Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Task 4

For this analysis I have decided to steer away from modern art and focus on a piece of postmodern art instead.

The artist I have chosen for this is Tracey Emin and the particular piece of work I would like to concentrate on is her installation piece ‘Everyone I have ever slept with 1963-1995’ (1995)

Postmodernism is a late 20th Century art movement that began after the modernism era, which was dated around 1860-1960.

Modernist artists believed art had a meaning and that life could be made better through art and rational thought. The modernists were obsessed by technique and purity of form and were true to their values such as truth to materials, form follows function, less is more and art for arts sake.

By the mid 1960’s people became more and more disillusioned about the meaning of life and art due to the holocaust and the Vietnam War and lost confidence in the modernist’s values. An onset of crisis in confidence lead to the postmodern era being born.

Postmodernism is often said to be a reaction to the modernists strict rules and can be characterised widely by the introduction of parody, pastige and irony coupled together with complexity, chaos and bricolage.

New image-based technologies such as screen-print, television, computers and video played a huge part in the rise of postmodernism. These new techniques enabled artist to create something fresh, new and different from the art being produced previously, these new techniques also meant they could create works quickly without having to rely on the traditional time consuming craftsmanship used before.

Another huge impact on the visual arts throughout the postmodern era was the growth of consumerism. Entertainment and novelty was now required by the modern consumer and an ability to experience art in a more pro-active way together with a desire to be shocked lead to artists and curators to explore more about art as a product. This was achieved by constructing new ways of viewing art, for example using video and installation and by the creation of new subject matters.

The Young British artists were particularly guilty of using these new ways of creating art and in the case of Emin the subject matter was the key ingredient to her success as a postmodern artist.

The piece ‘Everyone I have ever slept with 1963-1995’ is a small blue tent that Emin appliquéd with the names of everyone she had ever shared a bed with from the year she was born up until it was created in 1995.

People often mistake the names for people she has had sexual intercourse with one review stating 'She's slept with everyone – even the curator'! However this is not the case.

There are 102 names on there in total including ex boyfriends, family members, friends and the two foetuses she aborted.

The use of a tent for this work suggests the notion of sleeping and the shape of the tent could be described as a womb like structure in which a person could curl up into the foetal position to sleep, wombs and foetuses are subjects which appear in many of Emin’s artworks. The shape of the tent is also reminiscent of the Margate Shell Grotto where Emin is said to have spent a lot of her childhood time.

To view the work you have to crawl inside the tent, lie on your back as if sleeping and look around the inside to find an explosion of visual and textual bricolage. This has been created by appliquéing letters to the side of the tent using pieces of material that have meaning to the artist, this could be something given to her by a friend, an old blanket from her childhood or material from an old family sofa, all of which add to the autobiographical aspect of the work.

The work, which Emin refers to as ‘the tent’, is one of two seminal pieces she has created and became quite an iconic piece. It was first exhibited at the ‘Minky Manky’ show at the South London Gallery in 1995 and was later destroyed in a fire at the East London Momart Warehouse in 2004.

Emin has since refused to recreate the piece stating "I had the inclination and inspiration 10 years ago to make that, I don't have that inspiration and inclination now ... My work is very personal, which people know, so I can't create that emotion again — it's impossible."

Wikipedia. (2010) Everyone I have ever slept with 1963-1995. [online] Available at:–1995 [accessed 24 March 2010]

Everyone i have ever slept with 1963-1995 (1995) Tracey Emin.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Task 3


Produce a preliminary bibliography (in Harvard) of 5 books, from the Leeds College of Art library, that you think may be useful. Include a library reference also (e.g. MIL 709.12)

Bergdoll, B. & Dickerman, L. (2009) Bauhaus (1919-1933): Workshops for Modernity. New York: The Museum of Modern Art. (library ref: 709.43)

Harrison, C. & Wood, P. (eds) with Gaiger, J. (1998) Art in Theory 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. (library ref: 709.034)

Hughes, R. (1991) The Shock of the New. London: Thames and Hudson. (library ref: 709.06)

Kennedy, A. (2006) The Worlds Greatest Art: Bauhaus. London: Flame Tree Publishing. (library ref: 709.43)

Sim, S. & Van Loon, B. (2001) Introducing Critical Theory. Cambridge: Icon Books. (library ref: 306.1)

Task 2

The five key points that the authors are trying to communicate are:

The advent of modernisation meant that massive advances in science and technology were taking place at an alarming rate. This together with the forces of modernity, a social and cultural condition which was a response to the changes taking place around the world, challenged the mental state of the population with some people feeling exhilarated and hysterical with excitement whilst others were left feeling depressed and alienated.

