Archives

Research Paper/ MA Thesis

Posted on January 2, 2012

Louis Carosello

MA Visual Arts (Digital Arts)

How did Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg’s appropriation of commercial silkscreen technology in 1962 affect their work and the critical response to it?

“Us silk-screeners got to stick together.”
Robert Rauschenberg, May 1963

In August of 1962 when Andy Warhol first incorporated photographic silkscreen into his work it was a revolutionary move. And when, a few months later and after a visit to Warhol’s studio, Robert Rauschenberg started a new series that utilized photographic silkscreen, it was no less shocking. Before these two artists began to use it, silkscreen had been used almost solely for commercial purposes. It would be easy to dismiss this appropriation of a commercial technology for fine art purposes as merely another shock-ploy used by two artists who enjoyed playing with expectations. Especially the expectations of critics, like Clement Greenberg, who had supported the Abstract Expressionists.

But their use of silkscreen was infinitely more complicated than simply an art world prank. My research shows how they both incorporated the tool into their practice in ways that are uniquely personal. And by 1964 both had produced bodies of work that represent a seismic shift in art history. Rauschenberg won first prize at the 1964 Venice Biennale with a show that included his silkscreen paintings. And by 1964 Warhol’s silkscreens had made him an art world star.

But what drew these artists who had established careers and solo shows behind them to this new tool? Focusing on historical and biographical issues contextualized with contemporary market and theoretical conditions, this paper explores the motivating factors that allowed Warhol and Rauschenberg to introduce silkscreening to their practice and then to the art world. It also looks at critical reaction both contemporary and in the ensuing decades to these bodies of work. Particular attention will be paid to how the formal differences in each artist’s work has affected how critics appreciate them with regards to the emerging movements of Pop, Minimalism, and Performance Art.

In conclusion, it is my hope that this paper will illustrate how a new artistic technology is worthless without an artist’s ideas and creativity.
Key words:
Silkscreen, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Early 1960s art, Series Mechanical Reproduction, Pop Art

Contents:

I.  Introduction and Silkscreen Process.

II.  Before 1962

A. Robert Rauschenberg biography

1. Successes of the 1950s

2. Combines

B.  Brief Andy Warhol biography

1. His graphic design career

2. Hard edged paintings

III.  1962-1964

A. Warhol and Rauschenberg discover silkscreen.

B. Silkscreen works

IV.  Critical reaction to silk screens.

V.  Conclusion: a new artistic technology is worthless without an artist’s ideas and creativity.

Bibliography

Cage, J. (1961) Silence: lectures and writings. New York: Wesleyan University Press

Dyer, J. (2004) ‘The Metaphysies of the Mundane: Understanding Andy Warhol’s Serial Imagery’. Artibus et Historiael, Vol. 25 (19): 33-47.

Feinstein, R. (1990) Robert Rauschenberg: The Silkscreen Painting, 1962-64. New York: Whitney Museum of Art

Greenberg, C. (1940) ‘Towards a Newer Laocoon’. Partisan Review, Vol. VII (4): 296-310.

Greenberg, J. and Jordan, S. (2007) Andy Warhol Prince of Pop. New York: Random House.

Lanchner, C. and Rauschenberg, R. (2010) Robert Rauschenberg (MoMA Artist Series). New York: The Museum of Modern Art.

Leslie, R.  (1997) Pop Art, A New Generation of Style. New York: Todtri.

Lippard, L. (1966) Pop Art. London: Thames & Hudson.

McCarthy, D. (2000) Movements in Modern Art, Pop Art. London: Tate.

Rauschenberg, R. and Fine, R. and Brown, T. (1997) Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Schimmel, P. and Rauschenberg, R. (2005) Robert Rauschenberg: Combines. Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art

Schimmel, P. and Goldstein, A. and Morse, R. (2008) This Is Not To Be Looked At. Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art.

Swenson, G. (1963) ‘What Is Pop Art? Answers form Eight Painters Part 1’. ArtNews Vol. 62 (6): 26.

From scratching on rocks to banging on keyboards artists have always taken an experimental and creative approach to new tools. This is demonstrated over and over as artists discover new tools and then use them to help tell their stories.  As scratches became charcoal and chalk became paint the primary reasons to adopt new tools was to communicate more clearly and quickly to your audience. In the middle of the 20th century a new technology was adopted by artists that allowed them to harness the power of mass communication in their own studios: silkscreen. Early silkscreens were an image cut from a non- porous material and adhered to the screen or an image painted directly on the screen with a block out paint, then the screen was used as a printing plate. This process would result in a negative printed image, as blocked areas would be negative and open screen areas would print positive. Lacquers and solvents made it possible to fill the screen surface and later remove areas not painted with the solvent, giving the artist more freedom of brush and stroke.  Later registration of multiple layers gave new color and design possibilities. With the advent of photosensitive materials it became possible to capture and print limitless variations of iconic images.

