Intro to Art Movements

During the first couple of weeks of the Ideas and Concepts module we were introduced to the various art movements, art schools and styles that have occurred throughout history. We were asked to pick three art movements out to research further. The three that I chose were Land Art, Dada and Pop Art. As someone from outside the art world and someone who doesn’t have much interest in fine art, these three movements interested me because of their shared stances against established artistic traditions.

Dada was a movement formed during the First World War in Zurich, it was in opposition to the destruction and violence of the war and the society that started it. It aimed to go against the traditional artistic values of the time and the Nationalism and materialism that was seen as a cause to the war. The movement came in a lot of different forms including, collages, performance art, photography, music, and literature. But they all shared the underlying theme of anti-establishment and being satirical in nature. Some notable artists where, Hugo Ball, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Arp and Francis Picarbia. A Notable work is Marcel Duchamp’s reproduction of Mona Lisa with facial hair drawn on.

Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q., 1919

Pop Art which emerged in the mid-1950s in Britain and late 1950s in the US and was another movement dedicated to fighting against the established norms of art. A lot of young artist found their art education and museums to be unrepresentative of the world around them. It was art for a mass audience and aimed to highlight and elevate popular culture. It moved away from the sources of inspiration associated with high art and took inspiration from everyday household items and imagery in mass media. Notable artists include, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist.

Andy Warhol, Gold Marilyn Monroe, 1962

Land Art also known as Earth Art is the movement that I found most interesting. Unlike a lot of the other movements or styles, land art often cannot be created in a studio or workshop. Land Art is art that is directly created in the environment and can involve the use of natural materials or terraforming the landscape to create the art. Like the above two movements it was in opposition to the established norms of the art world, this time it was moving away from Museums and galleries and to move people into nature. The works range from simple pieces like Richard Long’s A Line Made by Walking, made by walking back and forth in a field, to Robert Smithson’s Spiral jetty, where tons of rock and soil were excavated and moved. Notable artists, Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, Richard Long, Michael Hiezer. Notable works, Spiral Jetty, A Line Made by Walking, Double Negative, Sun Tunnels.

Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels, 1973-76. Great Basin Desert, Utah.

These three movements where interesting to read about and definitely align with some of my views on politics and art. I don’t have much interest for fine art and the conventional Museum setting so to see movements that break away from those conventions was intriguing. I most closely connected with Land Art as I have multiple passions/interests to do with the natural world. I enjoy landscape photography as well as being in nature, making art focused on the natural world engaging.