New found wealth and social status coupled with a vast majority of humanity now being ruled by time and the machine, meant that there was also becoming a much more prominent division between the classes of people, with the bourgeois fearing but also needing the working class people. The working class had a shared ideology of a better life for all using the notion of a shared nation, race and culture as their catapult. This was to become known as socialism and it soon became apparent that it was very much a socialist V’s capitalist world.

The effect of modernism on the art world was only really to become apparent once the cubism movement began. Before this there was an attempt for art to be created which was ‘new’ but could also stand alongside the traditional art of the past.

The concept of expression using the notion of the self was explored, however the biggest effects of modernism on the art world were not really felt until after the First World War.

The development of a new pictoral language meant that a concern began to grow in wider social forms regarding art’s realism. Those who were unable to grasp the new pictoral language saw the art for its aesthetic value while others saw that the work remained a signifier and that its duty was to decode and maybe even change the modern world.

This conflict of opinions was rife in the respect of the cubism movement and was to continue for many years to come with cubism marking the turning point for modern art of the nineteenth century and the future of modern art in the twentieth century.

Harrison, C and Wood, P. (eds.) (1997) 'Art In Theory: 1900-90', Oxford, Blackwell, pp. 125-9.

Notes from task 2

Write no more than a few paragraphs but try to include what you se as the five key points the authors are trying to communicate about modernity and various modernist subsequent responses to the condition of modernity.

Include a bibliographic Harvard reference for the text at the end.

Notes from text

First decade of 20th century saw attempt to create art, which was ‘new’ but also could stand alongside traditional art.

A concept of expression – notion of the self – self-portraiture using nature as inspiration whilst under urban circumstances.

Development of cubism ensued Paris was at the forefront of the forces of modernity.

3 related movements of the modern –

Modernisation – process of scientific and technological advance.

In developing societies the new was overtaking the old at a rapid pace.

Modernity – the social and cultural condition – experience, awareness and adaptation to change. Both a social and inner experience.

Modernism – a reflection upon the representation of the new.

Experience cannot be grasped until it is represented.

Responses to the modern condition.

Pessimism at the increase in population and the urban concentration fuelled by increasing control by the machine. A sense that life was losing depth and freedom – humans were being imprisoned in ‘the iron cage of modernity’.

Some places were at first delayed with the changes but then even more rapidly changed when they felt the need to catch up.

Some people overcome by hysterical exhilaration while others a mix of alienation and apocalypse.

Depression and exhilaration 2 sides of same coin – both responses to the effects of modernisation.

The effect on art before 1st world war is slight.

Modernisation not totally a technological fact also social – new social relations between people – particularly classes of people (capitalist modernisation)

The culture thought of itself.

Ideology of modernisation – acute and contradictory forms of bourgeois response to bourgeois society.

Bourgeois needed and feared the working class, who had ideologies of a shared nation, race and culture, who were excluded from capitalist wealth – socialism.

Socialists believed art should be used to change that modernity.

Cubism with its still life’s and portrait figures gave little clues to the modern storm brewing, became a thing in itself, rather than depicting the modern life, on first reflection could think it had internalised its modernity.

However this may have been seen by those who were unable to grasp this new pictoral language, the picture still remained a signifier.

Mattered less what subject artist addressed.

