Curate a collaborative exhibition of works from Graphic, Product and Interactive Design History. Select at least 1 piece of work from each design history and provide visual references.
Describe your selection criteria—design qualities, tenets, and/or rationale. Give a name(theme) to the exhibition. Provide an exhibition statement with your intent. Explain how the selected works fall within the context of the exhibition.
For every artistic movement, there are always characteristics and influences behind each movement. While these movements are often different in defining art styles, they are similar in terms of how reflect change in culture and society’s response to external factors of influence. These movements are often built upon each other and expressed using different mediums. Throughout history, there is no doubt that art has become a tool of reflection, forming “The Cycle of Rebelling, Conforming and Connecting”.
The title of the exhibition is “The Cycle of Rebelling, Conforming and Connecting”. The title was chosen due to how art movements toggle between the need to revert to origins and the desire to create new changes. Despite the differences between every art movement, there is always a kind of similarity and connection between the movements. This exhibition explores the relationships between historical works throughout different periods of art history.
The chosen works include Kleine Dada Soiree (1922-23) by Theo Van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitters, Bauhaus Chess Set (1922-24) by Josef Hartwig and Grammatron (1997) by Mark Amerika. These three pieces of art works are represented in the mediums of Graphic, Product and Interactive Design respectively. All of them showcase the defining characteristics of each movement while showing the progressions between movements as well as how social factors influences art.
Throughout the exhibition, it is hoped that there will be realisation that art is a medium that reflects society and its behaviour. While it can express, it can do even more to rebel against, create change, influence others to conform, providing a common platform to connect individuals.
Dadaism was an Art Movement that had the purpose of ridiculing the meaninglessness of modern world (Tate), a reaction that grew from the disapproval of bloodshed during World War One (MoMA, MoMaLearning). Kleine Dada Soiree was an artwork aimed to introduce and spread Dada to the local artists (MoMA). The illegibility of the poster is related to how Dada is used to pose difficult questions (Contributors). The work showcases the characteristic of Dadaism and hints the future movement of De Stijl. Theo Van Doesburg built on the contrast of Dada’s character of nonsense and founded De Stijl that focuses on functionality, geometry and harmony (Beckett). Despite both being a reaction to the World War One, the movements have different defining characteristics.
Fig 1. Kleine Dada Soiree (1922-23) by Kurt Schwitters and Theo Van Doesburg (NSW)
Building on the idea of functionality, came the Bauhaus Art Movement that design should be wholesome art (Bayer). As argued by William Morris, “there should be no distinction between form and function” (Weingarden). An example would be Bauhaus Chess Set (1922-24) by Josef Hartwig (Knowles). Instead of the usual chess pieces, he simplified them to geometrical shapes while retaining their purpose hence function. Bauhaus aimed to conform several other industries by basing their design on functionality, key of the Bauhaus movement. While it was developed as a response to the World War One, it focused on the adaptation and embracing of machinery. This once again showcases how art can be used to establish different reactions to the external situation.
Fig 2. Bauhaus Chess Set (1922-24) by Josef Hartwig (Knowles)
Lastly, Grammatron (1997) by Mark Amerika aims to connect individuals using hyperlinks (Amerika). Grammatron invites the audience to click on various links and follow the journey of Golam. It was developed with the influence and proliferation of technology, building the nature of “web culture” in the modern world (Amerika, mark amerika). “I link therefore I am”, creates a non-linear experience for the audience. At the same time, it allowed the society to explore the technological aspects, that will play a key role in our culture as predicted by Bush. While other movements aimed to rebel or conform, new media builds on connectivity within the society especially so as a response after World War Two.
Fig 3. Grammatron (1997) by Mark Amerika (Amerika, mark amerika)
In conclusion, these works are often a reaction of change or conformity towards external factors such as the World Wars or improved technology. They often built on previous movements showing either progressive or opposite trends. With the introduction of new media, it has allowed the connectivity, moving towards a new medium of expression. It is evident that while art can be used to respond to a single event, it can have different purposes and a tool for reflection or to encourage change or creation of culture.
Amerika, Mark. Grammatron review / Mark Amerika e-terview Rhizome. 9 August 1997. Document.
—. mark amerika. 6 March 2011. Document. 18 Nov 2019.
Bayer, Herbert. Bauhaus, 1919-1928. New York: The Museum of Modern Art: Distributed by New York Graphic
Society, 1938. Document.
Beckett, Jane. "Dada, Van Doesburg and De Stijl." Journal of European Studies (1979): 1. Document.
Contributors, The Art Story. The Art Story Modern Art Insights. 17 May 2017. Document "Hugo Ball Artist
Overview and Analysis". 10 Nov 2019.
Knowles, Claudia. Financial Times. 24 July 2015. Article. 18 Nov 2019.
MoMA. MoMA: Art and Artists. 2019. Website.
—. MoMaLearning. 2019. Document. 18 Nov 2019.
NSW, Art Gallery. ART GALLERY NSW. 1999. Art Work. 18 Nov 2019.
Tate. Tate. 2019. Document. 18 Nov 2019.
Weingarden, Lauren S. "Aesthetics Politicized: William Morris to the Bauhaus." 2014.