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Posts tagged “Sculpture

Art History Catchup

Sorry I haven’t been posting. Here’s all my Art History posts for the days I forgot to post here:

Postwar Expressionism and Abstraction:

The module name several artists and movements that Lee Krasner was influenced by, but I find it srange that it did not mention Evard Munch. Krasner’s Night Creatures, 1965 is technically an Abstract Expressionism painting, but it has many similarities to the Symbolism.

Looking just at Night Creatures, we observe the Abstract Expressionist’s characteristic use of abstract shapes, all-around painting (aka a lack of a focal point), a level of spontaneity from the gesture-painting method, and a tension between values and colors created through the push-pull method. However, Night Creatures is an example of Krasner’s later work, which was more subtly more objective. She would often base her pieces around the repetitious use of organic shapes that would represent human, animal, or plant forms. In the piece includes humanoid shapes, though still very abstract humanoid shapes. The tension created by the harshness of the black lines on white, and accented in red, indicate that these humanoid shapes are distressed, perhaps in agony. That in addition to how many of the lines are swirling around the create oval and circle shapes, conjures up the image of Munch’s Scream, 1893, which employs similar methods to create the same heightened feelings.

Munch’s work is more impressionistic than Krasner, who was more influenced by the more recent Cubists and fellow Abstract artist, but two bear striking resembles to each other, if only discussing Krasner’s later work.

Pop Art, Photorealism, and Figuration in the 1960s and ’70s:

Ralph Goings, Pie and Iced Tea, 1987

During the 1950s and 60s the art world saw a shift from the abstract to Pop Art and Photorealism. Andy Warhol, being perhaps the most popular Pop Art artist capitalized on consumer culture of the 1950s, choosing to include popular brand names, logos and celebrities in his work. These images appeared everywhere in the 50s and 60s and most were household names, recognizable to the world at large. Notably, the imagery were all American iconic images, due to their post-war power position and control over the consumer market. Not only were consumers surrounded by these images, but artists were using them to make their own commentaries on society, reproducing them in their non-commercial work.

Bay Area Figurative artists had already laid the foundation for the rejection of non-object abstraction. Photorealists took this a step further, choosing to render their paintings to the point where was no confusion about their objectivity. In fact, their paintings were often mistaken for photos; though, on closer inspection, simpler shapes and artist departures from the original photo reference can be found in these paintings). In addition to this, photorealists, were also influenced by Pop Art and their use of imagery.

Ralph Goings combined his Photorealist style with his interest in the icons of the day. As in Pie and Iced Tea, Goings was particularly interested in the iconography associated with diners, and mainly choose to paint still-life compositions containing everyday items that would be found on dinner tables. He also preferred rendering cars typical of the 50s and 60s and the exterior of dinners. The image above, like the majority of Goings work, was most likely based on photo reference (he to use 35mm color slides when painting), so it is no wonder that his work resembles a photo, while still maintaining a much richer quality, beyond the capabilities of the consumer cameras of the day. So, as such, and like many other works created by Pop Art and Photorealism artist, the composition becomes more than just its contents. These works made the viewer think beyond what the simple image was because the compositions were so everyday, that, to them, there had to be more; they were right, they were how the artist viewed the current American society. These statements were more obvious in Warhol’s pieces. Goings is much more subtle. His paintings have a timeless quality to them; everything is so still that this world he’s representing is frozen in time. Because his paintings are all of simple objects, objects that we take for granted, it is interesting that he should give them this timeless quality. However, Goings was trying to show his viewer a simpler time. The painting above was completed in the 1980s, but it’s a depicting a time decades previous, a time when the biggest thing Americans had to worry about was what they were going to order. The decades between the 50s and 80s were tumult, and the face of America was dramatically changed, yet these icons, oh Heinz Ketchup, coffee, and pie, still carried through the decades and acted as a link to the past despite the different mindsets of individuals of the newer and more jaded generation.

As for if I like the piece: I admire it for it’s technical ability. I also like it because it acts like a time capsule for era that I wasn’t a part of, but can still feel a part of through this form of documentation. However, I feel like this type of work should be done with photography and that more liberties should be taken by the artist. Photorealism is awesome, but I feel like it should only be used for matte paintings and special instances of concept art. I also like it because I like ketchup and really want a burger now…. wait… maybe that’s why I shouldn’t like it…

20th-Century Sculpture:

Living in San Francisco, a city with a lot of plazas and squares, we walk by a lot of the types of art listed in this module on a daily basis. So when I saw Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Trowel 1, 1976, I instantly thought of the giant bow and arrow sculpture by the Embarcadero, under the bay bridge. Low and behold, it’s another of Oldenburg and Bruggen’s:

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Cupid’s Span, 2003

The sculpture is based off the Tony Bennett song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” and is supposed to mark the spot where his heart was left.

Oldenburg is famous for his large-scale sculptures of everyday objects, and while a bow and arrow may not be considered as everyday as it once was, it is still a recognizable and everyday symbol; it is certainly something we’d find on television any given day of the week. Like his earlier Trowel I, it is submerged in the ground, to resemble a found-object, despite the fact that anything at that scale couldn’t possible be found but made, and to make it feel like it belongs there, that it is a part of its environment.

The sculpture is also located outside, in a public space, and encourages its viewers to interact with it, much like Earth Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude outdoor exhibitions and Minimalist Richard Serra’s sculptures. All these artists’ works were meant to be surprising, they were suppose to disrupt the public’s ever day experience, to make them stop what they were doing and stare because they didn’t expect to run into art when they left their houses that morning (essentially “happenings”).


Also, on an unrelated, but sort of related note, I looked up Cristo and Jeanne-Claude’s planned works. They’re covering a river in Colorado next year (, which isn’t that big of a road trip from California. Also, They’re going to attempt to build a structure larger than the pyramids in Dubai, called The Mastaba (

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