Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Lecture: Modernism

Modernity & Modernism terms:
1. 'modern' 'modernisation'
2. Modernity - Industrialisation, Urbanisation - the City
3. Modern artists' response to the city
4. Psychology and subjective experience
5. Modern art and photography
6. Defining 'modernism' in art
7. Modernism in design

John Ruskin 1819-1900

The New Woman, photomontage, Spanish Pavillion, Paris International Exhibiton, 1937.

The Language of Postmodern Architechture 1977

15 July 1972, 3.32pm - Modernism dies according to Charles Jencks

Trottoir Roulant - Electrique Moving Walkway.. The early days of urbanisation.

Process of rationality and reason: Enlightenment - A period in the late 18th Century when scientific/philosphical thinking made leaps and bounds.


The old Paris architecture of narrow streets and run down houses are redesigned by city architect Haussman. LArge boulevards were implemented in favour of the narrow streets, making it easier to police - a form of social control.

Max Nordau Degeneration 1892
(an anti modernist) wrote about his worries on the modern world. He predicted that:
"The end of the 20th C. . . will probably see a generation to whom it will not be injurious to read a dozen square yards of newspapers daily, to be constantly called to the telephone, to be thinking simultaneously of the five continents of the world, to live half their time in a railway carriage or in a flying machine and. . . know how to find [their] ease in the midst of a city inhabited by millions."

Modernism emerges out of the subjective responses of artists/ designers to; Modernity

Modernism in Design
-Anti- historicism: there is no need to look backwards to older styles. "Ornament is crime" - Adolf Loos 1908
-Truth to materials: simple geometric forms appropriate to the material being used
-Form follows function
-Internationalism: a language of design that could be recognised and understood on an international basis.

The Baushaus

Early Underground map

Herber Bayer's sans-serif typeface. He argued to make all text lowercase and ditch capitals.

Times New Roman font: Stanley Morison

Fraktur Font/ Fraktur plain

New materials:
-reinforced resin and steel core allowed for the design of the stiletto heel
-new technologies of steel
-reinforced glass
Mass production:
-cheaper more widely accessible products


-The term 'modern' is not a neutral term - it suggests novelty and improvement.
-'modernity' (1750-1960) was the social and cultural experience
-'modernism' is the range of ideas and styles that sprang from modernity

-Importance of modernism:
1. Vocabulary of styles
2. Art and design education
3. Idea of form follows function
-products made quickly

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