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ARTH 211 Design History: Week 5 Lecture and Reading Notes

by: Evelyn Li

ARTH 211 Design History: Week 5 Lecture and Reading Notes ARTH 211

Marketplace > University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign > Art History > ARTH 211 > ARTH 211 Design History Week 5 Lecture and Reading Notes
Evelyn Li
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These notes cover week 5 lectures and readings. We talked about the utopian dreams of different design movements and American modern design.
Design History Survey
Class Notes
bauhaus, Constuctivism, Destijl, futurism, utopia, Tschichold, Consumer, Engineering, streamlining, Geddes
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Evelyn Li on Friday September 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ARTH 211 at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign taught by Weissman in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 37 views. For similar materials see Design History Survey in Art History at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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Date Created: 09/23/16
Week 5 LECTURES 9.19.16  Utopian Dreams o Bauhaus (Germany) (1919-1933) o De Stijl (the Netherlands) (1917-1931)  Universal laws of harmony o Constructivism (Russian/Soviet Union) (1913-1940s)  The Constructivist Dream  The Productivist Reality  Dystopian Chaos o Futurism  Names/Terms o Piet Mondrian o Gerrit Rietveld o Theo van Doesburg o El Lissitsky o Alexandre Rodchenko o Vladimir Mayakovsky o Varvara Stepanova o Vladimir Tatlin o Constructivism/Productivism o Art into life o PROUN o First State Cotton-Printing Factory o Faktura o Filippo Marinetti o Fortunato Depero o Glacomo Balla  Sample questions (EXAM) o In what context did Bayer design his universal alphabet? How did that context motivate him to create this type? In what way can this typeface be considered a political statement? o In the early 20 C. a shift occurred in the conception and design of private (homes) and public space. Describe that shift and explain how this advertisement, and the object it’s promoting participated in or was reacting to that shift? o Please compare and contrast these works by addressing the following: In the boxes below, identify the movement from which each object emerged and explain the design philosophy of these movements. Beneath, describe how that philosophy expresses itself in each object, then discuss the similarities and differences between those objects. (See Compass lecture slides for images.)  De Stijl o Design Principles  Equality between figure and ground, negative space and positive space  Red, yellow, blue (primary colors)  Verticality and horizontality o Believed that war would expunge the old age and thus would rise a new age of collectivism (vs. individuality) o Everyday objects were elevated to art  European Avant-Garde Movements o Germany: Bauhaus o Netherlands: De Stijl o Soviet Union: Constructivism o Italy: Futurism o All these movements wanted to create a new person/new social order  Russian Constructivism o Principles  Taking away art’s privileged position in society and integrating it into modern life  Faktura – materials (especially of modern industry rather than of fine art)  Construction instead of composition  Dynamism (something is always happening) o The Constructivist Dream (failed attempts to reach these goals)  Propaganda Board “The Factory Workbenches Await You”  Mean to inspire people to want to go to work  Failed—people were angry  Monument to the Third International  Not enough materials to even make it o Productivist Reality  Fashion and Textiles  Varvara Ljubov Stepanova o Stepanova, weaving sample of final version of fabric, 1923-24  Vibration in the piece create dynamism o Attempted to transform the passive capitalist commodity to an active socialist thing o Understood that fashion was an emblem of modernity and an object of socially meaningful consumer desire o Stepanova, sport clothes, 1923  Very boxy and stiff  She stated that these clothes should be shaped solely by their function  The clothes don’t address historically experienced bodies but rather they dress an imagined body in an imagined public sphere  The drawings of the clothes evoke bodies that conform to a geometric order  Some success in the fashion/textile area o Clothes were produced o Stepanova did work in a factory  Advertising  Alexandre Rodchenko and Vladimir Mayakovsky, advertisement for Mossel’prom cooking oil, 1923  Alexandre Rodchenko and Vladimir Mayakovsky, advertising poster for Red October cookies, 1923 o Not so typical, good Communist girl o A literal forced ingestion of socialism  Text indicates cookies made from a factory that they were once pre-revolutionary but they are now post- revolutionary  Vladimir Tatlin  Designed clothes and a stove  Takes a picture of himself wearing his suit with the patterns laid out around him o Reminiscent of constructivist faktura and the belief that it could transform society and create a new person  Futurism o “We intend to sing of the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness…we affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed…a roaring car that seems to ride on a grapeshot is more beautiful than the Winged Victory…” ~ Marinetti, Futurism Manifesto o Filippo Marinetti, “Mountains + Valleys + Streets x Joffre), 1915  Expressive image of his journeys/travels  Poems depicted in free, chaotic typography o Fortunato Depero  Influenced American design o Suits  Fracturing of the individual ~~ American Modern Design (1940s)  Modern Poster Design in the US o European influence//Jan Tschichold  Lester Beall and Rural Electrification Program o European influence//Artists fleeing Europe  Alexey Brodovitch and Fashion Magazines  Posters for war effort  Names/Terms o Jan Tschichold o Lester Beall o Alexey Brodovich o Man Ray o Lisette Model o HerbertBayer o Jean Carlu o Joseph Binder o Ben Shahn  Tschichold o Emphasis