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Spring 2015 Vol. 1

Pratt Journal of Art and Design History

belvedere Pratt Journal of Art and Design History is an annual review showcasing work produced by students of History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.


Founding Editors A. Kelleher D. Bowers K. Fostano A. Vasquez Pratt Journal of Art and Design History would like to thank our contributors to this inaugural volume for their time, advice, and generous support given toward bringing this project to life. Start-up Advisement Jill Song Gayle Rodda Kurtz Dorothea Dietrich Faculty Advisement Eva DĂ­az Dorothy Shepard Dorothea Dietrich Additional Advisement Mark Kremer, Editor in Chief, Pratt Journal of Architecture Faculty Editors Dorothea Dietrich Dorothy Shepard Published with the help of Pratt Institute Creative Services Pratt History of Art and Design Student Association Pratt Institute Student Government Association Alex Ullman, Assistant Director of Student Involvement Special Thanks to Department of History of Art and Design Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences Special thanks to Dean Andrew Barnes, Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, whose endorsement on behalf of the School has made possible this inaugural volume of belvedere. Publishing Information TK February 2015 Cover Art Caroline Absher Made for HA551: Manuscripts: Their Making and Decoration, taught by Dorothy Shepard in Spring 2014


Founding Editors A. Kelleher D. Bowers K. Fostano A. Vasquez Pratt Journal of Art and Design History would like to thank our contributors to this inaugural volume for their time, advice, and generous support given toward bringing this project to life. Start-up Advisement Jill Song Gayle Rodda Kurtz Dorothea Dietrich Faculty Advisement Eva DĂ­az Dorothy Shepard Dorothea Dietrich Additional Advisement Mark Kremer, Editor in Chief, Pratt Journal of Architecture Faculty Editors Dorothea Dietrich Dorothy Shepard Published with the help of Pratt Institute Creative Services Pratt History of Art and Design Student Association Pratt Institute Student Government Association Alex Ullman, Assistant Director of Student Involvement Special Thanks to Department of History of Art and Design Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences Special thanks to Dean Andrew Barnes, Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, whose endorsement on behalf of the School has made possible this inaugural volume of belvedere. Publishing Information TK February 2015 Cover Art Caroline Absher Made for HA551: Manuscripts: Their Making and Decoration, taught by Dorothy Shepard in Spring 2014


Founding Editors A. Kelleher D. Bowers K. Fostano A. Vasquez Pratt Journal of Art and Design History would like to thank our contributors to this inaugural volume for their time, advice, and generous support given toward bringing this project to life. Start-up Advisement Jill Song Gayle Rodda Kurtz Dorothea Dietrich Faculty Advisement Eva DĂ­az Dorothy Shepard Dorothea Dietrich Additional Advisement Mark Kremer, Editor in Chief, Pratt Journal of Architecture Faculty Editors Dorothea Dietrich Dorothy Shepard Published with the help of Pratt Institute Creative Services Pratt History of Art and Design Student Association Pratt Institute Student Government Association Alex Ullman, Assistant Director of Student Involvement Special Thanks to Department of History of Art and Design Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences Special thanks to Dean Andrew Barnes, Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, whose endorsement on behalf of the School has made possible this inaugural volume of belvedere. Publishing Information TK February 2015 Cover Art Caroline Absher Made for HA551: Manuscripts: Their Making and Decoration, taught by Dorothy Shepard in Spring 2014


Italian. Literally, “beautiful view�; first known use: 1593. Merriam-Webster, 2014.


Contents

Exhibition Reviews 8

11

PHOENIX: XU BING AT THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE Adam Monohon SCULPTURE UNDONE, 1955–1972: ALINA SZAPOCZNIKOW AT MOMA Anthony Vasquez

Featured Folios 14

Margaret Matz Julia Shinay Diana Bowers

Short Papers 18 GAY OUTLAW’S TINNED WALL/DARK MATTER AS ANTI-MONUMENT Diana Bowers 24

30

DISTINCTIONS OF TASTE IN 18TH-CENTURY FRANCE Natalia Torija-Nieto BEYOND TRANSPARENCY: A DISCUSSION AROUND GLASS IN 19TH-CENTURY PARIS Lara Allen

37 VITRUVIUS AND PALLADIO: CLASSICAL BEGINNINGS Natalie Draeger 41 HERMANN OBRIST: PROPHET OF ABSTRACTION Walter Schlect 48 AMERICAN TEACHERS AND HIGH SCHOOL: A COMPARISON OF TWO DOCUMENTARIES Annalise Welte

52 BIBLIOGRAPHIES


Contents

Exhibition Reviews 8

11

PHOENIX: XU BING AT THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE Adam Monohon SCULPTURE UNDONE, 1955–1972: ALINA SZAPOCZNIKOW AT MOMA Anthony Vasquez

