The Influence Of Abstract Art On Modern And Contemporary Design By


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In the Post World War II era, two of the most influential designers were Charles and Ray Eames, creators of the famous Eames Chair. In 1949 they designed and built their Case Study House No. 8, which they used as a home and studio. The building was considered to represent the height of contemporary architectural design at the time. According to the Eames Foundation, the design was part of a project intended to “express man’s life in the modern world.” The house looked like a Piet Mondrian painting from about thirty years earlier. Mondrian died in 1944. In New York City in 1950, one of the crowning architectural achievements was an award-winning skyscraper known as the Lever House. Heralded as a masterwork of modern architecture, it’s clean lines, use of steel and glass, supremely functional use of space and utter lack of ornament made it a supreme example of Modernist architecture. It perfectly expressed the aesthetic concerns of 1920s Russian Constructivism.

What makes Judd such a fascinating study is that he was not only a minimalist artist, but he was also an architect and a furniture designer. As a proponent of both fine art and the applied arts, he was able to simultaneously manifest his concepts across the various fields in which he worked. In some ways Judd was the personification of the ideals of the Bauhaus, or of Art Nouveau, both of which stressed a simultaneous expression of all the arts working together on the same ideas.

The profound influence abstract art tendencies like Abstract Expressionism, Op Art, Neoplasticism and Minimalism have had on all of the applied arts, from fashion design to furniture design to architecture and beyond, cannot be exaggerated. And happily today we live in a time when we can quickly access the history of both abstract art and design, and see for ourselves the profound effects the aesthetics and philosophy of abstract art exert on design tendencies.

Abstract art designs can be found everywhere, on fashion, furniture, architecture, advertising, and just about every other product of contemporary design. Whether it’s a shoe line inspired by Op Art, champagne flutes inspired by a Dan Flavin installation, or set decoration on a hip hop video inspired by James Turrell, it’s just the latest manifestation of an ancient tendency: designers influenced by art. It’s what the Bauhaus was based on; a total art that encompassed all aesthetic phenomena. And it’s why abstract art is the foundation of so much design in the culture today.

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After World War II, humanity needed designers on a scale more grand than ever before. Much of Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean were in need of rebuilding after being bombed virtually to rubble. And it wasn’t just the buildings and city streets that needed help. A human populace devastated by years of depression, famine and war needed new everything: housing, clothes, transportation, tools, furniture, public gathering spaces, telecommunications devices, and on and on.

The essential difference between abstract art and design is that abstract art, like all fine art, is something to be encountered on a contemplative level. It might be intellectual, visceral, inspirational, or aesthetically beautiful. It’s intended to get us to think, to feel, to consider, to evolve, and to wonder about the meaning of our experiences. Design’s function is quite different. It’s a way of increasing the usefulness or enjoyment of consumer products. Design must serve a function, or it is, as Judd said, absurd.

The biggest innovation in automobile design in 1950 was the invention of the hardtop convertible. What could make more sense? It’s the height of functionality and style, making use of cheap, new, lightweight materials and a growing consumer demand for options. And the sleek design of the cars was truly futuristic, almost exactly as futuristic as 1920s Italian Futurism.

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What was happening in abstract art in 1950s was this: That was the year Jackson Pollock painted “Number 1, 1950” and Franz Kline painted “The Chief.”

Interestingly, we also live in a time when we can see those effects play out in an immediate way. An abstract painter can upload a photograph of her new painting on Instagram and seconds later a fashion designer in Milan can use that image as the inspiration for his new spring line. Or vice versa. A fashion designer can upload a picture of a new dress, and it may have a visceral effect on an abstract artist, who might then make headways into new realms of abstract art. Today everything is able to influence everything else, as our culture goes happily leapfrogging forward to meet the new.

Did Abstract art affect modern design? Absolutely. Piet Mondrian’s De Stijl aesthetic obviously had a profound effect on the Eames’ house, it was just decades after Neoplasticism had been introduced. The Lever House was the perfect constructivist skyscraper; it just came around a few decades after constructivist architecture had introduced itself. And hardtop convertibles were indeed the cars of the future; the 1920s future and the 1950s future.

The world’s industrialization capacity was at an all time high thanks to mobilization for the war, and society’s applied artists found unprecedented opportunities to redesign what would become the new world, and help bring culture back from the brink. Applied artists like architects, furniture designers, fashion designers, automobile designers and industrial designers dove head first into practicality, creating products that could be mass-produced efficiently and cater to the widest possible consumer base.

