Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life: Early Twentieth-Century European Modernism

Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life: Early Twentieth-Century European Modernism

by Matthew S. Witkovsky
     
 

Beginning around 1910, vanguard artists demanded that true art go beyond the intellectual and transform daily life. This volume highlights the work of six influential European artists who took this idea into the wider world, where it merged enthusiastically with demands in the industrial marketplace, the nascent mass media, and urban popular culture.

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Overview

Beginning around 1910, vanguard artists demanded that true art go beyond the intellectual and transform daily life. This volume highlights the work of six influential European artists who took this idea into the wider world, where it merged enthusiastically with demands in the industrial marketplace, the nascent mass media, and urban popular culture.

Featured are Piet Zwart, a Dutch designer who brought his minimalist aesthetic vision to ubiquitous items like biscuit boxes and postage stamps; Karel Teige, leader of the Czech avant-garde, who produced brilliant book and journal designs; his compatriot Ladislav Sutnar, who brought modernist "good design" to tableware, clothing, and children's toys; Gustav Klutsis, who pioneered using photomontage for political purposes; Lazar (El) Lissitzky, who produced some of the most exciting book, poster, and exhibition designs of the 1920s and '30s in Germany and Russia; and German artist John Heartfield, who worked exclusively in photomontage to design book covers, journals, and agitational posters for the Communist cause.

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Editorial Reviews

The Sunday Republican - Alan Bisbort

"You don't need to see the exhibition to 'get' the catalog, because the book positively bursts with the infectious energy of the art by six individuals whose influences far outstrip their name recognition today. . . . The book's generous helpings of illustrations and reproductions, as well as its own handsome design (as is to be expected from a Yale Press title), showcase the six artists brilliantly."—Alan Bisbort, The Sunday Republican
Choice - R.A. Lockard

"A volume for all bibliophiles, this work is a necessary addition to academic libraries that support graduate students and faculty with collections on avant-garde art, the Bauhaus and Dada movements, modern design, and modernism in general."—R.A. Lockard, Choice
Library Journal
Purposeful jumbles of eye-popping graphics, zany color insertions, zipping diagonals, mixtures of typefaces, and disparities in scale are hallmarks of the early 20th-century European graphic and design avant-garde and are featured in this studious exhibition catalog. Witkovsky, chair of the Art Institute's department of photography, gathers essays on John Heartfield, Gustav Klutsis, El Lissitzky, Ladislav Sutnar, Karel Teige, and Piet Zwart. The collection emphasizes the range of their designs (e.g., posters, drawings, photographs, illustrated magazines, book jackets, advertising, postage stamps, clothing, table settings) influenced by Dada, surrealism, and constructivism. Scarce and fragile materials—left-wing books and magazines such as Young Guard, AIZ, and The Red Banner—as well as politics, like the New Typography movement's utopian promise of uplifting mass commodity, are rigorously examined and documented. VERDICT Of tremendous appeal to design, art, and cultural historians for uncommon examples and treatment of lesser-known artists. As befitting the subject, the catalog is a visual delight.—Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300166095
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
07/26/2011
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
1,519,038
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 11.70(h) x 0.90(d)

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