Meaning of cubism remained focus for conflict – a decoration of the surface (aesthetic) and the true reality (meaning). Prising apart 2 aspects of cubism – its continued referentiality and an autonomous picture surface. One side – art whose duty to decode modern world, the other – art that transforms itself.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Lecture notes 13.1.10


1960’s - beginnings
1970’s – established as a term (Jencks)
1980’s – recognisable style
1980-90’s – dominant theoretical discourse
Present – tired and simmering

After modernism
The historical era following the modern
Contra modernism
Equivalent to ‘late capitalism’ (Jameson)
Artistic and stylistic eclecticism
‘Global village’ phenomena: globalisation of cultures, races, images, capital products.
15 July 1972 @ 3.32pm – modernism dies according to Charles Jencks (due to the demolition of the Pruitt-lgoe development, st Louis).
Le Corbusier ‘plan voisin’ 1927 – ideal plan for future housing, perfect fusion of ecology and urbanism. Looks good on paper.
Postmodern architecture – arrogant, not genuinely concerned with solving social problems.
Urban splash – postmodern architectural practice.
AT and T building New York – popular postmodern building – designed to be fun and playful as a building.
Guggenheim museum, Bilbao, Frank Gehry (1997)

Book – J.F Lyotard – The postmodern condition (1979)
Incredulity towards metanarratives = totalising belief systems.
Result – crisis in confidence.
Directionless society trying to pick its way through a shattered world – very pessimistic.
Postmodern aesthetics.
Chaos, complexity, not truth to materials.

Book – Learning from Las Vegas – Robert Venturi (1972)
Postmodern city is dystopia
(Blade runner) the future in the postmodern city – technology has gone so far people can’t work out if they are human or robot anymore.

At the end of the 1950’s the purest form of modernist painting was …
Postmodernist artists – lampooning the modernist art world.

Book – Postmodernism or cultural logic of late capitalism – Fredric Jameson.
Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century, Marshall McLuhan.
Memphis group – the most important graphic designers in the postmodern era.

Crisis in confidence
But also – freedom, new possibilities, questioning old limitations.

A vague disputed term, po-mo attitude of questioning conventions (esp. modernism)
Po-mo aesthetic = multiplicity of styles and approaches.
Shift in though and theory, investigating crisis in confidence e.g. Lyotard.
Space for ‘new voices’.
Rejection of technological determinism?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Seminar notes 3.2.10

Defining the avant-garde.


Understand the term avant-garde.

Question the way art/design education relies on the concept of avant-garde.

Understand the related concept of ‘art for arts sake’

Avant-garde – advancing guard.

Art and design – progressive, innovative, popular discourse.

Annotating critical text!

Photocopy sections of books.

Carefully reading and highlighting text.

Ring words that are important or you don’t understand to look up later.

Draw links.

Scan in and put on blog.

Kitsch is rubbish culture.

People in high culture tending to sway toward kitsch too.

Snobbery to kitsch.

Seminar notes 9.12.09

Ways of seeing episode.

Sells lifestyle


Stops you being happy with existing life

Emancipation = consumption.

The life sold through advertising is incompatible to real life, under the process of a commodity culture the images of the dream appear to be real.

Commodity fetishism


False need

Symbolic association

Ideology and stereotype

False need

Makes us think we need something we don’t

Novelty – newness, up to the minute, new = good. To have the highest status.

Symbolic association

Belonging – branding, social inclusion, have something to have acceptance.

Idols – desire for a dream life or status.

Commodity fetishism

Define ourselves through things, out understanding of the world is defined by what we do and own.

Alienation of our life, relationships are distanced. The reality of the thing is irrelevant.

Fetishism the substitution of a thing for what is real.

Reification – a tendency under commodity culture.

Things stop appearing as things and take on a different meaning, personality, more human.

People under commodity culture become more objectified.

Ideology – system of ideas, a way of thinking about the world. A system of ideas or beliefs that disguise the true nature of the world in a society. Ideas are created by the dominant strata of society but portrayed as being ideas of everybody.

Religion – a system of ideas or beliefs.

Eg – beliefs of a political party. Making, distortion or a selection of ideas to reinforce power relations trough a creation of false conciousness.

Hershy bar – reification, giving an inanimate object a personality and humanity,

Marlboro fags - symbolic association. Ideology, loading the cigarette with ideas of the American dream – west, masculine.

Silk cut – false need, silk – more smoother milder, richer.

Silk cut 2nd ad – symbolic association, silk and purple associated with status. Sexual.