on…  Random organization  Intuitive placement  Chance o Promotes Bauhaus  Impacts Lester Beall  Lester Beall o Attracted to arrows and signs o Very clear messages o Abstraction can reduce messages to elemental signs (Tschichold) 9.21.16  There was a flight of artists from the rise of fascism in Europe to America in the 1940s  Alexey Brodovitch o Utilized white space and sharp type o Dynamic typographic page  Different sizes and weights o Changed magazine to be dependent on illustration  Creating a rhythmic environment through image and type  Used photography  Propaganda Posters o Jean Carlu  Creates propaganda posters for the Office of Emergency Management  Similar to object posters o Ben Shahn  Very different from Carlu  Shahn’s lacks patriotism/national pride (that Carlu has) and isn’t successful as a propaganda poster o Joseph Binder  Very simple ~~ American Design 1930s-1940s  Creating a Culture of Consumption o Earnest Calkins and Consumer Engineering  The emergence of the American Industrial Designer o Normal Bel Geddes  Streamlining o Speed and Progress in the Depression Years  Other Futuristic Visions o 1939 World’s Fair  Names/Terms o Norman Bel Geddes o Horizons, 1932 (Geddes) o Raymond Loewy o Henry Dreyfus o Walter Teague o Buckminster Fuller o Consumer-engineering o Obsoletism  Consumer Engineering o “Obsoletism is another device for stimulating consumption. The element of style is a consideration in buying many things. Clothes go out of style and are replaced long before they are worn out. That principle extends to other products– motor-cars, bathrooms, radios, foods, refrigerators, furniture. People are persuaded to abandon the old and buy the new to be up-to-date, to have the right and correct thing. Does there seem to be a sad waste in the process? Not at all. Wearing things out does not produce prosperity, but buying things does…Any plan which increases the consumption of goods is justifiable if we believe that prosperity is a desirable thing. Goods fall into two classes, those we use, such as motor-cars or safety razors, and those we use up, such as toothpaste or soda biscuit. Consumer engineering must see to it that we use up the kinds of goods we now merely use. Would any change in the goods or the habits of people speed up their consumption? Can they be displaced by newer models? Can artificial obsolescence be created? Consumer engineering does not end until we can consume all that we make” -- Earnest Elmo Calkins “What Consumer Engineering Really Is,” 1932 o Creating desire for a product o Planned obsolescence  Streamlining o Favored by consumer engineers o Intellectually defensible and commercially buyable o Embodies technological modernity of American life o Reduces wind resistance (intellectually defensible) o Originated with Norman Geddes  Teardrop-shaped o Buckminster Fuller, Dymaxion (streamlined car) o Interpretations of Streamlining  Efficient  Faster, less wind resistance  Commercial metaphor  Streamlining for consumers  Spirit of the age reference  The need to streamline society o Efficient, smooth flow/gliding through the chaos of the Great Depression o Streamlining domesticated technology, made it manageable for the everyday person  It naturalized the machine, made it one with nature o It started to show up everywhere (buildings, housewares, clothing (underwear), etc.) o Criticism of Streamlining  MOMA condemned it  Industrial designers criticize it  “Industrial design is a very tarnished affair…I assure you that no aircraft company will let an industrial designer through its engineering front door. Industrial designers are considered to be pure interior and exterior decorators. And yet, I’ve listened to industrial designers assert that they designed the steamship, United States. If you were to exhibit schematically all the items that the industrial designers created for United States, you would have sailing down New York Harbor an array of window curtain, chairs, paint clouds and bric-a-brac floating in space, with nothing really to hold it together. To assert that these men designed the United States could not have been more dishonest.”  Too stylized and only exterior design o Video: “Silver Streak” glass iron by Saunders & Co. (c.1944)  Streamlined iron  Weighted in the front and tapering of the front  Glass  Aesthetics lends itself to streamlining  Made with Pyrex glass o Durable glass  Glass was associated with luxury  Marketed in four colors  Actual hard to iron with it  Very heavy and hard to maneuver  Came off the market very quickly READINGS Jeffrey L. Meikle, Design in the USA  Art Deco and the new American tempo o After WII, design was considered only decorative o A few designers opposed this trend but it wasn’t until the World’s Fair in Paris in 1925 that art and industry converged and formed Art Deco o Art Deco took ahold in America as well—it became the “new American tempo”  Skyscrapers, radio, movies, jazz, motorcars, etc.  Emerged primarily from enthusiastic European immigrant artists o Designers and architects worked together  Metropolitan Museum’s “The Architect and the Industrial Arts” exhibition emphasized “modern materials, machined textures, and sweeping horizontals” o Designer’s tried to reform and modernize popular taste by shaping mass-produced goods but the middle class, though appreciative of style, still trusted in tradition o Situation began to change in response to the Great Depression—manufacturers had to redesign their products according to new aesthetic principles to make it through the economic sinkhole  Henry Ford learns the most expensive art lesson in history o “The automobile was the most significant technology of the twentieth century, transforming the way almost all people lived, worked, and identified themselves” o The Ford Model T was revolutionary  But it was boring, and style in cars was becoming critical o General Motors became Ford’s biggest competitor; their cars were stylish and only a little bit more expensive  President of GM Alfred P. Sloan developed