Futurism

Edited from Wikipedia

Futurism (Italian: Futurismo) was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized speed, technology, youth, and violence, and objects such as the car, the aeroplane, and the industrial city. It glorified modernity and aimed to liberate Italy from the weight of its past.

It was influence particularly by the art movements Precisionism, Rayonism, and Vorticism and also:

Although it was largely an Italian phenomenon, there were parallel movements in Russia, England, Belgium and elsewhere.

The Futurists practised in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, urban design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture, and even Futurist meals.

Its key figures were the Italians Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Antonio Sant’Elia, Bruno Munari, Benedetta Cappa and Luigi Russolo, the Russians Natalia Goncharova, Velimir Khlebnikov, Igor Severyanin, David Burliuk, Aleksei Kruchenykh and Vladimir Mayakovsky, the Belgian Jules Schmalzigaug and the Portuguese Almada Negreiros.

Important Futurist works included:

See my post: Filippo Marinetti
Although Futurism became identified with Fascism, it had leftist and anti-Fascist supporters. They tended to oppose Marinetti’s artistic and political direction of the movement, and in 1924 the socialists, communists and anarchists walked out of the Milan Futurist Congress. Futurism expanded to encompass many artistic domains and ultimately included painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, theatre design, textiles, drama, literature, music and architecture.
Futurism as a coherent and organized artistic movement is now regarded as extinct, having died out in 1944 with the death of its leader Marinetti.

Nonetheless the ideals of Futurism remain as significant components of modern Western culture; the emphasis on youth, speed, power and technology finding expression in much of modern commercial cinema and culture.  A revival of sorts of the Futurist movement in theatre began in 1988 with the creation of the Neo-Futurist style in Chicago, which utilizes Futurism’s focus on speed and brevity to create a new form of immediate theatre. Currently, there are active Neo-Futurist troupes in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Montreal.

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is a museum in London with a collection centered around Italian futurist artists and their paintings.

African Graphic Design

There is no Wikipedia on African Graphic Design!!!

A history of African art (not graphic design contrary to the title) is:

http://guity-novin.blogspot.nl/2010/03/history-of-graphic-design-african-art.html

And interesting websites with artists are:

A Google search for African typefaces tend to be rather kitsch zebras and unusable. Not the typefaces more commonly used in Africa – these are the common Adobe and Microsoft ones. But African designers have used these with colours in slightly different ways that I have yet to properly analyse.

Some examples from an NGO brochure in Kenya (I unfortunately do not know the designer).

Textile design gives possibilities for different colour schemes:


Zulu House Pattern
Zulu House Pattern
Julio Senna, Brazilian inspired by Africa
from 4 Vector free designs

International Design Approaches

Design Timelines

Designhistory.org (Western design only)

33 famous graphic design companies from around the globe

For cross-cultural Street Art from my Illustration course see my post on that blog: Street Art 

African graphic design

See Post on African design

Middle East and Africa

https://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/100-artworks-from-the-top-20-designers-in-the-middle-east-and-africa–psd-5036

Kenya NGO Design

Uses flags and colours in shape of a country

NGO Report with colour-coded sections with bold colour combinations

Nigeria TV brilliant colours

Ethiopia and Eritrea

Influence of Arab Street Art

EYE Magazine: http://www.eyemagazine.com/blog/post/Pride-and-posters-in-Eritrea

More curvy designs from Ethiopia NGO with limited but bright palette

Sudan

Ibrahim El-Salahi

See also http://www.designindaba.com for directory of African designers.

Islamic Design

Islamic Design

Saudi Art

Iranian Art: Geometric

Iranian Art: Modern

Shirin Neshat

Japanese design

Cross between Zen minimalism, off-centre balance and Pokemon playfulness with very crowded collage.