Featured Folios 14

Margaret Matz Julia Shinay Diana Bowers

Short Papers 18 GAY OUTLAW’S TINNED WALL/DARK MATTER AS ANTI-MONUMENT Diana Bowers 24

30

DISTINCTIONS OF TASTE IN 18TH-CENTURY FRANCE Natalia Torija-Nieto BEYOND TRANSPARENCY: A DISCUSSION AROUND GLASS IN 19TH-CENTURY PARIS Lara Allen

37 VITRUVIUS AND PALLADIO: CLASSICAL BEGINNINGS Natalie Draeger 41 HERMANN OBRIST: PROPHET OF ABSTRACTION Walter Schlect 48 AMERICAN TEACHERS AND HIGH SCHOOL: A COMPARISON OF TWO DOCUMENTARIES Annalise Welte

52 BIBLIOGRAPHIES


Foreword

While belvedere is the brainchild of a select group of Pratt History of Art and Design students—the first editors—this inaugural volume is the result of collaboration among many. Its realization from conception to hard copy happened remarkably fast: in less than a year—but to all eager to hold the final product in hand its progress was at times maddeningly slow. Founding and publishing a magazine is a demanding enterprise in any situation, but to do so with a constantly changing student population is a particularly daunting undertaking. Indeed, the first volume of belvedere was begun by its first editors but completed by the next group. They all must be applauded for finishing the project and working on the next volume while pursing full-time graduate or undergraduate study. belvedere is testimony to their engagement with their subject and their enthusiasm for the discipline. The papers in this volume were written for courses in Pratt’s Department of History of Art and Design. Fueled by the many museum and site visits that are part of our courses or inspired by research sojourns, such as our Pratt in Venice summer program, they offer a sampling of the diverse work done in the department with its different degree programs. I extend my congratulations to the contributors and praise for their dedication and hard work, as well as very special thanks to the two editorial boards that brought the journal to life: the founding editors Ashley Kelleher, Diana Bowers, Katherina Fostano, and Anthony Vasquez and the current editorial board of Catarina Flaksman, Sarah Hamerman, John B. Henry, and Adam Monohon. The Department of History of Art and Design expresses special thanks to Dean Andrew Barnes of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences for providing seed money for the journal and to the Student Government Association for additional support.

Dorothea Dietrich Chair, Department of History of Art and Design

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Foreword

While belvedere is the brainchild of a select group of Pratt History of Art and Design students—the first editors—this inaugural volume is the result of collaboration among many. Its realization from conception to hard copy happened remarkably fast: in less than a year—but to all eager to hold the final product in hand its progress was at times maddeningly slow. Founding and publishing a magazine is a demanding enterprise in any situation, but to do so with a constantly changing student population is a particularly daunting undertaking. Indeed, the first volume of belvedere was begun by its first editors but completed by the next group. They all must be applauded for finishing the project and working on the next volume while pursing full-time graduate or undergraduate study. belvedere is testimony to their engagement with their subject and their enthusiasm for the discipline. The papers in this volume were written for courses in Pratt’s Department of History of Art and Design. Fueled by the many museum and site visits that are part of our courses or inspired by research sojourns, such as our Pratt in Venice summer program, they offer a sampling of the diverse work done in the department with its different degree programs. I extend my congratulations to the contributors and praise for their dedication and hard work, as well as very special thanks to the two editorial boards that brought the journal to life: the founding editors Ashley Kelleher, Diana Bowers, Katherina Fostano, and Anthony Vasquez and the current editorial board of Catarina Flaksman, Sarah Hamerman, John B. Henry, and Adam Monohon. The Department of History of Art and Design expresses special thanks to Dean Andrew Barnes of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences for providing seed money for the journal and to the Student Government Association for additional support.

Dorothea Dietrich Chair, Department of History of Art and Design

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Introduction

1. Being an editor is often a thankless job. Reading (sometimes very) rough drafts, posing queries and offering (frequently ignored) suggestions, correcting (recurrently abused) grammar; the editor acts as both gatekeeper and handmaiden to a writer’s self-actualization in producing a publishable text. For both parties the editorial process can feel like one of life’s Sisyphean tasks. For this hard work, thank you, editors of belvedere. It is my great pleasure to introduce the new journal launched by students of Pratt’s Department of History of Art and Design, belvedere | Pratt Journal of Art and Design History. The belvedere editors have done a skillful job compiling a series of essays, primary sources, and reviews that reflect the strong talents and diverse interests of students at Pratt. The structure of the journal is an indication of the numerous forms of writing and research Pratt art and design history students employ in their courses, which range from scholarly essays of substantial length to shorter articles that review exhibitions. 2. At times editing is not such a hard road. It can be pleasurable, even. When copy comes in clean and well argued, when felicitous prose is joined to a compelling argument, editors can be heard expressing vocal gratitude for the hours of rewrites saved and will enjoy the agreeable sensation of having learned something from their writers. The feeling that one is in a position to share such texts with a larger audience is a deeply satisfying one, one that should not be squandered. For responsibility calls. With a sigh, editors must return to the bevy of soon-to-be marked up drafts percolating in their inboxes. No doubt copy for belvedere came in clean and ready to print. If this was indeed the case, thank you, writers! Yet even if a draft is immaculate, editing nonetheless requires much reading, sifting, proofing, and, in a collaborative process such as that the belvedere editors have undertaken, many discussions toward finalizing the selection of essays that makes it to print. Thank you, belvedere editors.

