of work broke from the thick and textured brush strokes of the Abstract Expressionist style. He intended the monochromatic work to speak for itself, as "a flat surface with paint on it - nothing more." Stella's
were an important body of work that became a catalyst for Minimalist art in the 1960s. The Minimalists created abstract works of art which featured the singular use of geometric and industrial-style content which was stripped of all emotional content.
"What you see is what you see." ~ Frank Stella
Flavin's playful use of light is seen in a more multicolored blend of effects in the untitled (in honor of Harold Joachim) 3 (1977), in a grid of 8-ft colored bulbs mounted in a corner. The center piece created an aura of multiple colors, which appear rainbow like, due to their installation order, which influences the blends. What is markedly a Minimalist trait in his style of work, is that Flavin creates these richly textured light effects without leaving a trace of himself, or of any special technique that would place a reference beyond the art work itself. Dan Flavin once said, "[My work] is what it is, and it ain't anything else."
By 1968, Flavin had developed his sculptures into room-size environments of light. That year he had outlined in sketch work for an installation of an entire gallery in Kassel, Germany. Flavin would preconceive his installation plans ahead of time, and wait to create the works until they were sold, to eliminate production and storage costs. As a result, the artist left behind more than 1,000 unrealized sculptures when he died in 1996.
gallerie BDLJ 2015