Systems art: Wikis

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Example of Systems art. The MoMA Poll of Hans Haacke in MoMA in 1978.

Systems art is art influenced by systems theory, which reflects on natural systems, social systems and social signs of the art world itself.[1]

Systems art emerged as part of the first wave of the conceptual art movement extended in the 1960s and 1970s. Closely related and overlapping terms are Anti-form movement, Cybernetic art, Generative Systems, Process art, Systems aesthetic, Systemic art, Systemic painting and Systems sculptures.

Contents

Related fields of systems art

Anti-form movement

1964 photo of Frank Stella by Ugo Mulas.

By the early 1960s Minimalism emerged as an abstract movement in art (with roots in geometric abstraction via Malevich, the Bauhaus and Mondrian) which rejected the idea of relational, and subjective painting, the complexity of Abstract expressionist surfaces, and the emotional zeitgeist and polemics present in the arena of Action painting. Minimalism argued that extreme simplicity could capture all of the sublime representation needed in art.

Associated with painters such as Frank Stella, minimalism in painting, as opposed to other areas, is a modernist movement. Depending on the context, minimalism might be construed as a precursor to the postmodern movement. Seen from the perspective of writers who sometimes classify it as a postmodern movement, early minimalism began and succeeded as a modernist movement to yield advanced works, but which partially abandoned this project when a few artists changed direction in favor of the anti-form movement.

In the late 1960s the term Postminimalism was coined by Robert Pincus-Witten[2] to describe minimalist derived art which had content and contextual overtones which minimalism rejected, and was applied to the work of Eva Hesse, Keith Sonnier, Richard Serra and new work by former minimalists Robert Smithson, Robert Morris, and Sol LeWitt, and Barry Le Va, and others. Minimalists like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Agnes Martin, John McCracken and others continued to produce their late modernist paintings and sculpture for the remainder of their careers.

Cybernetic art

Audio feedback and the use of tape loops, sound synthesis and computer generated compositions reflected a cybernetic awareness of information, systems and cycles. Such techniques became widespread in the 1960s in the music industry. The visual effects of electronic feedback became a focus of artistic research in the late 1960s, when video equipment first reached the consumer market. Steina and Woody Vasulka, for example, used "all manner and combination of audio and video signals to generate electronic feedback in their respective of corresponding media."[3]

With related work by Edward Ihnatowicz, Tsai Wen-Ying and cybernetician Gordon Pask and the animist kinetics of Robert Breer and Jean Tinguely, the 1960s produced a strain of cyborg art that was very much concerned with the shared circuits within and between the living and the technological. A line of cyborg art theory also emerged during the late 1960s. Writers like Jonathan Benthall and Gene Youngblood drew on cybernetics and cybernetic. The most substantial contributors here was the American critic and theorist Jack Burnham. In "Beyond Modern Sculpture" from 1968 he builds cybernetic art into an extensive theory that centers on art's drive to imitate and ultimately reproduce life.[4]

Generative systems

Joseph Nechvatal's Orgiastic abattOir: a computer-robotic assisted acrylic, 2004

Generative art is art that has been generated, composed, or constructed in an algorithmic manner through the use of systems defined by computer software algorithms, or similar mathematical or mechanical or randomised autonomous processes. Generative Systems was a program established at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1970 in response to social change brought about in part by the computer-robot communications revolution.[5] The program, which brought artists and scientists together, was an effort at turning the artist's passive role into an active one by promoting the investigation of contemporary scientific—technological systems and their relationship to art and life. Unlike copier art, which was a simple commercial spin-off, Generative Systems was actually involved in the development of elegant yet simple systems intended for creative use by the general population. Generative Systems artists attempted to bridge the gap between elite and novice by directing the line of communication between the two, thus bringing first generation information to greater numbers of people and bypassing the entrepreneur.[5]

Process art

Jackson Pollock's unique painting techniques.

