The art of the edge of the XIX-XX centuries is interesting by the variety of branches that shocks society and divides it between traditionalists and followers of the non-canonic art. From one side, the artists felt the necessity to break the stereotypes and limits of this sphere, transform it into free and unconditional form with particularly spoiled image of beautiful. From the other side, avant-garde, modernism, and post-modern are so different in opportunities to interpret forms that it automatically obligates an artist to make experiments with styles. Even though the academic design art researchers provide numerous evidence of the importance of specifying on one medium, the artistic innovations tell the opposite. An artist should be an expert in all the media since the high level of combining of the methodological and technological issues with non-material and material aspects should provide satisfying frameworks for him/her.
The variety of professional competences for the separate artist is important from the prospect of material and non-material aspects that tighten artistic and basic human needs. Every author has his/her own style and painting/sculpture script that differ him/her creations from the works of the others. Even a creation in one style can be interpreted and transformed into more forms awaking fantasy and simultaneously developing artist’s own rate. Definitely, here, the understanding of rate is not something material or related to the marketing of an artist. Vice versa, it means new horizons that can open unknown opportunities and help to depict inner visions that were hidden before.
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The first evidence reflecting this position is that art should not be limited neither in style, nor in tools. Nowadays, the world has no boundaries in artistic preferences and opportunities since the new technologies and compositions of computer graphic as well as hand-made design extend the space for creation and applying of ideas. In this context, Kwan uses Fried’s metaphoric statement that “the literalist espousal of objecthood amounts to nothing other than a plea for a new genre of theater; and theater is now the negation of art” (Lecture 05 34). Thus, the first theory concerns ready-made art in the context of postmodernism. Even after extravagant modernism, the post-modern mainstream became a shocking movement compared to humble Renaissance images, which several schools in Europe and on the American continent dictated.
The reason of it is hidden in the concept and sense of postmodernism, which maintains autonomy and spectatorship. Consequently, an important argument of many media proficiency benefits includes technical and conceptual principles of innovative tools usage. An outstanding example was Marcel Duchamp who pointedly avoided the role of the professional artist. According to Will Kwan, “Duchamp found himself in the unusual position of being rejected […] including members of his own family, whose identity as a group was at least in part formed by their exclusion from ‘ofﬁcial’ art” (Lecture 05 10). He practiced the method of public shocking (ready-made), which included only signature of the author and exhibition or museum context for the recognition of original art object. Duchamp tried himself in cubism (avant-garde), Dadaism, surrealism, and other styles.
Hence, any artist has serious preconditions for making his creations more flexible in the context of variety of images and symbols signing post-industrial culture. The epoch by itself gives him/her this freedom and ability to be different and unpredictable. The reason is that art undergoes significant transformation that includes: a) the reorientation of art product to the process of its creation; b) the reorientation of an author to the mass audience; c) the redirection from verbal aspect to physical, gesture, ritual, and other non-verbal communication methods; d) the increase of the computer methods role in the creation of the artifacts. Multimedia art, in this aspect, gives vast space for audacity, which, actually, is widely used. The statement of Paul Wood that “American artists have exhibited everything from vacuum cleaners and discarded dolls to light installations and LED texts in public spaces” (9) seems true in this context. The evidence is Marcel’s Duchamp’s Fountain exhibited in 1917 in the form of a standard urinal. Despite the fact that according to the rules of exhibition, an artist who paid fee had the right to exhibit his/her work, the committee rejected this creation.
The conceptual approach of an artist is not necessary to be repeatable since he/she always has a choice of which style to select in concrete situation. Thus, the second theory belongs to earlier developed modernism, which includes abstract expressionism, concrete art, pop art, conceptualism, minimalism, and other movements. Modernism by itself is flexible and stereotype-breaking. For this reason, a single-style artist seems limited, boring, and exiting modern league. A bright example of minimalism reflected in the course materials is Piet Mondrian’s Composition No.III With Red, Yellow and Blue. The painting has laconic expression, simplicity, and clarity of the composition. The colors and forms are simple and neutral, and the volume is small. Frequently, the modernism is identified with avant-garde, which is understood as an early phase of the first. In some versions, it is a direct successor of the many achievements and discoveries of avant-garde. However, it has no rebellious, abusive, social manifestation character. Thus, modernism is an academic version of avant-garde.
