back to: Chapter 19
Contemporary and Postmodern Art
Buckminster Fuller invented the geodesic dome. This gave rise to engineering on a number of scales. Architects use a series of tetrahedrons to create a perfect sphere that is structurally sound (like Epcot Center at Disney World). Scientists now have invented a manufactured molecule called a "Buckyball" which is based on this use of tetrahedrons to create a perfect and exceptionally strong manufactured molecule.
Alexander Calder invented the mobile. His expertise in moving or kinetic sculpture led him to create interactive art that was based on balance and the movement of air. His mobiles and stabiles (those which are fixed and do not move) are abstract forms done in 3-D which are extracted from nature.
Lobster Tail and Fish Trap, 1939, mobile
Robert Rauschenberg who was originally associated with the Pop Art Movement of the 1960's and 70's is truly a Postmodernist. He has set up a non-profit organization called ROCI (Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange) through which he funds projects which involve cultural interactions. His works are conglomerations of images and objects which identify a culture. He did a number of works in the 60's dealing with JFK and the NASA space program.
Odalisk, c. 1960, sculpture
Robert Smithson used the earth itself to create sculptural landscapes called earthworks.
Spiral Jetty is a spiral extension into the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The work was done through the use of heavy equipment moving earth around. Its form was invented by the the mound-building societies of early native American people. The best example is the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio.
Christo creates works by wrapping large easily-identified objects, like buildings, bridges and islands. His works grow out of the idea that an artist's job is to make a viewer see their world differently. Like the Chinese painter, one sees the world differently after it has been partially concealed.
Valley Curtain, 1972
Wrapped Reichstag, 1995
The last ten years has seen the rise of Neo-Expressionism (Kiefer), Grafitti Art (Haring, Basquiat), and a host of other small regional movements. Art today draws from every conceivable source and exists in the most basic conceptual context to the most primitive and immediate. It really depends on the artist's intention, the ideas that they want to communicate, and the need to create and discover.
Postmodern architecture questions the many previously-held beliefs about architecture. It also is drawn from a plurality of sources.
Michael Graves, Portland Building, Portland, Oregon, 1980
Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, 1997
Frank Lloyd Wright, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1959
Eero Saarinen, Gateway Arch, 1966, St. Louis, also did Dulles Airport, Washington, D. C.
Cesar Pelli, Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1998, also did Artsgarden in Indianapolis.
|Next study guide: Index|