In August of 1962 when Andy Warhol first incorporated photographic silkscreen into his work it was a revolutionary move. And when, a few months later and after a visit to Warhol’s studio, Robert Rauschenberg started a new series that utilized photographic silkscreen, it was no less shocking.  But fifty years after the fact, it is now possible to look at these early silkscreen works by Rauschenberg and Warhol, and see that the appropriation of industrial silkscreen technology in the 60’s proved that creative concepts are essential to the successful use of new technology.

Robert Rauschenberg was born Milton Rauschenberg on October 22, 1925 to Dora and Ernest Rauschenberg in Port Arthur, TX. Coming of age during World War Two, he entered the Navy and worked in a psychiatric ward in San Diego. On furlough, he traveled up to Los Angeles to the Huntington Gardens. In the museum’s galleries he saw two paintings he recognized from the back of playing cards, Pinkie and Blue Boy. Seeing the originals was a life-changing event. “My moment of realization that there was such a thing as being an artist happened right there”. (Rauschenberg,1997). And the relationship between reproductions and originals is one that continued to interest him his entire life.

After the war he enrolled in the small North Carolinian school, Black Mountain College. Joseph Albers was the head in 1948 when Rauschenberg arrived at the school.  Rauschenberg had great success with the other students but not quite as much success with Albers.  Albers believed the foundation of art was not personal expression but to learn the properties of specific media and elements of style.  Line, color, form had to be learned.  It wasn’t about making a good drawing but rather it was more important to learn the specific properties of the pen and ink.  He worked as a scientist—imposing order on color and form.  And although Rauschenberg chafed under his authority, he learned about order and you can see the organization of his compositions—even when they seem to be just random accumulations of stuff.

In June of 1949 Rauschenberg left Black Mountain and moved to New York where the Abstract Expressionists dominated.  The Abstract Expressionists were a group of artists working with abstraction who refused to consider their works solely paint on a canvas.  Rather it was (to quote Barnet Newman) “pure idea that makes contact with mystery—of life, or men, of nature of the hard black chaos that is death or the grayer, softer chaos that is tragedy.”  These were artists who took their abstraction very seriously. In a theory advocated by Clement Greenberg, painting should not aspire to be anything other than painting.  It was not supposed to create an illusion; it was supposed to convey meaning by creating emotion and feeling with paint—in a non-representational way. (Greenberg,1940). Rauschenberg would come up from his Fulton Street Studio to hang out with the Abstract Expressionists at their bar, Cedar.  Conversation focused on the artist’s alienation in society, transcendentalism, and the inherent tragedy of life. The seriousness was partially due to the fact that they believed quite strongly that they were creating a new American art that was completely separate from the European tradition that had dominated art in America and so their art was heavy with that significance.

But it was with the Combines, a series he began in 1953, that Rauschenberg found success.  The Combines incorporate aspects of painting, sculpture and a large dose of the visual culture–in part as a reaction to the Abstract Expressionists.  In line with the dominant art theories of the time which held that works like Pollock’s paintings had no literal or narrative connection to the outside world, the original interpretations of the Combines considered them in the same vein.  They were said to be a flat bed picture plane—just a space on which the world fell. John Cage famously said that there was no more subject in a Combine than in a page of newspaper.  (Cage, 1961) These works just recorded the urban gaze with no judgment or hierarchy. These types of theories make the work very serious; it elevates them from just being scraps of newspaper on a piece of canvas.

In 1963 there was a retrospective at the Jewish Museum that was comprised almost completely of Combines. This exhibition coupled with the Biennale victory was the catalyst for abandoning the Combines.  The Venice Biennale is a semiannual art exhibition in which countries from around the world curate different pavilions.  In 1963 no American had yet won the coveted Grand Prize.  The installation was calculated to show how American painting had moved away from the strident, emotional abstractions of the AbEx artists. It worked, and Rauschenberg won. Searching for a new outlet he stumbled upon commercial silk-screens and lithography.

Born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Warhol studied graphic design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology before moving to New York in 1949.  Unlike Rauschenberg, he didn’t fall in with the Abstract Expressionists.  Instead he worked for magazines including Glamour, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar and as a window dresser and book illustrator.  By 1959 he was one of the highest paid commercial artists in the city making nearly $65,000 a year.

During this time he was also exhibiting artwork in solo and group shows in New York and developing his interest in television, fan magazines, and society columns which put him on the opposite side of the street theoretically from the Abstract Expressionists who took their inspiration from the European avant-garde model of the struggling serious artist who stood separate from the glitterati. Upon transitioning from a career as a commercial artist, Andy Warhol was at the forefront of the Pop art movement.  In 1960 he produced his first hand painted pictures based on comic book characters.