Scoundrel perfume – commodity fetishism, reification, masquerade ball, aimed at men.

Lecture notes 9.12.09

Photography as something neutral

Joseph nicephore niepce (1826) first surviving photograph.

James Natchtway – records events as a witness.

Frances Frith (1857) entrance to the great temple.

Photographers like an invisible eye. Image used to capture an idea of the orient. Life in Africa as the western eye wants to see it.

William Edward Kilburn, (the great charlist meeting at the common) photographer distanced from the image, recording an important event.

Roger fenton (1855) into the valley of the shadow of death. Romantisised, artistic subjective element, view the image as something other than an objective record. Battle field.

The decisive moment. Photography achieves its highest distinction.

Henri cartier bresson. Influenced by the photographers eye, not neutral.

Jacob riis (1888) bandits roost. Construction, not an authentic representation, photographs slums. Horrors of lower class slum life.

A growler gang in session (robbing a lush) 1887. Staged, (lush is a drunk) gave them cigarettes to pose for him.

Lewis hine – document American sum life. Left wing social reformer.

F.S.A photographers 1935-44. Director ray stryker.

Depression – 11 million unemployed. Mass migration of farm labourers – oakies.

The photograph as both photojournalism and emotive lobbying tool.

Images designed to stir our emotions – political propaganda.

Margaret burke – white – sharecroppers home 1937. A record of adject poverty. Images on wall are adverts of the haves, use of a child etc there to promote an illicit response.

Russel lee – interior of a black farmers house.

Dorothea lange (1936) migrant mother, looking into ¾ distance. Thoughtful, thinking ahead, worried about the future. Pictorial analogy, composed.

FSA – individual photographers working for the government archives of all photos taken. Photography used to document different races and disabilities.

Cesare lambroso – photographed criminals to define criminal facial characteristics.

Robert capa – Normandy france 1945 – war conflict photography, dramatic blurring – capa shake, famous for a style.

Magnum group – international coalition of photographers. Founded 1947 by cartier bresson and cappa. Ethos documenting world and its social problems.

Internationalism and mobility, nick ut (1972) accidental napalm attack.

Don mccullin (1968) shell shocked solider banned from going to falklands war by british government.

Robert haeberle (1969) – split second after photo was taken the people were shot.

William klein – st Patricks day fifth avenue 1954-55. Documentary photographer – walk down street, push people, elbow them and take photo, gave props and bribes. Explicitness key to a more objective truth.

Bernard and hilla becher. Photographed water towers etc, series of ground rules, conceptual art.

Richard long 1981, a long line and tracks in Bolivia, transistent, uncommodifiable. Could only experience the art if you were there.

Documentary photography reason why conceptual art failed.

Allan sekula – fish story (book) lukaca ‘theory of the novel’ andreas gursky (1999) ‘99 cent’.

Gillian wearing – signs that say what you want them to say 1992-3.

Jeremy deller- the battle of orgreave 2001 – restaged miners strike. Miners strike – English civil war in the modern time.

Critical realism, restaging reality, testements from people who were there.

They offer a humanitarian perspective. They tend to portray social and political situations. They purport to be objective to the facts of the situation, people tend to form the subject matter. The images tend to be straight forward and unmanipulated.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Seminar notes 2.12.09

Essay notes

1500 words, Harvard referencing. Can be tailored to an area of interest within vis com.


1) Parks and open spaces, recreational spaces etc?

Bauhaus etc

Walter Gropius (1923) the theory and organization of the Bauhaus.

Filippo tomassi

Look at work of the actual people. (books)

2) 2 examples = 2 different pieces of work.

Changing cultural force, post war affluence, disposable income 70’s US.

Define a shift in society or culture and show how that effected the design of the time.

3) postmodernism characteristics





references modernism and tries to do something else.

David shrigly.

Books – the end of print, david Carson.

The postmodern condition, lyotard j.f (1979)

Jencks, c. (1986) ?

Recommended books

Introducing, and books for beginners.

Very short introductions books

Critical introductions or critical readings (new media) - massive journal archive.

Applying ideas from books to analyse pieces of work.

Book – a short guide to writing about art, sylvan barnet.

