Modernism

Hello everyone! For this weeks discussion I wanted to delve into Modern Art. This movement made its way to America along with the people who helped develop the style. Modernism took time to develop in popularity being that it was initially rejected by most patrons and was not thought of as fine art but too abstract.

One work I appreciated because of the fact that it was so misunderstood is Nude Descending A Staircase, by Marcel Duchamp. This composition is done in a cubist style of painting. This is not a typical nude figure that most patrons would have encountered but it depicts the motion of walking quickly down a staircase in a non-traditional way. This is done in a cubist language meaning it is composed in a muted color pallet of browns and yellows. The subject matter itself is broken up into many different abstract geometric forms. The nude is almost completely unrecognizable from its many different view points. Even though patrons were not fond of the painting, the media caused so much traffic to this piece because of their outrage of the piece. Many artists in Europe also hated Nude Descending a Staircase; the Cubists thought it was Futurist, because it suggested movement, while Futurists thought it was Cubist, because it had a fragmented composition and monochromatic color scheme.

Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 - Wikipedia

Duchamp was the type of artists who tried to evoke humor and beauty into works that would have never been viewed as weird or fine art. For example, in Bicycle Wheel, 1913, Duchamp was fascinated by the thought that attaching a bicycle wheel to a stool could be considered a work of art. This was an entirely new take on finding humor in ordinary objects. This was a shocking piece to patrons who did not see the refined wit within the the work. The Bicycle Wheel was one of Duchamp’s first ready made objects. This was used to describe the art form of using mass produced objects within art, rather than its intended purpose.

International Paintings and Sculpture | Bicycle wheel

Another artist whose work I appreciated was John Marin in Lower Manhattan from the Woolworth, 1922.  This piece is the artists interpretation of the streets and buildings of Manhattan. It depicts almost complete chaos through its quick rendering. This explosive perspective of Manhattan reflects the human energy that is bestowed on the city. There is a large yellow “starburst” in the center of the composition which was sewed on by Marin, to represent the World Building in lower Manhattan.

John Marin, Lower Manhattan, 1922 (NY MOMA) | Art, American art ...

Modernism itself is a global movement dedicated to society and culture. This representation of the world around the artists can usually be viewed in an abstract style of art. 

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