Saturday, October 17, 2009

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright loved nature and it was expressed consistently through his works. His buildings never had a basement or attic, mimicking a horizontal plane. The ceilings were always low (possibly to compensate for his small stature) and the windows were often uninterrupted walls so that one would feel closer to nature. His simplistic houses served as inspiration for a new style of architecture in the Midwest called the Prairie School. He would later become one of its chief practitioners.
In his lifetime, Wright's style began to grow rapidly in popularity in the United States and Europe. As his popularity grew, he made more dramatic structures. When he built skyscrapers, they mimicked trees with a central trunk and branches coming out. He loved to use natural elements and forms. It was his dream for these natural elements to become the basis of American architecture.
Wright's biggest project was the Taliesin which was an architectural fellowship where young students could pay to work and learn from him. He gathered a total of thirty apprentices. He would continue to expand as the number of apprentices grew. Through the Taliesin Fellowship, Wright was able to create the Kaufmann House in Pennsylvania and the SC Johnson Wax Administration Center in Wisconsin.

I personally am not the biggest fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's style. While it is extremely luxurious and undeniably interesting, it isn't very practical. I feel like no one would ever live in buildings like his and therefore have no value in the real world.

- Tyler Pey

Monday, October 12, 2009

Russian Constructivism

Russian Constructivism was a movement that was active from 1913 to the 1940s. It was a movement created by the Russian avant-garde, but quickly spread to the rest of the continent. Constructivist art is committed to complete abstraction with a devotion to modernity, where themes are often geometric, experimental and rarely emotional. Objective forms carrying universal meaning were far more suitable to the movement than subjective or individualistic forms. Constructivist themes are also quite minimal, where the artwork is broken down to its most basic elements. New media was often used in the creation of works, which helped to create a style of art that was orderly. An art of order was desirable at the time because it was just after WWI that the movement arose, which suggested a need for understanding, unity and peace. Famous artists of the Constructivist movement include Vladimir Tatlin, Kasimir Malevich, Alexandra Exter, Robert Adams, and El Lissitzky.

posted by: Kristen Powers

works cited:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Maxfield Parrish

Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) was a popular American artist during the "golden age of illustration". His many illustrations for children's books, and magazine covers as well as his ads for products such as, General Electric and Jell-O also made him a graphic designer of sorts. Parrish also did paintings specifically for art print reproduction, which became immensely popular with the new middle class.
Although Parish was predominately a painter, he was also a gifted writer and was known for his use and knowledge of color (some even refer to "Parrish Blue").
He enjoyed immense public recognition during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, even though his work was executed in a wholly personal style, something which is seldom achieved by most artists.

Kristen Powers

works cited:
Maxfield Parrish. Ludwig, Cory. Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, Pa. 1973

Shepard Fairey /Propaganda Poster Art

1920s by Russian Constructivist artist Alexander Rodchenko

Contemporary artist, graphic designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey took interest in The Afternoons, creating a poster campaign featuring the title of the bands first single "Say Yes." The posters appeared around Los Angeles shortly after Fairey's "Obama Progress" Campaign.

This is just one example, of many, that I found of contemporary propaganda poster art that draws it's inspiration by looking back on history.
When you mention political and/or propaganda art in today's society, you will most certainly run across the name and work of Shepard Fairey. Fairey began his career as a 'street' artist and his work was licensed on products such as skateboards and t-shirts. He is, probably, best known for his Obama "Hope" poster from the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign.
His work draws much fire from critics who say that Fairey appropriates the work of others, some even going so far as to call him a plagiarist. The Obama poster has caused much controversy due to the fact that Mr. Fairey did appear to use an A.P. photo as his "guide". In today's world it may be easier, with the aid of the computer and software such as Photo shop,
to 'incorporate' the works of others but, in my humble opinion, the critics should not be so quick to cast harsh aspersions on the artist. After all, with other names such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, isn't he in good company?

Kristen Powers
works cited:
Shepard Fairey
Obey Giant
Mark Vallen
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Uncle Sam

So, we're all very familiar with the nostalgic imagery of Uncle Sam pointing his finger and saying, "I want you for the U.S. Army" and because of our class discussions regarding the differences in posters between the Central Powers and the Allied Powers, I was curious about the story of how Uncle Sam really came to be. The poster was designed by James Montgomery-Flagg in 1916. It made its first appearance in Leslie's Weekly and was printed throughout 1917 and 1918.

Uncle Sam is one of the most popular personifications of the United States. However, the term "Uncle Sam" is of somewhat obscure derivation. Historical sources attribute the name to a meat packer who supplied meat to the army during the War of 1812--Samuel (Uncle Sam) Wilson (1766-1854). "Uncle Sam" Wilson was a man of great fairness, reliability, and honesty, who was devoted to his country--qualities now associated with "our" Uncle Sam. James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960) (American Treasures of the Library of Congress).

The poster was designed for use during World War I, but was later employed again during WWII by FD Roosevelt. Another source discusses Uncle Sam: Uncle Sam is the cartoon embodiment of the government of the United States of America, a character who appeared in newspapers and magazines beginning in the first part of the 19th century. The commonly accepted version of his origin, or at least the best explanation anyone's been able to supply, is that he was modelled after Samuel Wilson, a meat purveyor to the United States army during the War of 1812. Known as "Uncle Sam," Wilson put his initials on his goods. The initials U.S. were also taken to stand for United States. Over the years Uncle Sam evolved into a tall, white-haired man with beard, sporting patriotic colors and a top hat. The most common modern image can be traced to his depiction by James Montgomery Flagg from 1916, for a military recruitment poster calling "I Want YOU For the U.S. Army." (

Both sources describe the story similarly. It's pretty interesting how a fictitious character has been a successful heroic image for all this time.

Alex Riggio

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Suprematism was created by previous cubo-futurist, Kasimir Malevich. The birth of Suprematism was thanks to Victory Over the Sun, a futurist opera production in 1913 and was also influenced by the ideas of a Russian mathematician, philosopher, & disciple named Georges Gurdjieff P.D. Ouspensky. Malevich introduced the idea of Suprematism to the public through his manifesto 0.10 The Last Futurist Exhibition.

Suprematism focused on fundamental geometric forms like the circle & square. It was first announced around 1915-1916 in Russia. Malevich thought one painting he did of a black square on a white background was such a powerful image to him because "I felt only night within me and it was then that I conceived the new art, which I called Suprematism." He believed that "Suprematism is the rediscovery of pure art that, in the course of time, had become obscured by the accumulation of "things" and that "The artist (the painter) is no longer bound to the canvas (the picture plane) and can transfer his compositions from canvas to space".

Critics did not take likely to the Suprematism movement and the trend quickly faded. The public said "Everything which we loved is lost. We are in a desert . . . . Before us is nothing but a black square on a white background!"

Though there was a short period of time where Suprematism & Constructivism crossed over, Constructivism quickly took over the spotlight. In 1919, Malevich announced the demise of Suprematism. Today though the same forms of art are still used. Nowadays artists and the public can look at a circle on a white background and feel something from it, read a message out of it of what the artist was trying to say, & be influenced greatly by it. Suprematism had a major impact on the things we call art today. It never really 'died'. It was just overlooked because it was something new and different that the world wasn't ready for just yet.

Sheryl Mueller