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Arts and Crafts

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A movement that sought to restore the medieval tradition of handicraft in reaction to the spread of mass production, originating in late 19th century Great Britain. Designs were based on simple forms and natural materials, as much for purposes of social refrom as for aesthetic reasons. In America, the movement became less an idealization of the skilled craftsperson than a democratic interest in embedding the virtues of honesty and simplicity in everyday high-quality design.

Art Deco

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*** A decorative and architectural style of the period 1925-1940, characterized by geometric designs, bold colors, and the use of plastic and glass.

*** An art movement involving a mix of modern decorative art styles, largely of the 1920s and 1930s, whose main characteristics were derived from various avant-garde painting styles of the early twentieth century. Art deco works exhibit aspects of Cubism, Russian Constructivism and Italian Futurism -- with abstraction, distortion, and simplification, particularly geometric shapes and highly intense colors -- celebrating the rise of commerce, technology, and speed.
The growing impact of the machine can be seen in repeating and overlapping images from 1925; and in the 1930s, in streamlined forms derived from the principles of aerodynamics.
The name came from the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Modernes, held in Paris, which celebrated living in the modern world.
It was popularly considered to be an elegant style of cool sophistication in architecture and applied arts which range from luxurious objects made from exotic material to mass produced, streamlined items available to a growing middle class.

Art Nouveau

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Art Nouveau:[art noo-VOH] A style characterized by sensual linear designs based on plant and animal forms, strongly influenced by a craze for Japanese art. The style arose in Europe at the end of the 19th century, displacing borrowed historical styles that no longer seemed suitable for a rapidly evolving "modern" culture. Its curving lines and floral ornamentation soon spread to America as well, chiefly through ceramic and glass designs.

Bauhaus

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The Bauhaus School was Germany's most important and most avant-garde art and design school. In existence from 1919 - 1933, many of its teachers eventually found a new home in the USA, when the Nazi's forced the school to close.
Radically breaking with the past, the Bauhaus Masters and their students ushered in our modern times. The familiar Bauhaus font seen on the right is only one of the many enduring contributions the Bauhaus has made to our lives.

Pop Art

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It is a moot point as to whether the most extraordinary innovation of 20th-century art was Cubism or Pop Art. Both arose from a rebellion against an accepted style: the Cubists thought Post-Impressionist artists were too tame and limited, while Pop Artists thought the Abstract Expressionists pretentious and over-intense. Pop Art brought art back to the material realities of everyday life, to popular culture (hence "pop"), in which ordinary people derived most of their visual pleasure from television, magazines, or comics.

Pop Art emerged in the mid 1950s in England, but realized its fullest potential in New York in the 60's where it shared, with Minimalism, the attentions of the art world. In Pop Art, the epic was replaced with the everyday and the mass-produced awarded the same significance as the unique; the gulf between 'high art' and 'low art' was eroding away. The media and advertising were favorite subjects for Pop Art's often witty celebrations of consumer society. Perhaps the greatest Pop artist, whose innovations have affected so much subsequent art, was the American artist, Andy Warhol (1928-87).

The term "Pop Art" was first used by the English critic Lawrence Alloway in a 1958 issue of Architectural Digest to describe those paintings that celebrate post-war consumerism, defy the psychology of Abstract Expressionism, and worship the god of materialism. The most famous of the Pop artists, the cult figure Andy Warhol, recreated quasi-photographic paintings of people or everyday objects.


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