Years ago, before I was even an art’s administration major, I worked at a fairly large grocery chain on the East Coast. One of the things they drilled into your head from day one was their concept of simplification. Simplification meant everything from labels to removing the apostrophe from their name, but they explained it to us as anything that could potentially make the work environment run smoother or conserve resources.
Eventually I left that job, around the same time that I began taking art history courses. And now here I am, 6 art history courses deep, and my little mind never even THOUGHT to compare these retail and consumer ideas of simplification to Abstraction, or more specifically, Picasso.
On January 29, 2019, Abigail Cain with Artsy published an article titled Picasso’s Bull Prints Still Inspire Apple Designs. The article goes in depth into the history and the process of Picasso’s series of bull lithographs, and then relates it to he process that Apple goes through to create new technologies. Both processes begin by making something that is 100% identifiable and functional, and then continually removing what can be removed to reduce both items to what is minimally necessary for functionality. (I also recently switched from Android to Apple, so I TOTALLY understand the unique aesthetic that they’ve accomplished in comparison to competition.)
Personally, I feel that articles like this are so important. It’s crucial that we continually try to make connections to our past to keep moving forward, and it’s so phenomenal to see Picasso’s techniques and ideals present in the 21st century. This is exactly what is so important for us to identify as artists, art administrators, art historians, etc. What differentiates art and art history from current events and history, is that we try to incorporate our history as much as possible and honor the great achievements that preceded us, rather than throwing rocks in the dark to try to surpass preceding achievements.
I did not grow up with an exposure to art, so when I began my art education, I still didn’t understand HOW artists make art. I knew every technique and medium in the book, but I never understood how someone could fabricate things so ingeniously beautiful and so effortlessly, until I took roughly 3 survey courses on art history. I’ve seen it so many times that an artist is never truly original, because they all influence one another. However without this, artistic movements wouldn’t be collective achievements that focus on the art more than the artist.
Thank you as always for reading my weekly ramble, please feel free to leave me any comments below! Have a great week!
Featured image was taken from the Artsy article that is linked in the text, I own no rights to the image.