The whole woman, greer, g (2000) London transworld.

Always put last date,

…………..(greer, G. 2000:9)……….[….] – to edit stuff out of a quote either make it into 2 quotes or square brackets and dots.

Jenkins, D.F (2006) ‘edward hopper and british artists’ [internet] U.K, tate research. Available from [accessed 30.1.2007]

Portfolio task

Choose one of the essay questions. Come up with a provisional bibliography, in Harvard, of 5 books. Add a couple of sentences explaining why you feel each may be relevant. Include a library reference also (e.g 735.1)

Lecture notes 2.12.09

Late age of print

Term comes from media theorist marshall mcluhan, began around 1450.

Gutenbergs printing press.

First piece of new technology that enabled mass print.

Electronic book – reader takes on role of author.

Hypertext – blue text used on web.

Hypermedia – many media, pics, sounds. Feeling of being lost in knowledge, empowering but incomplete.

Definition of mass media modern systems of communication and distibution supplied by relatively small groups of cultural producers, but directed towards large numers of consumers.

Newspapers, cinema, ads, tv etc.

Thinking critically about the mass media.

Negative critisism.

Superficial, uncritical, trivial.

Viewing figures measure success, audience is dispersed, disempowered.

Encourages the status quo (its conservative) resistant to change cos of its pandering to the viewer.

Encourages apathy.

Power held by the few motivated by profit or social control (properganda)

Bland, escapist and standardized.

Encourages escapism, seen as a drug which anaesthatises us.

Positive critism of the mass media, not all media is of low quality.

Social problems and injustices are discussed by the media.

Creativity can be a feature of mass media.

Transmission of high art material reaches a broader audience.

Democratic potential.

(knowledge can reach us, we can engage with it and have an effect on the world)

book – art in the age of mass media, john a. walker.

Can art be autonomous? (exist on its own in a vacuum)

Should art be autonomous? For some yes.

Book – Thomas crow, modern art in the common culture.

Art gets appreciated by mass media.

Sensation exhibition 1997 – royal academy.

New media are changing the way we consume and read text and image.

Theorists of the mass media have different viewpoints seeing it as either negative and a threat or pleasurable, positive and democratic.

Much 20th century art has used mass media – often to be critical of it.

There is a serious question in art theory as to whether art should be autonomous or not.

Lecture notes 25.11.09

Advertising, publicity and the media.

Time square – new york – bombardment of publicity images.

25 million print ads created every year.

Consciously or unconsciously effect us. Mass advertising.

Karl marx 1818-1883 ‘communist manifesto’ 1848. ‘Das capital’ 1867 philosopher and social critic, theorist of social class structure.

Marxists argue we live in a consumer culture.

In commodity culture we construct our identities through the consumer products that inhabit our lives.

This is what stalwart ewan terms the commodity self idea of being an individual and shaping yourself by what you own.

Judith Williamson author of decoding advertisements.

Instead of being identified by what they produce.

Lives will be better by buying things as apposed ot what we do.

Symbolically assosiate a product with an ideal life.

The Stanley range ad – traditional ad, selling itself on its attributes.

Pipe ad – sells itself as a new trend.

How does commodity culture perpetrate false needs?

Aesthetic innovation

Planned obsolescence

Novelty (3 characteristics common to all false needs)

Makes us believe we need things that we don’t.

Products that are designed to breakdown – a trick to keep you spending.

Commodity fetishism

Basically advertising conceals the background history of products. In other words the context in which a product is produced is kept hidden.

Bastardisation of humanity.


Products are given human associations.

Products themselves are perceived as sexy, romantic, cool, sophisticated, fun.

Frankfurt school (set up in 1923)

Herbert marcuse – author of one dimensional man (1964)

Commodity culture manipulates us and makes us think one dimensionally, it stifles us.


Subsidizing the media quality


Positive sides to advertising

It seeks to make people unhappy with existing material possessions.

It potentially manipulates people into buying products that they don’t really want.

It encourages addictive, obsessive and acquisitive behaviour.

It encourages consumers, especially children to want products and brands that they cannot afford causing feelings of inadequacy and envy.

