Cultural Changes: the Effect on Art

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  • Topic: Abstract expressionism, Art movements, Modernism
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  • Published : May 6, 2010
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Cultural Changes: The Effect on Art
You’re an artist during WWI, bombs exploding everywhere, innocent people even children losing their lives, how will you express your intense anger and sadness towards the events that are taking place? The frustration towards war and other social, political or cultural changes can bring about different responses from different people. When it comes to art, art movements are created out of the need for people to communicate their reactions to these changes. Whether they admire them or despise them, their central goal is to show how they feel about them. I’m going to start out with the art movement Dadaism. This movement was roughly between the years of 1916-1924. Some of the major artists were Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, George Grosz, Francis Picabia and Man Ray. The Dadaism movement was a protest against the brutality of the War and the strictness in both art and everyday society (Dadaism, n.d.). Artists were so fed up with everyday life that they did everything they could to go against the norm when it came to art. Whatever art stood for at the time, Dada represented the complete opposite. If art was intended to have a message, Dada went all out to have no meaning. “With the order of the world destroyed by World War I, Dada was a way to express the confusion that was felt by many people as their world was turned upside down” (Dadaism, n.d.). These artists used any public medium they could find to figuratively spit on nationalism, rationalism, materialism and any other -ism that they felt contributed to a senseless war (Esaak, n.d.). They used this as a way to protest the war and other social injustices. They felt if society was going to handle problems by going to war, they didn’t want anything to do with society or its customs especially when it came to art. “Using an early form of Shock Art, the Dadaists thrust mild obscenities, scatological humor, visual puns and everyday objects (renamed as "art") into the public eye” (Esaak, n.d.). One of the artists even painted a mustache on the Mona Lisa and made obscene notes underneath. The community was completely disgusted, which the artists found very encouraging because that was the reaction they were aiming for. Dada was planned to instigate an emotional reaction of shock or anger and once it no longer did, it became useless. My second movement is Futurism. This movement was roughly between the years of 1907-1944. Some of the major artists were Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Kasimir Malevich, and Liubov Popova. “Futurism was presented as a modernist movement celebrating the technological, future era” (Futurism, n.d.). These artists wanted to represent art in terms of the technological age. They hated middle class virtues and the ideas of the past. They also wanted to represent art completely different from the sappiness of Romanticism. Futurism glorified war and supported the development of Fascism. It criticized traditional conventionalism, demanded social changes, and pointed out all of the faults of a corrupt government (McLaughlin, n.d.). The Futurist painters used repetition of lines, wide range of angles, brilliant colors, and flowing brush strokes to create a dimension of time and the illusion of movement. (Futurism, n.d.). Futurists thrived on the imitation of speed, noise, and machines (McLaughlin, n.d.). It embraced everything that the new world was creating and used new techniques and technology to produce the work. The nature of futurism was intended to instigate public anger and amazement, to stimulate controversy, and to attract widespread attention (Pioch, 2002). My third movement is Fascism and Socialist Realism. This movement was roughly between the years of 1920-1940. The fascist building style conveyed power and control (Order from Stone, n.d.). This is something that is completely characteristic of Nazi principles. It was also another way for Hitler to show his power to the world. The buildings needed to be...
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