Lienhard 5

1. technology helped give artists new ideas (or even force art in new directions)
2. art expresses the different way people see the world as a result of new technology
3. central to modernism was a newly important art--design
4. there are different paths by which technology can affect art

This wasn't just a change in science and technology--you can see the shift to "modern" in art, in literature, in psychology, in architecture...

It happens not as a result of what it going on in science but rather at the same time
why?

What does it mean to see the world differently?
technology isn't just a tool, it changes the way we experience the world, and therefore the way we think

Is modernity a result of new technology?  In what sense?
Modern era was characterized by abandoning tradition

Modern art:
Lienhard uses as a first example not the modern art people love to hate, but Frederick Remington, most famous for art like:indians on horseback
Traditional art tended to show an idealized world--the way we thought it ought to look
But after experiencing war he shifted from a John Wayne view of the the world to one much more realistic about hardship and sadness
lone man on a horse
The world was full of new possibilities but at the same time it didn't seem as straightforward or easy to master any more
when you throw away tradition you have too many choices

Charles Dellschau painted pictures of fantastic flying machines in Texas
painting by Charles Dellschau
What did it do to people's imagination to realize that technology was making it possible to fly--already in balloons, soon in airplanes?

What did it do to the imagination of artists when photography became possible?
railroad photograph by Stieglitz
The Hand of Man--1902 photograph by Alfred Stieglitz

Photography allowed anyone to capture a realistic image

Stieglitz image of a handphoto by Alfred Steiglitz:

If photography can capture a more realistic image than an artist can, then artists need to define what they are doing as something other than capturing what the eye sees

A quote from a site on Stieglitz captures the change of the modern era:

Early in the twentieth century a new spirit appeared in American life... It was a spirit of change, of dissent--in some minds, the spirit even of revolution. Predominantly it was an upsurge of hopefulness. New directions seemed possible not only in politics and the arts, but also in the quality of life as a whole. Institutions and established ways were subjected to a critical scrutiny that had been rare in the previous generation... Experiment replaced acquiescence to a received tradition as defined by genteel 'custodians of culture.'
--Alan Trachtenberg, Critics of Culture: Literature and Society in the Early 20th Century


cubist painting--superimposed images of a person
          descending a staircaseDuchamps, Nude Descending at Staircase

A key moment in art was the New York Armory show of 1913
Picasso's Guernica

Eames chair
simple modern
        chair by Charles and Ray Eames
Charles and Ray Eames built new simpler furniture--you may not like modern art but our world is full of that kind of furniture, not old-fashioned furniture.  Think of the shock it must have been--that isn't what a chair is supposed to look like but it does the job well.  It was a startling new way of seeing the world1956 video, Ted talk (3:40)

They designed the 1977 film Powers of Ten (there is also a 1968 version)--explicitly about seeing the world in a new way as a result of science.

Design--what visual approach do you take to solving the problem of function:
Eames furniture
How do we think about looks and function?

Or consider this piece of modernist design:
streamlined pencil
        sharpener


Alexander Calder used his engineering training to build mobiles and constructions (stabiles)--like scientists and engineers breaking things up into simpler pieces
Calder mobile
Mobile by Alexander Calder
What about music?
Throw out tradition and you can do all kinds of strange things, make people very uncomfortable, open up lots of new possibilities

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
HIST 122
last updated 9/26/2016