The prevailing abstract artists of the time were also striving to help grasp what had happened to the world. But rather than rebuilding society, which is not usually considered to be within the realm of Fine Art, they were working to contextualize it. Post-War abstract artists were trying to understand something inherent about themselves. They were confronting the unknown, the subconscious, and the deeply personal aspects of their humanity.

In the 1970s, one of the predominant styles of abstract art was Minimalism, and one of the most influential voices of Minimalism was an artist named Donald Judd. Judd and his contemporaries sought to make work that was fundamentally different than the works of previous abstractionists, especially the Abstract Expressionists. Minimalism eliminated personal biographical elements from the work and sought simplified forms and a pared down visual language.

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Judd was also an avid writer and theorist, and had this to say about the difference between the fine arts and the applied arts: “The configuration and the scale of art cannot be transposed into furniture and architecture. The intent of art is different from that of the latter, which must be functional. If a chair or a building is not functional, if it appears to be only art, it is ridiculous…” That philosophy is evident in the different work that he made.

As innovations in telecommunications advanced rapidly, the speed with which abstract art was able to influence design also increased. Instead of 30 years, it only took about 10 years for Abstract Expressionism to make its mark on the world of design. The aesthetic and philosophy behind Abstract Expressionism came about through a dissemination of the entire process of art making. It was a return to intuition, to the primeval origins of subconscious influences. It was the fulfillment of Abstraction’s ultimate goal: the discovery of originality and the true expression of the essence of the unique individual.

One way to look at it is that a balance was being struck. Designers responded to the madness of war with efficiency and logic. Abstract artists responded to it with intuition and emotion. These complimentary forces both had their effect on the consciousness of Post War society. On one hand, the Western world was becoming as contemplative and existentially profound as it had ever been. On the other hand it was becoming its most materialistic.

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The Influence of Abstract Art on Modern and Contemporary Design, by Phillip Barcio

The Abstract Expressionist philosophy manifested in architecture in the form of Deconstructivism. Deconstructivism sought to achieve an element of unpredictability. Rather than adhering to functional forms that lacked ornamentation, deconstructivist architects sought original forms that overtly utilized ornamental design elements. Many deconstructivist architects designed buildings that themselves looked deconstructed, as if fragmented into sections. Others designed buildings that mimic the gestural aesthetics of Abstract Expressionist art. Though initiated in the late 1950s, the style continues to be utilized today. Its most recognizable adherent is probably Frank Gehry.

By the mid-1960s, design trends were almost immediately imitating trends in abstract art, particularly fashion design. Bridget Riley painted her seminal Op Art work, Movement in Squares, in 1961. Time magazine coined the term “Op Art” in 1964 in response to a show of Julian Stanczak’s work at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. In 1965, the style was so fully rendered in the popular culture it was referenced in a photo spread in Vogue Magazine.



Living green . Add plants in order to your livable space . Add all of them to every room, little or large, few or even many. Plants invariably is an economical means to accessorizing your current space and adding coloring and texture. Not simply are plants beautiful yet many can clean home air and balance dampness . They can absorb impurities and remove harmful fumes from the air. Not any home should be with out these wonderful greens!

Add a clinging pot holder to your own kitchen. Kitchens are supposed to be warm in addition to inviting. We spend substantially of our time within them whether it end up being for preparing meals, providing meals or entertaining. Some sort of hanging pot rack pays to elegance. Kitchens are designed to feel as even though they are in continuous use and a suspending pot rack certainly helps make one feel this approach . In addition to seeking so wonderful, (there are extensive sizes and styles available) additional cupboard space under is currently freed up to be able to store other items. Almost never has anyone complained involving having too much storage space.

Make use of area rugs to become softer hardwood floors. Throw area rugs give warmth and can easily add great texture, coloring and personality to your own living space. Hardwood floor surfaces are beautiful and simple to take care of but they be short of the comfort that carpeted floors offer, particularly within the cooler months. Place rugs can also put fun and functionality to be able to your living area . Use a number of of varying patterns plus fabrics together to display your character. Or put several rugs of typically the identical pattern and textile , or different textures yet the same color. Typically the possibilities are endless. A person can change your place rugs to reflect the particular seasons using warmer shades and fabrics for chillier months and lighter kinds for the warmer occasions of the year. Right now there are many lovely natural cotton , washable area rugs which in turn are suitable for those properties with children. There definitely is no reason precisely why a residence with young kids cannot become a trendy one.