He abandoned his commercial work in 1962 the same year he made Telephone, a straightforward black and white acrylic painting. The works of the early 60s like this painting of an old fashioned telephone were images that had been pulled directly from the visual culture—from phone books, magazines, or advertisements.  Warhol called these types of paintings “no comment” artworks.  To create them he used a projector to blow up an image he had clipped from somewhere.  When the image was projected on the wall, he traced it to make an exact copy and then painted it. (Greenberg,2007).When asked about his studio practice at this point he said that in the studio “the music blasting cleared my head out and left me working on instinct alone.  In fact it wasn’t only rock and roll that I used that way, I’d also have the radio blasting opera, and the TV picture on and if all that didn’t clear enough out of my mind, I’d open a magazine, put it beside me and half read an article while I was painting.”  He was working to remove the artist’s point of view from the painting.  In a complete departure from the Abstract Expressionists who viewed their works as reflections of the artist’s state of mind at the time of creation, Warhol attempted to remove the artist’s consciousness from the moment of creation.

Towards the end of 1962 he discovered how to transfer a picture photographically onto a silkscreen and he immediately switched over to this technique.  He liked the way it eliminated all remnants of the artist’s touch.  “The reason I’m painting this way is that I want to be a machine, and I feel that whatever I do and do machine-like is what I want to do.” (Swenson, 1963)

The process was successful and a new series began.  In October Rauschenberg visited Warhol’s studio and saw the new silk screens hanging on the wall.  He immediately honed in on them—recognizing in their machine –like form was a new opportunity for him to explore seriality and more away from the Combines.  He asked where Warhol sent his images out to be screened.  And after a little hesitation, Warhol shared his source with Rauschenberg and a new era in Modern art had begun (Feinstein, 1990).

For Rauschenberg, silkscreen was a medium that fit with his life long interest in appropriating images from the visual culture and recontextualizing them in his art. Silkscreen also freed him from the scale that bound him in the Combines where he would underline and highlight objects with paint.  But in a silkscreen he could blow up an object to draw your eye to it. In the first silk- screens that he worked on in 1962 he limited himself to black and white saying “I’m such a pushover for color, and I didn’t want that to interfere with what I was trying to work out.”  i.e. the process of silk-screening (Feinstein, 1990).  He still incorporates some found objects into the silkscreen (in this case, a deflated inner tube).  He had images reproduced on photosensitive silkscreen and then he used screens multiple times so images reoccur in different contexts throughout the silkscreen series. The images he chose were from photographs he took himself, some came from magazines, and others were reproductions of fine art.  Like the Combines it became a jumble of images organized by the artist.  But unlike the Combines, they were all of the same media.

Warhol’s early silk screens were less connected to his earlier “no comment” paintings.  Instead they explored his interest in imagery of fame and the idea of cult worship with pop star idols. In Gold Marilyn Monroe (1962) he reduces a human being to the flattest possible form. Marilyn Monroe was a legend when she committed suicide in August of 1962, but in retrospect her life became reinterpreted as a gradual martyrdom to the media and to her public. After her death, Warhol based many works on the same photograph of her, publicity still for the 1953 movie Niagara.

He would paint the canvas with a single color—turquoise, green, blue, lemon yellow—then silkscreen Monroe’s face on top. As the surround for a face, the golden field in Gold Marilyn Monroe (the only one of Warhol’s Marilyns to use this color) recalls the religious icons of Christian art history. Because he used silkscreen to duplicate this photograph, he ends up with a crisp, artificial look. So, even as Warhol canonizes Monroe, he reveals her public image as a carefully structured illusion. Redolent of 1950s glamour, the face in Gold Marilyn Monroe is much like the star herself—high gloss, yet transient. Surrounded by a void, it is like the fadeout at the end of a movie (McCarthy,2000.)  Silkscreen was the perfect medium to capture this glossy image of fame.

Interestingly, Rauschenberg working with the same medium manages to retain some of the painterly expressionism that united the found images of his Combine series.   In Crocus (1962)

there is a large military vehicle at the top, a small bouncing football, a reproduction of Velasquez’s Venus and Cupid, several magnified images of a mosquito in flight and the Cupid again—all silk screened.  There is also some paint applied directly to the canvas but the palette remains only the scale between white and black.  This silkscreen has an interesting relationship to its title as Rauschenberg said he named it Crocus because it was like a new season beginning (Rauschenberg, 1997).  The artist realized that the silk screens were a conscious movement away from the series that had brought him fame and a growing fortune.

Warhol was also realizing that the silk screens represented a new chapter in his career.  He had come to fine arts later in his life and had specific ideas about his role as the artist.  He wanted to create a distance between himself and his production; to act as the “director” of the process—foreshadowing his later interest in film.  In 1963 Warhol established a studio in an abandoned fire station on East 87th Street and hired Gerald Malanga, a young New York poet, to assist him with his screen screens. This delegation produced one of the best known silkscreen series–a full-length portrait of Elvis Presley.

In Elvis I & II (1963) Warhol  played with the idea of the mutability of desire by transforming a well-known film still of Elvis Presley, from the 1960 movie Flaming Arrow.  The work becomes an exercise in gender bending through the use of lavender pants, crimson shirt and rouged lips.  It was shown in Warhol’s first solo exhibit at the Stable Gallery in New York which also included portraits of Marilyn Monroe.  Warhol’s interest in exploring the fluidity of gender has been well documented.  But in this case the layering of traditional female attributes and colors should be seen through the lens of Warhol’s distance from the art and Malanga’s interest in the overlap of gender stereotypes.  In recent years, Malanga has discussed his role in the creation of the silk screens and his lack of credit for them.  However, Warhol’s delegation of labor was a critical part of his silkscreen series and the release of control—made possible by the machine-like nature of the process—was one of the primary attractions of the medium for Warhol.

