Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Textbook-Based Blog #1: ART DECO
Artist: Alexey Brodovitch
Title: Harper's Bazaar Travel
Title: Harper's Bazaar Cover
Explain: In accordance to most Art Deco pieces, the first magazine cover of Harper's Bazaar has decorative lines and flat, 2D forms. There is a minimalist amount of colors used and overall simplicity. There are 5 colors in total, including black and white, and basic shapes, shading, and technique. The simplicity is exceptionally intriguing because even in its 2D design, it comes forward and pops out of the pages as a 3D design would. What also helps the design come alive and pop off the cover is the layering effect that creates depth. The blue box in the background with the hand or glove on top of the blurbs and then the magazine's title on top, etc. give an ultimate feeling of depth, which is quite interesting. With the copy all in diagonals to the left and then Harper's at the top being in a diagonal in the opposite direction, it gives it a sense of balance, even in it's asymmetry, which is common in Art Deco.
In the second shown Harper's Bazaar issue, there is not as much simplicity in relationship to lines and shapes; however, there is still a limited color pallet and simple shapes. Most of the shapes are rather similar and and consistent throughout. What is striking on this cover is the strong vertical motion. It has a sharp edge and draws my attention with how large it is on the page. Compared to the rest of the curves and wavy lines, it is big, bold, sharp, and 3D. It is also extremely interesting how Brodovitch plays with the illusion of eyes and / or mask in the middle of the bold object as well. His placement is extremely interesting and draws the viewer in. Overall, in his unbalance and heavy left side, he created a balance by adding more flag looking objects to the right. It comes together in harmony, which seems to be true for most Art Deco pieces.
As being the earliest of the three pieces, it's interesting to see the contrast between the three of them. This is much simpler than the already simple magazine covers we observed. This is a very geometric and unified piece consisting of essentially four squares and three circles. How is it simple and unified? Well, the shapes are limited to two and are consistent throughout the piece. With the touch of red in the middle of the black square and then the touch of red in the text outside the square, it creates a balance which is compositionally amazing. To continue on, the fact that the "M" in martini is cropped off makes the piece even more visually interesting because it is as if it continues on beyond the page. The simple use of these four colors (two being black and white) seems to be common throughout Art Deco. Simplicity, refinement, and geometry keep Art Deco comparatively cohesive considering how long of a movement it is.
Artist: Jean Carlu
Title: America's Answer! Production
Title: Stop Em' to Sell Em'
Title: Theatre Pigalle. Feu du Ciel
Explain: Although this is later in the Art Deco period, America's Answer! Production still maintains the essence of Art Deco. The typography is incorporated and involved within the piece and the colors are still simple. The difference between the previous pieces reviewed and this one is obviously the amount of detail. The level of detail in this piece does not compare to the previous ones. The glove is shown realistically and is done in a 3D fashion. Previously, most of the pieces were done 2D but appeared 3D whereas this is both 3D and presented in a 3D fashion.
With the second image, Stop Em' to Sell Em', it is extremely simple; however, the simplicity of the color and interaction of the colors together create an interesting appeal. The central design is seemingly uncommon in Art Deco; however, that is what makes this so strong and different from the rest of the movement, yet so as they say "Art Deco."
Once again, with this final image - the strong diagonals and limited color pallet, it truly makes me smile because of its ingenuity. It is fun, eye-catching, and with the "Theatre Pigalle" creating the crossing diagonal, it is an extraordinary composition. It is fun to look at and would catch my eye every time.
Artist: A.M. Cassandre
Title: NEderlandsche NYverheidsten TOonstelling
Title: G. des Fêtes de Paris
Explain: I am personally a big fan of A.M. Cassandre. Even though the pieces are more detailed, there is still a simplicity of color and the integrity of Art Deco is still in tact. Ingenious ideas such as the first image, Grand Sport of 1931, the combination of typography and illustration is clever. Many of his works are as such - the combination of two or more concepts to create an ultimately unique and interesting piece. This stands true for each of the shown works.
The treatment of the composition and experimentation with a combination of concepts appeals to the Art Deco style and movement in general. The tone and vibes from these Art Deco pieces consisting of edginess, recklessness, risk and thrill exemplify these factors even more to solidify Art Deco identity.
Cassandre's unique sense of style which transferred into the Art Deco movement so well is partially because of his interest and influence of Cubism and Surrealism. This alternate way of thinking from both movements and the combination of them in addition to Art Deco, it is clear why his pieces are so successful. He didn't have influence or creative thinking from just one source. It was the combination, mixture, and juggling that formulated such great work.