Process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment and world view where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art, is not the principal focus. The 'process' in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, and patterning. Process art is concerned with the actual doing; art as a rite, ritual, and performance. Process art often entails an inherent motivation, rationale, and intentionality. Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product.

In the artistic discourse the work of Jackson Pollock is hailed as an antecedent. Process art in its employment of serendipity has a marked correspondence with Dada. Change and transience are marked themes in the process art movement. The Guggenheim Museum states that Robert Morris in 1968 had a groundbreaking exhibition and essay defining the movement and the Museum Website states as "Process artists were involved in issues attendant to the body, random occurrences, improvisation, and the liberating qualities of nontraditional materials such as wax, felt, and latex. Using these, they created eccentric forms in erratic or irregular arrangements produced by actions such as cutting, hanging, and dropping, or organic processes such as growth, condensation, freezing, or decomposition".[6]

Systemic art

Kenneth Noland, Trans West, 1965.

Acoording to Chilvers (2004) "earlier in 1966 the British art critic Lawrence Alloway had coined the term "Systemic art", to describe a type of abstract art characterized by the use of very simple standardized forms, usually geometric in character, either in a single concentrated image or repeated in a system arranged according to a clearly visible principle of organization. He considered the chevron paintings of Kenneth Noland as examples of Systemic art, and considered this as a branch of Minimal art".[7]

Systemic painting

Systemic Painting, according ot Auping (1989) "was the title of an highly influential exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 1966 assembled and introduction written by Lawrence Alloway as curator. The show contained numerous works that many critics today would consider part of the Minimal art"[8]. In the catalogue Alloway noted, that ... "paintings, such as those in this exhibition are not, as has been often claimed, impersonal. The personal is not expunged by using a neat technique: anonymity is not a consequence of highly finishing a painting".[9] The term "systemic painting" later on has become the name for artists who employ systems make a number of aesthetic decisions before commencing to paint.[10]

Systems sculpture

According to Feldman (1987) "serial art, serial painting, systems sculpture and ABC art, where art styles of the 1960s and 1970s in which simple geometric configurations are repeated with little or no variation. Sequences becomes important as in mathematics and linguistic context. These works rely on simple arrangements of basic volumes and voids, mechanically produced surfaces, and algebraic permutations of form. The impact on the viewer, however, is anything but simple".[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ Systems art, Dutch Art & Architecture Thesaurus, retrieved March 2008.
  2. ^ Movers and Shakers, New York, "Leaving C&M", by Sarah Douglas, Art+Auction, March 2007, V.XXXNo7.
  3. ^ Edward A. Shanken, "From Cybernetics to Telematics: The Art, Pedagogy, and Theory of Roy Ascott," in Roy Ascott (2003, 2007), Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness, University of California, ISBN 0520222946.
  4. ^ Mitchell Whitelaw (2004), Metacreation: Art and Artificial Life, MIT Press, ISBN 0262232340 p.17-18.
  5. ^ a b Sonia Landy Sheridan, "Generative Systems versus Copy Art: A Clarification of Terms and Ideas", in: Leonardo, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Spring, 1983), pp. 103-108. doi:10.2307/1574794
  6. ^ Source: http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/glossary_Process_art.html (accessed: Thursday, March 15, 2007)
  7. ^ "Systemic art." The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Ed. Ian Chilvers. Oxford University Press, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 19 Mar, 2008 systemic-art
  8. ^ Michael Auping (1989), Abstraction, Geometry, Painting: Selected Geometric Abstract Painting, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, page 72.
  9. ^ Lawrence Alloway, "Systemic Painting", in: Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology, by Gregory Battcock (1995). p.19.
  10. ^ John Albert Walker (1973), Glossary of Art, Architecture, and Design Since 1945: Terms and Labels, p.197.
  11. ^ Edmund Burke Feldman (1987), Composition (Art), H.N. Abrams, ISBN 0139406026.

Further reading

External links


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