Although the two artists had different reasons for approaching the medium and different ways to manifest their interest—both artists explored current events with a keen eye and an artist’s sensibility.  As Rauschenberg continued to work with silkscreen he felt comfortable enough to begin working with color. But that resulted in a few new problems.  Each color must be laid down separately in the silkscreen process.  Layering four colors can produce almost any color in the world.  So as Rauschenberg began to work with four-color silk-screens he realized that to blend the four colors perfectly it is imperative to line up each of the four screens exactly.  He found it impossible to get them to line up and so finally he accepted it as a part of his artwork giving as sense of serendipity in the creative process.  This “imperfection” created a blurring effect that recalled the more painterly, earlier works and which was a formal counterpoint to the contemporary images he sampled.

In Retroactive 1 (1964)    Rauschenberg uses images of current events gathered from magazines and newspapers but the composition is dominated by a large press photograph of John F. Kennedy speaking at a televised news conference. The image of Kennedy is juxtaposed with another image, from a separate silk screen, of a parachuting astronaut. The overlapping, and seemingly disparate images come together to form a colorful and expressive visual commentary on a newly media-saturated culture coming to terms with newly available color television era. And, the work should be read with the recent assassination of Kennedy in mind.  The sudden social upheavals of the 1960s and their immediate coverage in homes via television provided inspiration and material to both artists.

For his Death in America series, Andy Warhol did three silkscreen paintings with ‘Race Riot’ in the name. Warhol’s paintings of these events were based on a photograph by Charles Moore in “Life”, May 17, 1963.  Warhol had the photographs transferred to screens and then worked with them in his typical  serial way.

Each Race Riot is printed with a different primary color:  red, white and blue. These colors are supposed to represent the American flag and all that the democracy stands for. However, these images are not a celebration of American values.  Warhol uses these colors as a sarcastic statement about the then desegregation of the South (McCarthy,2000). All three silk screens are based on the Birmingham race riots, a 1960 media event.  Although called ‘race riots’ these were peaceful non-violent demonstrators, both blacks and whites, marching for Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson, trying to win basic human rights for blacks in the south. The events were all well documented by the contemporary media outlets of print, film and television and Warhol mined these sources to create the powerful works.

Initially, these works were met by critics and collectors as solid examples from blue chip artists.  But Rauschenberg’s work—with its direct formal connections to the Combine series and its inherent painterly quality was described as elegant and classical.  So for all that he had hoped to push beyond the Combine series, his silk screens were viewed as merely a solid continuation of his previous success.  Warhol’s work was, conversely, embraced by the conceptual movement and lauded for its absolute break with the Greenbergian ideas of the previous decade.  It was not until the 1980s and the neo-Expressionists that Rauschenberg’s silk screens began to be reevaluated and appreciated for their groundbreaking synthesis of expression and machine made art.  However, both artists prove that without a solid foundation of theory and skill—the tools are worthless (Schimmel,2008).  Silkscreen became an accepted fine art medium because these two creative masterminds forged a new path with a synthesis of creativity and technology.

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

TUTORIAL REPORT & FEEDBACK FORM

Pathway:Digital art
Name of Tutor: Paul Coldwell
Name: Louis Carosello
Date: 11/9/11
Issues discussed/Subject:
We began with an overview of all the items posted on my MA course blog:
Abstract for MA research project.
MA Thesis outline

These documents led to discussions of: A commonality of interests in technology’s affect on artists.
Various artistic movements’ experiences with tools and technology.

He suggested that I look at the contemporary reactions to technological developments in the art world. I will keep this in mind as I get to that section in my thesis.

Comments/Notes
We discussed the question my research seeks to answer. Paul suggested I make the question more dynamic and controversial. He thinks it might be stronger if the answer is not so easy to agree with.

He also suggested that I look for the satirical aspects of the artists’ concept or if there were any contemporary perceptions of the art as a scam.

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

Outline MA paper

Posted on November 1, 2011

Louis Carosello: MA Thesis Outline: 2 October 2011

I. Introduction
A. Idea of incorporation of new technologies by artists.
B. Silk Screen process.
C. Thesis: (work in progress) Technology is worthless… Can we learn from Pop Artists Rauschenberg and Warhol appropriation of industrial silkscreen technology in the 60’s, that creative concepts are essential to the successful use of new technology tools ?