Zen Aesthetics

Toko Shinoda

Koichi Yamamoto

Japanese Woodcut

Yayoi Kusama

https://designschool.canva.com/blog/japanese-design/

http://gurafiku.tumblr.com

For more on my study of Japanese design, art and illustration see my post on my Illustration blog: Japanese Styles

Latin America

EYE Magazine: http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/beyond-latin

European Design

Wine Bottles from different countries

Signs from London

Art Nouveau

Art Deco

Dada

Expressionism

Expressionist woodcuts

Futurism:

Filippo Marinetti

Modernism

Post-modernism

EYE Magazine from Greece: http://www.eyemagazine.com/blog/post/signs-of-a-city

 

Origins of the book

Origins of the book Edit
The binding of a Chinese bamboo book (Sun Tzu’s The Art of War)
The craft of bookbinding probably originated in India, where religious sutras were copied on to palm leaves (cut into two, lengthwise) with a metal stylus. The leaf was then dried and rubbed with ink, which would form a stain in the wound. The finished leaves were given numbers, and two long twines were threaded through each end through wooden boards, making a palm-leaf book. When the book was closed, the excess twine would be wrapped around the boards to protect the manuscript leaves. Buddhist monks took the idea through Afghanistan to China in the first century BC.

Similar techniques can also be found in ancient Egypt where priestly texts were compiled on scrolls and books of papyrus. Another version of bookmaking can be seen through the ancient Mayan codex; only four are known to have survived the Spanish invasion of Latin America.

Writers in the Hellenistic-Roman culture wrote longer texts as scrolls; these were stored in boxes or shelving with small cubbyholes, similar to a modern winerack. Court records and notes were written on wax tablets, while important documents were written on papyrus or parchment. The modern English word book comes from the Proto-Germanic *bokiz, referring to the beechwood on which early written works were recorded.[4]

The book was not needed in ancient times, as many early Greek texts—scrolls—were 30 pages long, which were customarily folded accordion-fashion to fit into the hand. Roman works were often longer, running to hundreds of pages. The Greeks used to call their books tome, meaning “to cut”. The Egyptian Book of the Dead was a massive 200 pages long and was used in funerary services for the deceased. Torah scrolls, editions of the Jewish holy book, were—and still are—also held in special holders when read.

Scrolls can be rolled in one of two ways. The first method is to wrap the scroll around a single core, similar to a modern roll of paper towels. While simple to construct, a single core scroll has a major disadvantage: in order to read text at the end of the scroll, the entire scroll must be unwound. This is partially overcome in the second method, which is to wrap the scroll around two cores, as in a Torah. With a double scroll, the text can be accessed from both beginning and end, and the portions of the scroll not being read can remain wound. This still leaves the scroll a sequential-access medium: to reach a given page, one generally has to unroll and re-roll many other pages.

Early book formats Edit

In addition to the scroll, wax tablets were commonly used in Antiquity as a writing surface. Diptychs and later polyptych formats were often hinged together along one edge, analogous to the spine of modern books, as well as a folding concertina format. Such a set of simple wooden boards sewn together was called by the Romans a codex (pl. codices)—from the Latin word caudex, meaning ‘the trunk’ of a tree, around the first century AD. Two ancient polyptychs, a pentaptych and octoptych, excavated at Herculaneum employed a unique connecting system that presages later sewing on thongs or cords.[5]

At the turn of the first century, a kind of folded parchment notebook called pugillares membranei in Latin, became commonly used for writing in the Roman Empire.[6] This term was used by both the pagan poet Martial and Christian apostle Paul the Apostle. Martial used the term with reference to gifts of literature exchanged by Romans during the festival of Saturnalia. According to T. C. Skeat, “…in at least three cases and probably in all, in the form of codices” and he theorized that this form of notebook was invented in Rome and then “…must have spread rapidly to the Near East…”[7] In his discussion of one of the earliest pagan parchment codices to survive from Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, Eric Turner seems to challenge Skeat’s notion when stating “…its mere existence is evidence that this book form had a prehistory” and that “early experiments with this book form may well have taken place outside of Egypt.”[8]

Early intact codices were discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. Consisting of primarily Gnostic texts in Coptic, the books were mostly written on papyrus, and while many are single-quire, a few are multi-quire. Codices were a significant improvement over papyrus or vellum scrolls in that they were easier to handle. However, despite allowing writing on both sides of the leaves, they were still foliated—numbered on the leaves, like the Indian books. The idea spread quickly through the early churches, and the word Bible comes from the town where the Byzantine monks established their first scriptorium, Byblos, in modern Lebanon. The idea of numbering each side of the page—Latin pagina, “to fasten”—appeared when the text of the individual testaments of the Bible were combined and text had to be searched through more quickly. This book format became the preferred way of preserving manuscript or printed material.