It uses images that encourage us to buy products and brands that have the potential to be unhealthy.

It encourages unnecessary production and consumption therefore depleating the worlds resources.

Seminar notes 18.11.09

Paris – a city designed to be modern.

The city – the locus of modernity.

Media – new technologies.

Modernity – class divisions – more noticeable, becomes obvious.

Change of working patterns – work takes over your life, free time is rationed.

Time standardized – because of trains.


Modern – to be moder is to be new, cutting edge, contemporary, good, positivity, improvement.

Modernity – the condition of living in the modern. 1790 ish – 1960. Modern society.

Modernism – crosses every genre of society, individuals subjective responses to the modern and modernity.

Alexander cabonel ‘birth of venus’ 1863.

Not a response to modernity, fantastical, kitsch, traditional style, doesn’t aim to be new.

Venus – god of love, flirtatious pose.

Manet ‘olympia’ 1863, doesn’t look.

Clear class divide, shes a prostitute, banned from the salon, shocking, a critique of what art was, challenging pose, strong, experienced woman.

titans venus of urbino 1538. Fantasy of the ideal – male.

Gustav corbet – origin of the world 1866.

Photographic composition, no face, just tits and fanny.

Picassos – les demoiselles d’avignon 1907.

5 prostitues from his favourite brothel, based on African masks he stole, a new style, new aesthetic, inspired by sequential images.

Callibotte – le pont de l’europe 1876.

References new idea of flaneur, shows class divide, the new replacing the old, the bridge revels in its modernity, new technologies, inventions.

Caillebotte – jeune homme (1875)

Caillebotte – a balcony (1880) overlooking the new world.

A style that tries to be new, pointelism, made up of dots.

Spare time is controlled, on a break from the factory in the background.

Degas (1876) l’absinthe.

Underside of modernity, reflection of not all good.

Alfred Stieglitz – ‘the hand of man’ (1902) shows the trains, lifes quicker, seccularisation – mans world now, not gods world.

Negative – look what mans done.

Positive – look how weve changed the world.

Alfred Stieglitz (1903) flatiron building. Controlling nature and dominating.

Giacomo balla – visual attempt to capture the speed of a car going past.

Futurist – key modernist movement.

Gets rid of all the conventional rules of typeography.

A new technique of printing onomatopaic . thought war was the ultimate modern thing.

Herbert bayers san serif typeface – form follows function.

Bauhaus – embraces new technology and materials, practical, functional, impersonal, international.

International language of design that can be understood by anyone.

Modernism in design

Anti historicism

Truth to materials

Form follows function



3 photographs of things found on travels which are modernist.

Lecture notes 18.11.09

Graphic design – a medium for the masses

Areas for consideration –

Graphic design versus fine art.

The origins of graphic design.

Graphic design versus advertising.

Graphic design as a tool for capitalism.

Graphic design as a political tool.

Graphic design and postmodernism.

Graphic design and social concience.

Pears soap ad – does just putting type on a painting make it graphic design?

Persuades somebody of something.

Graphic design has an ethic to it.

Henry de Toulouse-lautrec, artist/designer.

Charles rennie macintosh , architect/designer.

Saville Lumley poster – illustrative doesn’t embrace graphics.

Bauhaus – one of the first institutions to teach graphic design, important in cases of typeography, page layout etc.

Art and power Europe as dictators.

Images relate to war.

Collage effect – joseph renau. Simplistic, use of type, striking.

Pere catala I pic – striking.

Abram games, key british graphic designer, celebration of 6yrs since war.

Paul rand – branding capitalism, advert, use of type etc.

Paul rand – iconic logos.

Peter saville – factory records, new order etc.

New order blue Monday, biggest selling 12” of all time.

Neville brody – designer behind the face magazine (1980’s)

David Carson – surfer, American, one day decided to be a graphic designer.

Peter blake – designed st. peppers lonely hearts band cover and band aid do they know its Christmas.

Designers republic – Sheffield based take graphic design as an industry in itself.

Julian house (for intro)

Mark farrow (farrow design)

Spiritualized album – ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space (1997)

Spirit of the age – zeigeist

Jonathon barnbrook – bastard typeface.