marketing strategies that made their business boom  Developed color in cars (Model T was just black) o Ford produced the Model A but couldn’t keep up with GM  The rise of industrial design o Emerged in the Great Depression (1930s) o Before this, designers only made things for the upper class but the depression equalized everyone o Industrial designers started out in advertising o Earnest Elmo Calkins  The problem was not over-production but on under-consumption  Consumer engineering  Convince people that “prosperity is in spending, not saving.” o Department stores were important in promoting industrial design  The “museums of today” o Anne Swainson  Most influential woman in American industrial design  Utilized photography o Companies hired independent consultant industrial designers to design their products and met with great success  Henry Dreyfuss  Raymond Loewy  Normal Bel Geddes o Some designers scoffed at consumption engineering but they also conceded that the goal of design was sales at a profit Earnest Elmo Calkins, “What Consumer Engineering Really Is,” (1932)  Introduction o Calkins was the most significant American advertiser of the 1920s and 30s  The Great Depression shocked consumers—they stopped buying  Designers have traditionally not conformed their products to what their consumers want  Obsoletism stimulates consumption o Style is critical when buying products  “Prosperity lies in spending, not in saving.”  “Consumer engineering is a new business science.” o Products have generally fallen into two categories: those we simply use (cars, razors, etc.) and those we use up (toothpaste, biscuits) o Consumer engineering is about turning the products we merely use into products we use up Normal Bel Geddes, “Streamlining,” (1934)  Introduction o Geddes first began as an innovative stage set designer but became known for his promotion of streamlining  Streamlining was a term of hydrodynamics o Smooth flow of air over a body (minimum resistance) o Now it is used as a synonym for “new” and used to describe everything  Streamlining is not very well understood though widely used  Very well developed with airplanes but not so well implemented in cars or trains except by Chrysler and De Soto  Unsure of whether streamlining will work with cars, which are in contact with the ground unlike planes  Necessary to eliminate protuberances, have clean continuous lines, and good form Mildred Friedman, “From Futurama to Motorama,” in Vital Forms  Futurama exhibit at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 o Gave people a button that said “I Have Seen the Future” o Legitimized the automobile as an equalizer  After the Great Depression and the war there was a demand for goods that weren’t available during those rough years, opening up opportunities for industrial designers and architects  Suburbs around big cities grew up in wake of the post-war atmosphere  Design for housewares was accepted more easily than in architecture or furniture  “American was on a buying spree. The 1950s was a material decade.”  Industrial Design o The post WWII economy begged for cars, houses, furniture, clothes and other luxuries that led to designers developing the strategy of planned obsolescence  Style over durability began with streamlining  Furniture o Charles and Ray Eames  “Potato-chip” chairs  Molded plywood originally used for splinting broken bones (in the war) o George Nelson and Henry Wright developed a storage wall o Commercial products showed up in art exhibitions o Furniture became small, portable, and perfect for the suburban home of that era o Though not embraced fully in domestic homes, “modern” furniture was accepted in offices and companies o Architecture and furniture drew from each other  Eames’s 1962 Tamdem Sling Seating  Textiles o Geometric  New Materials, Technologies and Designers o “Industrial design has been shaped by three materials: tubular steel, molded plywood, and polymer (plastics).” o Plastics could be made to look expensive but their durability was questioned o Designers  Raymond Loewy  Henry Dreyfuss  Normal Bel Geddes  All employed by giant corporations in need of their skills  Automobiles o Loewy’s Studebaker was sleek, unlike many other cars of that time (“more-of- everything-was-required syndrome”) o America owned three-quarters of the world’s cars in 1950  Graphic Design o Advertising!! Graphic designers were employed to sell products o Paul Rand o Reciprocity between high and low arts  Modern paintings influenced graphic design and “Pop” art emerged in the 1950s o European immigrant artists influenced the separation between commercial art and graphic design  Alexey Brodovitch  Herbert Bayer  Herbert Matter o Graphic designers also worked on books and periodicals  Clothing and Jewelry o During WWII women’s fashion had its own way in America as it was no longer influenced by Paris o Claire McCardell  The “American Look”  Comfortable clothes at reasonable prices o Craft revival – “back to earth” movement o European artists (again) influenced art in this area  The optimism of this age came to an end with the death of JFK in 1963  In the 1964 World Fair, GM presented an exhibit, Motorama, a show that focuses more on the present Mary and Russel Wright, “Home Sweet Home” Guide to Easier Living  Most homes aren’t a place of individuality (though they should be) despite the fact that we spend so much time there  American homes are inadequate because they subscribe to a skewed culture that borrows from cultures abroad o Stiff, manor-like homes that aren’t appropriate for American democratic life o “The Old Dream”  The Old Dream o Stipulates that the home is the woman’s responsibility o The woman is the picture of femininity o Housework is menial and degrading o Manufacturers have long encouraged this  New American home o Simple o Dictated by needs not fashion o Relaxing and informal o The home is not a one-woman operation, it’s a family event o Housework is not beneath anyone


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