The Yellow Book

edited from Wikipedia The Yellow Book

Cover of the Yellow Book by Aubrey Beardsley

The Yellow Book was a British quarterly literary periodical that was published in London from 1894 to 1897. It was a leading journal of the British 1890s and lent its name to the “Yellow Nineties” and the magazine contained a wide range of literary and artistic genres, poetry, short stories, essays, book illustrations, portraits, and reproductions of paintings.

It was published by Elkin Mathews and John Lane, and later by John Lane alone, and edited by the American Henry Harland.

Aubrey Beardsley was its first art editor, and he has been credited with the idea of the yellow cover, with its association with illicit French fiction of the period. He obtained works by such artists as Charles Conder, William Rothenstein, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert, and Philip Wilson Steer. The literary content was no less distinguished; authors who contributed were: Max Beerbohm, Arnold Bennett, “Baron Corvo“, Ernest Dowson, George Gissing, Sir Edmund Gosse, Henry James, Richard Le Gallienne, Charlotte Mew, Arthur Symons, H. G. Wells, William Butler Yeats and Frank Swettenham. A notable feature was the inclusion of work by women writers and illustrators, among them Ella D’Arcy and Ethel Colburn Mayne (both also served as Harland’s subeditors), George Egerton, Charlotte Mew, Rosamund Marriott Watson, Ada Leverson, Netta and Nellie Syrett, and Ethel Reed.

It was to some degree associated with Aestheticism and Decadence, but also style. The first issue of The Yellow Book‘s prospectus introduces it “as a book in form, a book in substance; a book beautiful to see and convenient to handle; a book with style, a book with finish; a book that every book-lover will love at first sight; a book that will make book-lovers of many who are now indifferent to books”. The periodical was priced at 5 shillings.

Cover: The Yellow Book‘s brilliant colour immediately associated the periodical with illicit French novels – an anticipation, many thought, of the scurrilous content inside.  It was issued clothbound.

Art separate from text:  Harland and Beardsley rejected the idea that the function of artwork was merely explanatory: “There is to be no connection whatever [between the text and illustrations]. [They] will be quite separate”. The equilibrium which The Yellow Book poses between art and text is emphasized by the separate title pages before each individual work whether literary or pictorial.

Page layout: The Yellow Book‘s mise-en-page differed dramatically from current Victorian periodicals: “… its asymmetrically placed titles, lavish margins, abundance of white space, and relatively square page declare The Yellow Book’s specific and substantial debt to Whistler”. The use of white space is positive rather than negative, simultaneously drawing the reader’s eye to the blank page as an aesthetic and essentially created object. 

Typography: The decision to print The Yellow Book in Caslon-old face further signified the ties which The Yellow Book held to the Revivalists. Caslon-old face, “an eighteenth-century revival of a seventeenth-century typographical style” became “the type-face of deliberate and principled reaction or anachronism”. A type-face generally reserved for devotional and ecclesiastical work, its use in the pages of The Yellow Book at once identified it with the “Religion of Beauty”.

Use of catch-words on every page enhanced The Yellow Book‘s link to the obsolescent. Both antiquated and obtrusive, the catch-phrase interrupts the cognitive process of reading: “making-transparent … the physical sign which constitutes the act of reading; and in doing this, catch-words participate in the ‘pictorialization’ of typography”. By interrupting readers through the very use of irrelevant text, catch-words lend the printed word a solidity of form which is otherwise ignored.

Front covers

The role of the cover

The cover, or dustjacket, serves two purposes:

  • to protect the book: In the Victorian era cheap paper-covered reprints had been widely available.
  • to express something of its contents and nature – to sell the product in a highly competitive market.

Early books were handbound with strong heavy covers. In 19C as books became cheaper to produce, and with developments in printing processes, using colour lithography, the book cover became more than a functional protective device: it was a space to advertise and communicate information about the book’s content. Poster designers and graphic designers of the era began to use it as such.

Aubrey Beardsley’s The Yellow Book (1894–97) is a good example of design to promote a book.

Cover of the Yellow Book by Aubrey Beardsley

The Arts and Crafts movement of the early twentieth century revitalised interest in book cover design and this began to influence and infiltrate mainstream publishing.

In the 1920s radically modern cover designs were produced in the Soviet Union by Aleksandr Rodchenko and El Lissitzky.