II. Before 1962
A. Brief Robert Rauschenberg biography
1. Focus on his successes of the 1950s
2. Discussion of an example of his pre-silkscreen work (Combines)
B. Brief Andy Warhol biography
1. Focus on his graphic design career, commercial approach to production and marketing
2. Discussion of an example of his pre-silkscreen work (hard edged paintings)

III. 1962-1964
A. Warhol and Rauschenberg discover silkscreen, the world is becoming a ”global village”

B. Silkscreen works
1. Silkscreen works creates distance
a. For Rauschenberg an artistic distance from success of Combines. Overdrive 1963
b. For Warhol an emotional distance that reflects his interest in the idea of the Factory. Elvis I&II 1964

2. Silkscreen works reflect an explosion in available visual resources from contemporary life.
a. For Rauschenberg an interest in the “flatbed picture plane”/urban environment.
b. For Warhol an interest in fame.)16 Jackies or Jackie 1964 or 4 Campbells Soup Cans 1965 cans plays with Image/subject and color where Jackies are more about technique and imagery

3. Silkscreen works challenging the traditional hierarchy of media
a. Silkscreen works as reaction to Greenbergian theory.
Rauschenberg:
Warhol: Electric Chair 1964 or Red Race Riot 1963

IV. After 1964
A. Warhol and Rauschenberg respond to contemporary critics
1. Rauschenberg wins Pal d’Or at Venice Bieniale
2. Warhol spends time making movies working out of The Factory. Print work mass production and marketing continue
B. Critical reaction to silkscreens.
1. Initial response to Rauschenberg’s work as looking back to Cubism because of its painterly qualities.
2. Reevaluation of Rauschenberg’s silkscreen work in the 1980s with postmodern theory.
3. Contextualize Warhol’s work as looking ahead to Minimalism and Conceptualism.

V. Conclusion: a new artistic technology is worthless without an artist’s ideas and creativity.

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

title and abstract for MA paper

Posted on August 21, 2011

How did Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg’s appropriation of commercial silkscreen technology in 1962 affect their work and the critical response to it?

“Us silk-screeners got to stick together.”
Robert Rauschenberg, May 1963

In August of 1962 when Andy Warhol first incorporated photographic silkscreen into his work it was a revolutionary move. And when, a few months later and after a visit to Warhol’s studio, Robert Rauschenberg started a new series that utilized photographic silkscreen, it was no less shocking. Before these two artists began to use it, silkscreen had been used almost solely for commercial purposes. It would be easy to dismiss this appropriation of a commercial technology for fine art purposes as merely another shock-ploy used by two artists who enjoyed playing with expectations. Especially the expectations of critics, like Clement Greenberg, who had supported the Abstract Expressionists.

But their use of silkscreen was infinitely more complicated than simply an art world prank. My research shows how they both incorporated the tool into their practice in ways that are uniquely personal. And by 1964 both had produced bodies of work that represent a seismic shift in art history. Rauschenberg won first prize at the 1964 Venice Biennale with a show that included his silkscreen paintings. And by 1964 Warhol’s silkscreens had made him an art world star.

But what drew these artists who had established careers and solo shows behind them to this new tool? Focusing on historical and biographical issues contextualized with contemporary market and theoretical conditions, this paper explores the motivating factors that allowed Warhol and Rauschenberg to introduce silkscreening to their practice and then to the art world. It also looks at critical reaction both contemporary and in the ensuing decades to these bodies of work. Particular attention will be paid to how the formal differences in each artist’s work has affected how critics appreciate them with regards to the emerging movements of Pop, Minimalism, and Performance Art.

In conclusion, it is my hope that this paper will illustrate how a new artistic technology is worthless without an artist’s ideas and creativity.

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

Carosello MPR

Posted on May 23, 2011

Louis Carosello MPR

Posted on May 23, 2011

HELLO…

I am Louis Carosello and welcome to a presentation of my Mid Point Review

I have chosen to talk about my progress in the Masters of Digital Arts course by presenting two pieces of my art that have recently (as recently as yesterday) been in exhibitions and contextualizing them in an art historical movement.

Exhibiting is one of the methodologies I have chosen to expand my artistic experiences and knowledge. And I feel I have been more thoughtful in the work I have been submitting for exhibitions as a result of the work I am doing in this course.  It has forced me to examine my own practice.

And while researching digital art techniques—with an eye to the development of tools, inventions, and technology—I see parallels to the influence these things have had on the development of art movements throughout history. In this course, I am focusing on American Pop Art because this movement was omnipresent during my earliest artistic training.  And, as a result, it has had a lasting impact on my own development as an artist.

Now I’d like to take a brief look at some of the artists that have influenced my artistic practices………

Robert Rauschenberg:

Rauschenberg picked up trash and found objects that interested him on the streets of New York City and brought these things back to his studio where they were integrated into his work. Rauschenberg wanted his art to be something other than what he could just make. By using what he found, he played with the idea of “surprise” and “serendipity”.  His work is marked by it’s a sense of collectiveness and the generosity of the streets. Rauschenberg allowed the object to be changed by its context and to therefore  become something new.

Andy Warhol:

Warhol’s early jobs were doing drawings for Glamour, and for various magazines, book jackets, and holiday greeting cards.  At one point he was one of the highest paid graphic designers working in New York City.