The innovative technologies and tools make the transformation of certain creations possible. What is interesting about it, the public wants to see how it works. Thus, the third theory emphasizes avant-garde, which is oriented on abstract compositions and has the aim to provoke intellectual complicity of viewer, shake its everyday consciousness, and radicalize people outlook. This aspect lies in the basis of the various areas of avant-garde (pop art, Dadaism, Futurism, Surrealism). If one applies to profile studies on this topic, it becomes obvious that the artists do not assess certain styles as trends. According to Paul Wood, “Despite the challenges of the avant-garde, art remained a place for the rehearsal of values central to the ideology of European civilization” (6).
There is a thought, according to which the avant-garde is trying to assert itself as a new word within the meaning of man, society, art, creativity, and morality. Cubism is one of the brightest subcultures of the avant-garde.
Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon represents cubism in clear form. Even though he tried himself in cubism, neoclassicism, and surrealism, the first became his most outstanding style. Indeed, the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon mentioned in the course materials shows quite new style in the art depicting five naked women with minor varieties in manner. There are two right-wing figures with faces that resemble African masks – an exotic composition for Picasso’s time. Thus, avant-garde postulates the idea of global bankruptcy of the traditional system of values. It is a failure of common sense, which exposes the devastating criticism of such melting ideas as law, order, and gradual movement of history.
Lastly, the 20th century provides the idea of how far the auditory can go to observe unusual and extravagant things that can be presented only when an artist uses more than one style. The material and technical parts of implementation of the artists’ ambitions are also supposed to be considered while analyzing their preferences in styles and frequent experiments. The strong argument is the fact that the transformations in art reflect particular demands of society that is ready to pay for exotics and shocking content. One of the most financially stimulating things that encouraged the artists to experiment with their own approaches to art was the ability to be extorted on the trade market.
Indeed, any artist wants his/her paintings to be sold and exhibited. In addition, it was not always an optional thing to define own artistic way. In older times, the artists were serving aristocracy and had to follow its demands and preferences in both manners and characters of painting. In this context, the opinion of Will Kwan seems agreeable: “In the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the making and appreciation of art was gradually separated from the interests of ruling bodies” (Lecture 04 17). It did not mean that the artists did not have space for self-development.
Frequently, the artists had to obey certain technical requirements and frameworks that limited their fantasy even though they were working in provokative mixed styles. For this reason, he/she needed to select concrete manner and follow it to be more humble and less contradictive. An example is the New York exhibition of 1976 where Agnes Martin and Robert Morris presented Installation View along with Carl Andre, Jo Baer, Dan Flavin, and the others. However, this theory is weaker than the statements above since it proves that proficiency in one style can be successful as well. Sometimes, an author becomes interesting when he follows several demands of the initiators and managers of exhibition since they define certain marketing vision that can attract auditory. In this context, Kwan relies on the opinions of several critics mentioning that “This arrangement sets up a dialogue among the individual works, the spaces between them and the overall space of the exhibition” (Lecture 05 23). Even though their work style has minor varieties, it is hard to identify whom the series of canvas or sculptures belongs to because they looks similar. Nevertheless, Martin and Morris worked in cubism virtuously making few lines of dimensions and following the demands of public. It made their sculpture compositions famous.
Thus, the new demands of the artists to eliminate all canons and frameworks caused the revolution in art of the end of the XIX-XX centuries. The era when an artist became able to define what the audience will see substituted the period when he/she had to obey several rules and requests of the privileged people. The avant-garde, modern, and post-modern trends divided society between the followers of old school and those who tried to escape from frames and limits. However, particular frames still affect the way, in which an artist can express his/her vision of reality. The paper rather supports the idea of getting benefits from being an expert in many media since it has both practical and conceptual arguments. They include conditions requiring certain obedience of the artists, technological usage, and freedom of imagination that can be quite helpful for an artist as an individual and auditory requiring new visions.