El Lissitsky, book cover for the Isms of Art: 1914-1924.
El Lissitsky, book cover for the Isms of Art: 1914-1924.

In the late 1920s the publisher Victor Gollancz carried out research on busy railway platforms, noticing which colours caught the eye on the book covers that appeared on newstands, as seen through the crowds. Based on his research he designed his publishing ‘house style,’ using what was at the time a very bright yellow, with inventive black and magenta typography. After black and white, yellow and black is the most easily readable colour combination.

Victor Gollantcz book covers

Penguin Books:‘What is cheap need not be nasty’ Britain’s approach to cover design was somewhat more restrained. When Allen Lane approached the established publisher Bodley Head in the late 1920s, with ideas for a new, affordable approach to book design, his ideas were turned down. Lane went on to form Penguin Books and to champion a new publishing model in economically depressed Britain. Penguin’s iconic orange, black and white covers from the same era are a striking example of simple and effective design: clear, uncluttered and an early example of successful branding. In the mid 1930s Penguin formed part of the ‘paperback revolution’, producing affordable books with quality design, and their publishing identity sought to be associated with this approach. Penguin’s designs used classic yet modern typography within a clearly defined structure. The template was set up by Jan Tschichold in 1947 and broadly applied to all Penguin’s books. Penguin’s approach has become a defining mainstay of British book design and an excellent example of successful book branding.

Penguin book covers
Penguin book covers

Elements

Concept

Typography: the title, the author’s name, subtitle and quotes.

Colour

Imagery : As a general rule of thumb, to have maximum effect the cover usually bears a single image. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule; many manuals, non-fiction and ‘how to’ books use multiple images. Dorling Kindersley publications, for example, are recognisable for their crisp colour cutout photographs on a white background.

Approaches

The cover has been likened to a mini-poster, and in many respects serves the same purpose, in that the design needs to grab the attention of its audience within a few seconds. Sometimes it is a new book. Publishers periodically re-vamp cover designs, to tie in with promotional features, anniversaries of the book’s original publication, film versions and other marketing opportunities.

To spell out the contents:

  • So that you are in no doubt as to what you are buying? This has a tendency to mean that many titles within a particular genre look the same.
  • Sex sells: Twentieth-century American pulp fiction covers often used an archetypal hour-glass figure of a woman (with smoking gun) to entice its buying audience. These covers were printed post-war, using inks that produced vibrant colours.

 Branding for the publisher:  to create a positive association with a particular publisher and to build a relationship with the book-buying audience.

Producing a cover

In publishing workflow, the cover is treated as a separate entity to the main book contents. The evolution of a cover design, from inception to completion, can take as long as the design of the main book itself. For example, a reasonable timespan for the design and publication of a 256-page illustrated book could be nine months. The cover or jacket design for the same book can take just as long,
even though the image and textual material is significantly less. This is due in part to the many requirements that a cover has to fulfil, including commercial and marketing aspects.

The marketing and sales departments within publishing organisations know the importance of the cover with regard to revenue, so often the design of a cover involves considering a great many aspects, to meet multiple needs. This can sometimes confuse the brief. Cover design meetings can turn into ‘design by committee’, with all parties – editor, designer, sales and marketing – having their input, often with different approaches to the project. This inevitably
slows the process and can lead to conflicting messages for the designer.

Whilst it’s important to take on board everyone’s input, and adjust designs accordingly if required, ‘design by committee’ can be confusing. Essentially, the brief for a cover design needs to be clear at the outset, so that the designer has clear parameters to work within. As a designer it can occasionally be your role to argue the merits for what you consider to be a strong cover design, one that has quality and integrity within the various elements of the design.

See design workflow

  • get a feel for the content: read some of the text of the book, or at least a
    synopsis, to get a feel for the content.
  • stick to the design process so that you generate your own ideas and responses
  • in the case of re-designs, be aware of, though not influenced by, already- existing approaches to the cover design.

Research examples

George Orwell 1984   images 

  • the original 1949 version shows a formal typographic design, adhering to Tschichold’s guidelines: simple black typography on the branded Penguin orange.
  • the American pulp fiction style, brightly coloured and showing pictorial characterisations from the book.
  • a later version bears a film still, reflecting the movie tie-in.
  • the nineties cover bears a digital eye, a minimal and conceptual reference, and
  •  a typographic representation of the existing text, highlighting the ‘Big Brother’ reference, a concept that has parallels in contemporary television.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
florid sci-fi colouring with expressive typography, to a much cooler palette,
organisation and layout in the original French.