But in 1960, Warhol began to make his first paintings.  based on comic strips and Coca-Cola bottles.  In 1962, Warhol made paintings of dollar bills and Campbell soup cans and this work was included in an important exhibition of pop art—The New Realists. In 1964 he began the operation of The Factory, which became his main studio.  At The Factory, contemporary forms of printing technology and commercial art methods were explored and embraced.  And a spirit of collectiveness prevailed.

Roy Lichtenstein:

After being denied tenure at an Ohio university (where he worked and taught in an Abstract Expressionist style), Lichtenstein moved to the East Coast and by 1961 he had created the type of image for which he became famous. This body of work included advertisement illustrations—common objects such as string, golf balls, kitchen curtains, slices of pie, or a hot dog. Lichtenstein was best known for his paintings based on comic strips, with their themes of passion, romance, science fiction, violence, and war. In these paintings, Lichtenstein uses commercial art methods: projectors to magnify, spray-gun stencils to create dots that make the pictures look like a newspaper cartoons.

These three artists are bound together by their approach to art which freely embraces contemporary technologies, looks to found objects and images for source material, and plays with the idea of “high” and “low” culture.

I have embraced these influences openly with my current efforts.
BODONNA 2

Ink jet print on canvas combined with an assembledge of found objects to create an image of the perfect woman and a shrine to womanhood. 

Back story: Bodonna was first conceived in 2007 as a print and later as an assemblage/sculpture  which was displayed at the RiartEco  Exhibit in 2008.

The sculpture was lost in Florence during 2009.

Bodonna 2 is an effort to refine the original concept of the perfect woman and introduce more relevant found objects and to create a more literal shrine environment.

X

An assemblage of found objects combined with a graphic skull, reflecting the dangers of TOXIC WASTE, while reveling in its iconic images.

Technologies influence on creative ideas:

Technology is a tool and, although computer technology is the first tool to expand the mental capacity of man, it is still a tool. All tools/inventions, prior to computing, dealt with extending man’s physical capabilities. They all have a goal of improved performance.

And current computer /Internet technology is no different—it’s just broader in its reach and scope, as reflected by the depth and diversity of my classmates proposals of digital art.

Development of new printing technology effected what and how creative ideas were presented and produced, in the 60′s there was a proliferation of printing tech available to artists: photo sensitive silkscreen, larger sized formats and new colors and inks.  Today (as in the last decade) the computer, software, and the Internet have assisted and expanded the creative choices and venues an artist has.

Take scale as an example—with advances in digital imaging and printing it is now possible to present on an almost unlimited scale. Scaffolding art/ advertising is common place. Posters are wrapped around twenty story buildings.

Pop artist Claes Oldenberg used scale in his drawings and sculptures as an impact point. By taking an object like a spoon and making it 100 feet long, he made the usual…. unusual and allowed the viewer to see the aesthetic  beauty magnified by scale

My fascination with the ordinary has been lifelong.  At an early age I created drawing studies of telephone poles. My entire life I have collected found objects—and enjoyed storing, assembling and sorting them—it all just came naturally to me.

By seeing the aesthetic value in the mundane I felt I was always surrounded by treasures.  My goal is to express this in my art. To communicate the concept of rediscovering the neglected or banal and give it value the viewer can relate to.

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

Carosello Proposal

Posted on January 10, 2011

Carosello Proposal

Working Title:

Electric Pop: Technology’s influence on American Pop art and its parallels in the digital technology of today

Aims + Objectives:

Aims:

Just as American Pop did, I plan to:

  • rediscover the neglected or banal and give it value by recontextualizing it within my artistic practice.
  • utilize digital technology to expose the magic of objects to a society that has relegated them to the mundane or unnecessary by disposing of them.

Objectives:

To achieve these aims I plan to:

  • take a critical look at the American Pop movement and its reverberations in my own digital practice via a thorough portfolio review.
  • Explore changing digital production techniques by creating a new body of work.
  • Critique traditional exhibition venues by exploring alternatives in my practice.
  • Mass produce a series of work in a strategic guerrilla project.
  • Commit my own practice to elevating banal and discarded objects to a higher level.
  • Create a forum for discussion of these theories and their manifestations in a formal academic setting.

Context:

My project’s main historical context can be found in the Pop Art movement of the early 1960s.  In the ten years between 1950 and 60 the number of televisions in the US jumped from just under 4 million to just over 45 million (TV Facts, C. Steinberg, 1980).  In the 1960s , it was possible to juxtapose gruesome images from the Vietnam War with the comfortable homes of Lucy Ricardo and Donna Reed in matter of seconds in one’s own living room.  The Visual Culture had changed and art began to change with it and in response to it.  In Pop Art you see the shift from art concerned with existentialism to art concerned with semiotics—or rather art concerned with identity (usually of the artist) to art concerned with the language of art.  Pop art detaches images from their original location in the visual culture and recontexualizes them into something new.  Images from the media become equal to any subject from nature—it is the same thing in this art movement to paint a tree or a stop sign.

Concurrent with the development of this movement, art galleries began orchestrating artist’s careers (with an eye to making money) and art openings became a very stylish place to see and be seen.  In 1964 the performance artist Allan Kaprow said, “if the artist was in hell in 1946, now he is in business.”   And this business required artwork that the artists produced with silk-screens and other commercial printing and manufacturing techniques that quickly replaced the heretofore-privileged “hand” of the artist.

