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Modernism vs. Post Modernism

Ashley Dethlefsen

November 30, 2009

Art 85: Assignment Four

Modernism vs. Post Modernism and “High” “Low” Art

For years had art movements been controversial on the way designers think or create a piece of artwork. Both modernism and post modernism artists works have “high” or “low” pieces of artwork.

Modernism was the art period of minimalism and conceptualism through the movement in visual arts, music, literature, and drama. Modernism was an emphasis on fragmented forms, and random placed collages of different images or materials. It was a movement of rejections between the “high” and “low” art in the way the materials were used and how it was displayed and distributed.

Modernism was also an emphasis on impressionism and subjectivity in writing and how the font was used and seen.  In Helvetica, the movie was based on the typography, graphic design, and global visual culture. It concentrates on one typeface, Helvetica, showing the way type affects our lives. Helvetica is used in world of design, advertising, and communication created by Max Miendinger and Eduard Hoffman in 1957. Helvetica was about to be written without a distraction in type and easy to read, as well as gain the attention to the viewers.

Paul Rand is an American Modernist in graphic design who was well known for corporate logos like IBM, ABC, Cummins Engin, Westing House, UPS, and more. As he designed the cover for The December in 1940, he used “barbed wire to present the magazine as both a war-torn gift and a crucifix is indicated of the artistic freedom…Rand was experimenting with the introduction of themes normally found in the “high arts (Paul-Rand.com).” His logos were very simply that his ideas didn’t have to be “esoteric to be original or exciting (Paul-Rand.com).”

Post Modernism like modernism, follows most of the same ideas, rejecting boundaries between “high” and “low” art forms. Post modernism means anti-modern or the revision of modernist premises; way to break free from the design of modernism. Post modernism will also reject the way an art is distinguished and distributed.

In 1917, Marcel Duschamp’s “Fountain,” an ordinary white porcelain urinal signed by him, was a piece of deconstructive postmodernism. He wanted people to view the object as a piece of artwork. Being a “readymade” object, he manufactured it, signed it and displayed it which became “high” art.

Post modernism challenged the conceptions of fine art in design and photography promoting drastic change through consciousness of society.  Diane Arbus was well known for street photography and was an influential American photographer. All her portraits were black and white of strange, carnival performers and freaks. Her work was “low” art of people. One photograph “identical twins,” was of two young twin sisters standing side by side, one smiling and one frowning.

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