  • If you walked into a bookshop with no idea what the book was about, what impression would each of these covers give you?
  • Which cover would be most likely to make you pick up the book, and why?
  • Check the date of each image and try to speculate about the historical, political or social context for each one.
  • What approach would you take to the cover design if you were asked to design a new  edition today? Make some thumbnail sketches.

 

Children’s Publishing (forthcoming)

Children’s publishing is a good example of the range of design approaches, with design styles adapted to suit the range of ages, from learner readers through to the teen and young adult market.

Early reading books need to be robust – large, sturdy board books with
thick pages strong enough to withstand heavy handling by toddlers.

Young children’s books have a small amount of text per page, usually in rounded, easily readable typeface – like Garamond, for example – to encourage letter recognition.

lllustrations play an important role, adding interest and providing scope for interactivity, as these books are often written and designed to be read aloud. The children’s market is alivewith vibrant, playful and fantastic book illustrations which do more than merely accompany the text; they are embedded and integral to the overall design. As a child’s reading improves, so the amount of text increases accordingly, through to the teenage and young adult audience.

Abstraction

What is Abstraction?

(from the Latin abs, meaning away from and trahere, meaning to draw)
is the process of taking away or removing characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics. (http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/abstraction)

Abstract Art

wikipedia

Abstract art uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.

Abstraction exists along a continuum.

  • All art is in some degree abstraction in the sense that even figurative art  is selective in what it represents.
  • Partial abstraction through obvious alterations of eg colour or form.
  • Total abstraction bears no trace of any reference to anything recognizable.

History

Much of the art of earlier cultures – signs and marks on pottery, textiles, and inscriptions and paintings on rock – were simple, geometric and linear forms which might have had a symbolic or decorative purpose.

In Western Art abstraction started to develop in 19th Century. Three art movements which contributed to the development of abstract art were Romanticism, Impressionism and Expressionism.

Romanticism

James McNeill Whistler  in his painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The falling Rocket, (1872), placed greater emphasis on visual sensation than the depiction of objects.

John Constable, J M W Turner, Camille Corot and from them to the

Impressionists

Paul Cézanne had begun as an Impressionist but his aim – to make a logical construction of reality based on a view from a single point, with modulated colour in flat areas – became the basis of a new visual art, later to be developed into Cubism by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.

Expressionist painters

Expressionists explored the bold use of paint surface, drawing distortions and exaggerations, and intense color and produced emotionally charged paintings that were reactions to and perceptions of contemporary experience; and reactions to Impressionism and other more conservative directions of late 19th-century painting. The Expressionists drastically changed the emphasis on subject matter in favor of the portrayal of psychological states of being.

Edvard Munch

James Ensor

Additionally in the late 19th century in Eastern Europe mysticism and early modernist religious philosophy as expressed by theosophist Mme. Blavatsky had a profound impact on pioneer geometric artists like Wassily Kandinsky, and Hilma af Klint. The mystical teaching of Georges Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky also had an important influence on the early formations of the geometric abstract styles of Piet Mondrian and his colleagues in the early 20th century.

20th century

Post Impressionism as practiced by Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne had an enormous impact on 20th-century art and led to the advent of 20th-century abstraction. The heritage of painters like Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Seurat was essential for the development of modern art.

Fauvism: At the beginning of the 20th century Henri Matisse and several other young artists including the pre-cubist Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck revolutionized the Paris art world with “wild”, multi-colored, expressive, landscapes and figure paintings that the critics called Fauvism. With his expressive use of color and his free and imaginative drawing Henri Matisse comes very close to pure abstraction in French Window at Collioure, (1914), View of Notre-Dame, (1914), and The Yellow Curtain from 1915. The raw language of color as developed by the Fauves directly influenced another pioneer of abstraction Wassily Kandinsky (see illustration).