Naomi klein – anticorporate writer.

Oliviero toscani – bennetton ads.

Barbara kruger – I shop therefore I am.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Lecture notes 11-11-09

Contextual studies lecture 11.11.09

1760 – 1960 – Modernism.

(modernist era)

Modern – to make something new, to make something better.

Project of building, of the new, better.

Progressiveness, positive thinking.

1851 – advent of industrialization.

Image in its day looked new and radical. Considered modern but not modernist, traditional style in a modern era.

Paris – sight of modernity, most advanced city at the time.

Urbanization, idea of the city as a figure, dense, populated, quicker.

Revel in their modernity, built around 1900’s.

Whole world invited to paris in 1889 – exposition.

All buildings created at this time try to be modern, unapologetically, built with modern materials, steel etc. revels in its industriality/modern aesthetics.

Urbanization – shift from the agrarian, from country to the town. As a place for our existence, came to the city for work factory work replacing rural work. Working shifts, changes in communications, roads built, telegraphs, telephones, railway, steam ships. 1912 – world time standardized. Before this lived a carefree life, now being ruled by the clock.

Trottoir roullant – invented for paris exhibition. Women would get skirts stuck in it, people shocked at how quick they could get around the city.

Process of rationality and reason.

Enlightenment = period in late 18th century when scientific/philosophical thinking made leaps and bounds. When people embrace technology, science, knowledge and ditch the old way of thinking.

Secularization – look at ourselves instead of god.

The city becomes a product of our culture.

The Eiffel tower, dominating, imposing – symbol of modernity.

Impressionists were one of the first artistic movements to paint the city – experience of urbanity – more interested in the modern city.


Paris 1850’s on = a new Paris, old Paris architecture of narrow streets and run down housing is ripped out. Haussman (city architect) redesigns Paris. Large boulevards in favour of narrow streets – made streets easier to police = a form of social control.

Also the ‘dangerous’ elements of the W.C were removed.

Subject of images is figure of the city.

Psychologically did have an impact on people, scared them, everything happened so fast. People alienated, reserved.

More about class division now, no sense of community.

Flaneur – talking in the city, walking round showing off their wealth.

Fashion becomes an important communicator of your wealth, of who you are – status symbol.

Shyrat – inventor of pointillism.

The whole idea of life changes – the advent of shift work, spare time arranged around work.


Modern image of modern life, getting pissed in Paris cos life is so shit.

Kaiser panorama 1883 – another invention of the time. People would pay to look in it and see images of the world, landscapes etc and sometimes even erotica.

Technology and inventions replace our own experiences. Techno fetish.

If we start to think about subjective experience (the experience of the individual in the modern world) we start to come close to the understanding of modern art and the experience of the modern world.

New York

Quintessential modern city, built around a system of grids, blocks. Strange triangular buildings, flatiron. Brings different ways to view.

New technologies give us more understanding into how we work.

Modernism in design

Anti-historicism (attempt to be new, new s better)

Truth to materials (materials speak for themselves)

Form follows function (functional first them form comes from that)


Internationalism (modernism is a mutual language)

Replicable anywhere, accessible by all.

Anti- historicism – no need to look backwards to older styles.

“ornament is crime” – Adolf loos (1908)

truth to materials – simple geometric forms appropriate.

Bauhaus – the most progressive art school of its time. Interdisciplinary, revolutionary, on the back of modernity. Futura font – created in Bauhaus.


New materials – concrete, new technologies of steel, plastics, aluminum, reinforced glass.

Mass production – cheaper more widely available products.

Seagram building – mies van der rohe – modernist building, not decorative.


A language of design that could be recognized and understood on an international basis. Utopian aspect of modernism – things should be international.

Herbert Bayer, sans serif typeface, argued for all text to be lower case.

Stanly Morrison (1932) times new roman font.

Fraktur font – Nazi font, referencing medieval, gothic script.

The term modern is not a neutral term – it suggests novelty and improvement.

Modernity (1750-1960) social and cultural experience.

Modernism – the range of ideas and styles that sprang from modernity.

Importance of modernism

1- a vocabulary of styles

2- art and design education

3- idea that form follows function.