My other historical context will be a close reading of Benjamin’s Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction to provide a historical context and also the basis for a theoretical context.  My more contemporary theory will be Greenbergian (beginning with Clement Greenberg) and will include: Rosalind Krauss—specifically her writings on Pollock and the death of the easel painting tradition; Branden W. Joseph—his writings on Rauschenberg, one of the first artists to fully exploit technology in art; and Thomas Crow’s work on Pop and postwar art.
I am drawn to this type of theory because of its attempt to distance itself from completely subjective musings and for its concern with the primacy of the image.  I will also be referencing some theory on guerrilla art—although I am less interested in the political aims of groups like the Guerrilla Girls and see my guerrilla work more in line with the light hearted aims of the Duchampian tradition.

Contemporary artists that I will be looking at will be those who work in a Pop or Neopop tradition—including: Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari and Jeff Koons. I’m interested in looking to see how they incorporate technology into their work.

Methodology:

My methodology will be a series of art actions that will be united by an investigation into elevating objects and raising consciousness.

1.  The city of Florence is one of the most visited cities in the world.  Tourists flock to the city and walk the same routes where they see the same things: checking them off on some internal list.  They go to see what is “important” and by they implication of their visit—the places and objects gain more “importance”; it is a cycle that gives meaning to the various cultural monuments in this city.  I intend to interject an awareness-causing guerrilla project into this cycle.  Using a very graphic Pop aesthetic, I will create a series of posters, photo displays and graphics to bring awareness to overlooked aspects of the city.  Sometimes beauty is found in the form of a Renaissance sculpture and sometimes beauty is found in the way the paving stones have been laid; this project will create a dialogue between the city’s visitors and its objects.  Public response to this project will be documented with photographs and videos.

2. At the myriad bike racks in Florence I have always been struck by the number of “unrideable” bicycles—twisted frames, fragments of wheels, tires and lock, sometimes just a dangling handlebar.    I began to collect these scraps and I intend to create a reinvented bicycle.  This oversized behemoth will evoke the outsized sculptures of Oldenberg but will be a comment on the transient nature of ownership in an urban environment.  It is likely that I will create this installation in conjunction with the civic sponsored exhibition, RiArtEcoMarc in April of 2011.

3.  Building on a series I began working on a few years ago, I will work with iconic religious images and found objects.  Exploring the idea of relic veneration, I intend to create “relics” out of found objects.  In one case I will use toenail clippings collected over five years to build a Christ or Saint figure.  The “relic” will then be photographed and digitally manipulated to create a series of prints.

4. I will design and publish a new website to feature my art.  It will have a dual function: display and exhibit. Through this website and social media I intend to solicit discarded objects that I will be able to incorporate in my work.  Digital submissions (i.e. a photo of a broken television) and concrete submissions (i.e. hair trimmings) will both be accepted.  The aesthetic of the website and the incorporation of the submissions will be in line with the series of work I am currently developing as inspired by American Pop.

5.  My culminating activity for this project will be to assemble a solo show of my Florentine work.  This will include finding space, developing a marketing and branding strategy, and installing the exhibition.

6.  As a working educator I would like to develop a syllabus for a course involving creative object reuse in design and execution.
Outcomes: 

The form of the final presentation will be a solo online exhibition of the work produced during the projects outlined above.  It is my hope that through this process I will be able to change the perception of the discarded or banal.

 

 

Work Plan:
Color coded to methodology and outcomes

 

2011

Nov                        Dec                        Jan            Feb                        Mar                        April

2012

May        June             July            Aug                         Sept            Oct

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

Books:

Thomas Crow, The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent(New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1996)

Thomas Crow, Modern Art in the Common Culture (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996)

Mark Francis, Pop (Phaidon Press, 2010)

Branden W. Joseph, Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde(Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003)

Rosalind Krauss, The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985)

Steven Henry Madoff, ed., Pop Art: A Critical History (University of California Press, 1997).

Journals:

Philip Leider, “Perfect Unlikeness”, ArtForum, Feb. 2000.

Essays:

Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936. English translation by Harry Zohn in H. Arendt (ed.), Wlater Benjamin, Illuminations, London, 1973, pp. 219-53.

Clement Greenberg, “Towards a newer Laocoon”, Originally Published in Partisan Review, New York, VII, no. 47 July-August 1940, pp. 296-310.

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism, English translation by R. W. Flint in Marinetti’s Selected Writings, London, 1971, pp. 39-44.

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

Q&A

Moira: Louis… – Do you think it’s easier to be an artist and move onto technology or the other way round?

Louis: artist first that wAY you develop the creativity and access the tools

What good is a technical tool without creative thought/ideas?

Mariana: Louis, Are you going to incorporate online social networks as part today’s influence in art?

Louis: yes for exhibit purposes

It’s influence is a consideration but it’s usefulness is more important in that it exists.