Cubism ultimately depends upon subject matter, it became, along with Fauvism, the art movement that directly opened the door to abstraction in the 20th century. Pablo Picasso made his first cubist paintings based on Cézanne’s idea that all depiction of nature can be reduced to three solids: cube, sphere and cone. With the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon 1907, Picasso dramatically created a new and radical picture depicting a raw and primitive brothel scene with five prostitutes, violently painted women, reminiscent of African tribal masks and his own new Cubist inventions. Analytic cubism was jointly developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, from about 1908 through 1912. Analytic cubism, the first clear manifestation of cubism, was followed by Synthetic cubism, practised by Braque, Picasso, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, Albert Gleizes, Marcel Duchamp and countless other artists into the 1920s. Synthetic cubism is characterized by the introduction of different textures, surfaces, collage elements, papier collé and a large variety of merged subject matter. The collage artists like Kurt Schwitters and Man Ray and others taking the clue from Cubism were instrumental to the development of the movement called Dada.

The Italian poet Marinetti published ‘The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism’ in 1909, which inspired artists such as Carlo Carra in, Painting of Sounds, Noises and Smells and Umberto Boccioni Train in Motion, 1911, to a further stage of abstraction and profoundly influenced art movements throughout Europe.[10]

Orphism During the 1912 Salon de la Section d’Or the poet Guillaume Apollinaire named the work of several artists including Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Orphism.[11] He defined it as, the art of painting new structures out of elements that have not been borrowed from the visual sphere, but had been created entirely by the artist…it is a pure art.[12]

Since the turn of the century cultural connections between artists of the major European and American cities had become extremely active as they strove to create an art form equal to the high aspirations of modernism. Ideas were able to cross-fertilize by means of artists books, exhibitions and manifestos so that many sources were open to experimentation and discussion, and formed a basis for a diversity of modes of abstraction. The following extract from,’The World Backwards’, gives some impression of the inter-connectedness of culture at the time: ‘David Burliuk’s knowledge of modern art movements must have been extremely up-to-date, for the second Knave of Diamonds exhibition, held in January 1912 (in Moscow) included not only paintings sent from Munich, but some members of the German Die Brücke group, while from Paris came work by Robert Delaunay, Henri Matisse and Fernand Léger, as well as Picasso. During the Spring David Burliuk gave two lectures on cubism and planned a polemical publication, which the Knave of Diamonds was to finance. He went abroad in May and came back determined to rival the almanac Der Blaue Reiter which had emerged from the printers while he was in Germany’.

From 1909 to 1913 many experimental works in the search for this ‘pure art’ had been created: Francis Picabia painted Caoutchouc, 1909,[13] The Spring, 1912,[14] Dances at the Spring[15] and The Procession, Seville, 1912;[16] Wassily Kandinsky painted Untitled (First Abstract Watercolor), 1910,[17] Improvisation 21A, the Impression series, and Picture with a Circle (1911);[18] František Kupka had painted the Orphist works, Discs of Newton (Study for Fugue in Two Colors), 1912[19] and Amorpha, Fugue en deux couleurs (Fugue in Two Colors), 1912; Robert Delaunay painted a series entitled Simultaneous Windows and Formes Circulaires, Soleil n°2 (1912–13);[20] Léopold Survage created Colored Rhythm (Study for the film), 1913;[21] Piet Mondrian, painted Tableau No. 1 and Composition No. 11, 1913.[22]
Wassily Kandinsky, On White 2, 1923
And the search continued: The Rayist (Luchizm) drawings of Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, used lines like rays of light to make a construction. Kasimir Malevich completed his first entirely abstract work, the Suprematist, ‘Black Square’, in 1915. Another of the Suprematist group’ Liubov Popova, created the Architectonic Constructions and Spatial Force Constructions between 1916 and 1921. Piet Mondrian was evolving his abstract language, of horizontal and vertical lines with rectangles of colour, between 1915 and 1919, Neo-Plasticism was the aesthetic which Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg and other in the group De Stijl intended to reshape the environment of the future.

Music
As visual art becomes more abstract, it develops some characteristics of music: an art form which uses the abstract elements of sound and divisions of time. Wassily Kandinsky, himself a musician, was inspired by the possibility of marks and associative color resounding in the soul. The idea had been put forward by Charles Baudelaire, that all our senses respond to various stimuli but the senses are connected at a deeper aesthetic level.