Slip into anything a tad bit more comfortable!. Slip addresses frequently get an awful rap but they happen to be truly wonderful things. That they can act as a methods of changing your furniture`s look to reflect the particular seasons. These easily taken off coverings improve a complex look without constantly stressing about people dirtying or perhaps spilling on your pieces of furniture . Slip covers are perfect for rooms used usually by children. Over a new white slip-covered couches provides air of an everyday , comfortable, easy yet complex elegance.

Car paint or wallpaper your bookcases. This instant pop involving color will brighten in addition to re-energize any room! Really amazing how something thus simple as a layer of colorful paint could instantly energize and enhance your space. This built/in bookcase would be very simple and ordinary minus the brilliant blue interior. Probably the most basic and most inexpensive method to transform a boring place is always to apply a layer of paint somewhere unpredicted . Bookcases are an perfect place to start as you don`t need to color a large area. Some other fun places to include a new pop of color consist of painting fireplace mantels, the particular insides of closets, hallways and ceilings.

Fluctuate your workout. Mix upward patterns and textures. Combine up old and innovative , expensive and cheap. There`s nothing wrong with putting family heirlooms alongside your own modern couch. Great inside decorators will tell an individual that one of typically the most important aspect to be able to decorating your house is that that reflects who you will be , your personality and your current style. A vintage Chippendale office that was your grandfather`s tells a story. That tells the story regarding your past. The contemporary couch you became adoringly obsessed with and basically had to purchase furthermore tells a story, your current story, and there is definitely no reason the current and past can`t co-exist beautifully together. Exactly the same could be said for fine art. You might not would like to place an artwork by Salvador Dali on a single wall next to some sort of Monet, but there`s simply no reason why they cannot get in the same place together. With fabrics no matter if it be furniture, mats or pillows, varied colours and patterns brings friendliness and texture into the being space.

Paint smaller bedrooms in softer, lighter colours to make the room think larger. The living space above is an excellent sort of how to be able to maximize a small liveable space . A room of this specific size has got the tendency to be able to seem cramped, nevertheless the huge windows, light colored wall surfaces and ample utilization of mirror not only reflect the particular natural light pouring within from your doors and typically the windows however the use associated with mirrors also provides optic illusion of space, producing the room seem larger than it actually is definitely . Conversely, darker colors will certainly make a room think smaller. Even with typically the abundance of natural light-weight and the strategic hanging on to of the mirrors, this kind of room in a deeper shade could have an extra boxed-in feel with it.

Wicker baskets. Straw-plaited baskets are an inexpensive and elegant solution to include storage to any area . Baskets can be utilized to store and screen books, architectural and interior decoration magazines, toys, towels and even blankets to name a new few. Place a few little wicker baskets for the counter-tops in your kitchen in order to beautifully display and retail outlet your fruit and veggies.

Employ what you already include to decorate. Most of us include items in our property , probably packed up within boxes somewhere and haven`t given them a 2nd glance. Your house needs a few accessories. Rather than running in order to the store, take a new good look at that which you already have. Trays, solid wood , acrylic, metal or sterling silver can be on best of luggage racks, teas carts, trunks, bedside furniture and coffee tables with regard to extra texture and sizing . Arrange candles on these people , frames or pile guides on top of all of them . Plates can be strung to create wonderful wall membrane art. Art from little one`s books can be presented and hung in nurseries, children`s rooms or their particular bathrooms. You will get amazed at your talent with what you currently have!

Make use of decorative mirrors to incorporate quick light to your livable space . As seen above, wall mirrors may also be used to make a new small space feel much larger . For larger rooms, or even any room with some sort of more limited amount associated with natural light, mirrors positioned directly across from your glass windows , will add instant lighting . Decorative mirrors may also be used within lieu of art to be able to fill empty wall room . Large or small, wall mirrors add light and sizing to your livable space.

Whether or not you`ve just moved and looking for a speedy , little home pick-me-up, or perhaps perhaps something better, right now there are some well-known interior design tricks that designers make use of that you simply too can quickly do with minimal energy and cost. Sometimes the particular smallest things associated with finest impact. It could become digging in a reflection , a painting, a lamp fixture or even a flower. You may want to ease your walls, brighten a new room, or exercise . heat to your living room. Look into these clever style as well as discover how they can motivate you!

IMAGE COLLECTIONS : The Influence Of Abstract Art On Modern And Contemporary Design By

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