Osiris: Louis: I Am aware of the Industrial influence of the American Pop Art movement. Where do you see the influence of technology ?

louis: Osiris everywhere

Tech influences on pop are many, materials used, size and scale of pieces, choice of subjects. These were influences from “industrial sources” but originated through developing technology.  Today’s effects of tech are felt more through dissemination and accessibility.

Osiris: I looking forward to your research results. I Love Pop Art.

Louis: I lived through it and am a survivor

I like it ,also the way it reuses seemingly useless imagery or materials to make a current and bold statement. also the dash of irreverent attitude  or humor often used.

olivia: Louis, do you think social and political tendencies be translated as powerfully in digital artifacts as they did once through pop art?

Louis: Olivia, yes more so

Because you have more ways to connect with the viewer and assault their senses or introduce concepts.

Alexandra: Louis – will there be a ‘physical’ approach to your work also, i.e. the image you have posted last on your page appears to be in the process of being swept away as it is melting, you can vreate this digitally but how about comparing it to what would happen it you tried to do this in real time

Alexandra: (in combination that is)

Louis: My previous work in animation was always with very limited frames per second, I have admiration for real time movement, but my experience has lead me to favor the jerky or suggested approach to movement. It seems to accent the pop attitude that I cherish .

Osiris: You will be illustrating the influence of technology on the American Pop Art movement, do you intent do do this in a digital or a traditional way ?

Louis: working digital but presenting in a traditional manner

All work will be digitally recorded, manipulated and stored, the physical assemblages are transitional but may find a way into a final presentation. My exposure and experience with new technical avenues could also effect the methods used. ( I am determined but flexible)

Louis: I have series where i construct combines and document the progress in stop action   These could be presented in non traditional meeds formats.

olivia: Are you going to try and portray the connection between pop art and digital technology from the aspect of being debatable/controversial in the public eye because to some it is not art at all?

Louis: Yes, as i find that part of POP art  a very good example of the effects of publicity marketing and brand development on art. As with anything new, debate can run rampant

Moira: Before you even start your research, do you have a particular opinion on how technology and mass media is affecting contemporary artists? Or how is it affecting you as an artist?

Louis: tech is a tool to help communicate my concepts

In new ways to new audiences. Using new resources to explore new approaches.

we can always question wether it is the medium/media or the message/concept that effects the viewer most.

Osiris: Tech is a tool you use only to communicate ?

Basically yes. on the out put end of things

The input aspects are more complicated and require additional analysis as i develop different skills

Moira: just to help or to enhance?

Louis: to deliver communication

in the most effective manner considering the concept and the audience.

Mariana: Louis, how is the final project going to be exhibit: online, printed, through social networks?

Louis: on-line and in an physical exhibit again as my skills develop this is likely to grow.

1 How do you think the infl;uence of new technology on the rise of American pop art canbe paraelled with todays digital technology?
eva
I feel there are many parallels  between influences of POP art and the  current development  phase of digital tech.  Pop took low art/images and presented them as high art. Where digital media has made high art more accessible  and it can easily be used in a low art manner. IE; how many people are using the Mona Lisa as a facebook avatar or a crop from a wharhol.
Also during the pop era the development of new printing technology allowed for larger and more efficient production. (stat cameras, larger print sizes and mass production)  The use of day-glo colors in pop is similar to the use of flash animation in the digital era. First use by artists  later used by everyone. Toys, safety, brand marketing and who can forget using day-glo combined with black light to enhance posters.

Project Proposal

Posted on October 26, 2010

PROJECT PROPOSAL

QUESTION

I will focus my research on assessing the influence of technology on the rise of the American Pop Art movement and then drawing parallels to the digital technology used in the creative process today. I am particularly interested in looking at the intersection of mass production, art distribution, and an artist’s ability to incorporate the social environment.

CONTEXT

I will be looking at the art of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and other canonical American artists of the 1960s and reading them in the context of Walter Benjamin’s Art in the Age of Mechanical ReproductionI will also be looking at how contemporary artists grapple with and embrace modern forms of technology.

METHDOLOGY

I will express my results in my personal art work illustrating the influence of technology on creative processes. Taking these concepts through the contemporary art environment of today i.e. marketing concepts, web still and motion graphic distribution, gallery environments in various cities and my experiences with current teaching trends and techniques.

RESOURCES

Macintosh computer; digital software programs – Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign,  Microsoft Office Suite; internet connection; digital camera and a free flowing creative thought process.  I will use a variety of sources including internet resources, the Getty Research Institute library in Los Angeles, CA, the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, museum gallery research in Florence and Los Angeles, and interviews with practicing artists.  

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

bedroom 33

Posted on October 24, 2010
xerox copy

This gallery contains 1 photo.

doodles

Posted on October 24, 2010

Posted in HOME | Tagged Leave a comment | Edit

Bodonna

Posted on October 24, 2010

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

12X12 Monkey

Posted on October 24, 2010

12×12 monkey

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

Poster

Posted on October 17, 2010

Posted in HOMELeave a comment | Edit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s