Closely related to this, is the idea that art has The spiritual dimension and can transcend ‘every-day’ experience, reaching a spiritual plane. The Theosophical Society popularised the ancient wisdom of the sacred books of India and China in the early years of the century. It was in this context that Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Hilma af Klint and other artists working towards an ‘objectless state’ became interested in the occult as a way of creating an ‘inner’ object. The universal and timeless shapes found in geometry: the circle, square and triangle become the spatial elements in abstract art; they are, like color, fundamental systems underlying visible reality.

Russian avant-garde

Many of the abstract artists in Russia became Constructivists believing that art was no longer something remote, but life itself. The artist must become a technician, learning to use the tools and materials of modern production. Art into life! was Vladimir Tatlin’s slogan, and that of all the future Constructivists. Varvara Stepanova and Alexandre Exter and others abandoned easel painting and diverted their energies to theatre design and graphic works. On the other side stood Kazimir Malevich, Anton Pevsner and Naum Gabo. They argued that art was essentially a spiritual activity; to create the individual’s place in the world, not to organise life in a practical, materialistic sense. Many of those who were hostile to the materialist production idea of art left Russia. Anton Pevsner went to France, Gabo went first to Berlin, then to England and finally to America. Kandinsky studied in Moscow then left for the Bauhaus. By the mid-1920s the revolutionary period (1917 to 1921) when artists had been free to experiment was over; and by the 1930s only socialist realism was allowed.[23]

The Bauhaus
The Bauhaus at Weimar, Germany was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius. The philosophy underlying the teaching program was unity of all the visual and plastic arts from architecture and painting to weaving and stained glass. This philosophy had grown from the ideas of the Arts and Crafts movement in England and the Deutscher Werkbund. Among the teachers were Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Anni Albers, Theo van Doesburg and László Moholy-Nagy.

In 1925 the school was moved to Dessau and, as the Nazi party gained control in 1932, The Bauhaus was closed. In 1937 an exhibition of degenerate art, ‘Entartete Kunst’ contained all types of avant-garde art disapproved of by the Nazi party. Then the exodus began: not just from the Bauhaus but from Europe in general; to Paris, London and America. Paul Klee went to Switzerland but many of the artists at the Bauhaus went to America.

Abstraction in Paris and London

During the 1930s Paris became the host to artists from Russia, Germany, Holland and other European countries affected by the rise of totalitarianism.

Sophie Tauber and Jean Arp collaborated on paintings and sculpture using organic/geometric forms.

The Polish Katarzyna Kobro applied mathematically based ideas to sculpture. The many types of abstraction now in close proximity led to attempts by artists to analyse the various conceptual and aesthetic groupings.

An exhibition by forty-six members of the Cercle et Carré group organised by Michel Seuphor contained work by the Neo-Plasticists as well as abstractionists as varied as Kandinsky, Anton Pevsner and Kurt Schwitters. Criticised by Theo van Doesburg to be too indefinite a collection he published the journal Art Concret setting out a manifesto defining an abstract art in which the line, color and surface only, are the concrete reality.

Abstraction-Création founded in 1931 as a more open group, provided a point of reference for abstract artists, as the political situation worsened in 1935, and artists again regrouped, many in London.

1935 The first exhibition of British abstract art was held in England in 1935. The following year the more international Abstract and Concrete exhibition was organised by Nicolete Gray including work by Piet Mondrian, Joan Miró, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. Hepworth, Nicholson and Gabo moved to the St. Ives group in Cornwall to continue their ‘constructivist’ work.

America: mid-century
Main articles: Modernism, Late modernism, American Modernism and Surrealism

During the Nazi rise to power in the 1930s many artists fled Europe to the United States. By the early 1940s the main movements in modern art, expressionism, cubism, abstraction, surrealism, and dada were represented in New York: Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, Jacques Lipchitz, André Masson, Max Ernst, André Breton, were just a few of the exiled Europeans who arrived in New York.

The rich cultural influences brought by the European artists were distilled and built upon by local New York painters. The climate of freedom in New York allowed all of these influences to flourish. The art galleries that primarily had focused on European art began to notice the local art community and the work of younger American artists who had begun to mature. Certain of these artists became distinctly abstract in their mature work.

During this period Piet Mondrian’s painting Composition No. 10, 1939-1942, characterized by primary colors, white ground and black grid lines clearly defined his radical but classical approach to the rectangle and abstract art in general.

Some artists of the period defied categorization, such as Georgia O’Keeffe who, while a modernist abstractionist, was a pure maverick in that she painted highly abstract forms while not joining any specific group of the period.

Eventually American artists who were working in a great diversity of styles began to coalesce into cohesive stylistic groups. The best known group of American artists became known as the Abstract expressionists and the New York School.

Mark Rothko, born in Russia, began with strongly surrealist imagery which later dissolved into his powerful color compositions of the early 1950s. The expressionistic gesture and the act of painting itself, became of primary importance to Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline. While during the 1940s Arshile Gorky’s and Willem de Kooning’s figurative work evolved into abstraction by the end of the decade.

Both geometric abstraction and lyrical abstraction are often totally abstract. Among the very numerous art movements that embody partial abstraction would be for instance fauvism in which color is conspicuously and deliberately altered vis-a-vis reality, and cubism, which blatantly alters the forms of the real life entities depicted.[3][4]

st-Impressionists they were instrumental to the advent of abstraction in the 20th century.

Abstraction in the 21st century

Main articles: Abstract expressionism, Color field, Lyrical abstraction, Post-painterly abstraction, Sculpture and Minimal art

A commonly held idea is that pluralism characterizes art at the beginning of the 21st century. There is no consensus, nor need there be, as to a representative style of the age. There is an anything goes attitude that prevails; an “everything going on”, and consequently “nothing going on” syndrome; this creates an aesthetic traffic jam with no firm and clear direction and with every lane on the artistic superhighway filled to capacity. Consequently magnificent and important works of art continue to be made albeit in a wide variety of styles and aesthetic temperaments, the marketplace being left to judge merit.

Digital art, computer art, internet art, hard-edge painting, geometric abstraction, appropriation, hyperrealism, photorealism, expressionism, minimalism, lyrical abstraction, pop art, op art, abstract expressionism, color field painting, monochrome painting, neo-expressionism, collage, decollage, intermedia, assemblage, digital painting, postmodern art, neo-Dada painting, shaped canvas painting, environmental mural painting, graffiti, figure painting, landscape painting, portrait painting, are a few continuing and current directions at the beginning of the 21st century.

Into the 21st century abstraction remains very much in view, its main themes: the transcendental, the contemplative and the timeless are exempified by Barnett Newman, John McLaughlin, and Agnes Martin as well as younger living artists. Art as Object as seen in the Minimalist sculpture of Donald Judd and the paintings of Frank Stella are still seen today in newer permutations. The poetic, Lyrical Abstraction and the sensuous use of color seen in the work of painters as diverse as Robert Motherwell, Patrick Heron, Kenneth Noland, Sam Francis, Cy Twombly, Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, among others.

There was a resurgence after the war and into the 1950s of the figurative, as neo-Dada, fluxus, happening, conceptual art, neo-expressionism, installation art, performance art, video art and pop art have come to signify the age of consumerism. The distinction between abstract and figurative art has, over the last twenty years, become less defined leaving a wider range of ideas for all artists.

Causation

One socio-historical explanation that has been offered for the growing prevalence of the abstract in modern art – an explanation linked to the name of Theodor W. Adorno – is that such abstraction is a response to, and a reflection of, the growing abstraction of social relations in industrial society.[31]

Frederic Jameson similarly sees modernist abstraction as a function of the abstract power of money, equating all things equally as exchange-values.[32] The social content of abstract art is then precisely the abstract nature of social existence – legal formalities, bureaucratic impersonalisation, information/power – in the world of late modernity.[33]

Post-Jungians by contrast would see the quantum theories with their disintegration of conventional ideas of form and matter as underlying the divorce of the concrete and the abstract in modern art.[34]

Book Binding

Up to the early nineteenth century books were hand-bound, sometimes using precious metals such as gold or silver and costly materials, including jewels, to cover valuable books and manuscripts. Book bindings had existed as a functional device for hundreds of years, both to protect the pages and also as an elaborate decorative element, to reflect the value of the contents.

The process of bookbinding began to change with the introduction of mechanical bookbinding techniques in the 1820s. The availability of cheaper materials such as cloth and paper and the faster industrialised process of mechanically-produced paper and steam-powered presses gave rise to a greater volume of books at a lower cost per book. Hand-binding began to wane as a consequence.