Eva Díaz Assistant Professor, Department of History of Art and Design

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Introduction

1. Being an editor is often a thankless job. Reading (sometimes very) rough drafts, posing queries and offering (frequently ignored) suggestions, correcting (recurrently abused) grammar; the editor acts as both gatekeeper and handmaiden to a writer’s self-actualization in producing a publishable text. For both parties the editorial process can feel like one of life’s Sisyphean tasks. For this hard work, thank you, editors of belvedere. It is my great pleasure to introduce the new journal launched by students of Pratt’s Department of History of Art and Design, belvedere | Pratt Journal of Art and Design History. The belvedere editors have done a skillful job compiling a series of essays, primary sources, and reviews that reflect the strong talents and diverse interests of students at Pratt. The structure of the journal is an indication of the numerous forms of writing and research Pratt art and design history students employ in their courses, which range from scholarly essays of substantial length to shorter articles that review exhibitions. 2. At times editing is not such a hard road. It can be pleasurable, even. When copy comes in clean and well argued, when felicitous prose is joined to a compelling argument, editors can be heard expressing vocal gratitude for the hours of rewrites saved and will enjoy the agreeable sensation of having learned something from their writers. The feeling that one is in a position to share such texts with a larger audience is a deeply satisfying one, one that should not be squandered. For responsibility calls. With a sigh, editors must return to the bevy of soon-to-be marked up drafts percolating in their inboxes. No doubt copy for belvedere came in clean and ready to print. If this was indeed the case, thank you, writers! Yet even if a draft is immaculate, editing nonetheless requires much reading, sifting, proofing, and, in a collaborative process such as that the belvedere editors have undertaken, many discussions toward finalizing the selection of essays that makes it to print. Thank you, belvedere editors.

Eva Díaz Assistant Professor, Department of History of Art and Design

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belvedere

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Phoenix: Xu Bing Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York January 2014–March 2015

Phoenix is impressive for its monumentality; from near, it is remarkable for its intricacy. This dichotomy between the monumental and the intricate—a dichotomy that is echoed by the cathedral in which Phoenix hangs—is part of what makes the work so engaging. Like the cathedral, the work simultaneously functions at two vastly different scales. Unlike the cathedral, however, Xu’s work is made not of choice materials, but rather of materials taken from construction sites around Beijing, where Xu currently resides. The body of each bird is a careful assemblage of items cast off in Beijing’s construction boom. The heads of both sculptures are made from the bits of large pneumatic drills; drill points stand in for the birds’ beaks. The heads themselves rise from necks made up of metal tubing sections, stacked one after the other and cut to create the effect of curled feathers flaring out, an arrangement recalling the plumage of a bird’s feathered neck.

ADAM MONOHON

Hanging from the high vaulted ceilings of New York’s Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine are two sculptures by Xu Bing. These two sculptures— enormous, spread-winged birds, each made of hundreds of pieces of disused construction equipment—together form one work titled Phoenix. Separately named Feng and Huang, the birds hang from a complex network of chains and rigging, suspended well below the top of the cathedral’s 100-foot-high ceilings. They each hover just above the heads of visitors as they traverse the cathedral’s nave, hanging at a distance that is at once close and inaccessible. Installed in St. John the Divine, these sculptures hint at a dichotomy between Eastern and Western traditions, both artistic and cultural. The sculptures negotiate a contradiction between monumentality and minutiae.

The chest of Feng, the sculpture nearest to the cathedral’s main entrance, is constructed from the immense drum of a work-worn cement mixer, enshrouded by metal scraps of an unidentifiable provenance and interspersed with outturned shovel spades, both of which resemble feathers. The bird’s tail wing is even more complex, being assembled from green tubing, bamboo rods, long pieces of striped cloth and many cylindrical red metal containers. Included elsewhere in the sculptures are items ranging from shovels to air vents, cement mixers to small metal fans, in addition to countless hand tools and other objects too varied to list. Xu manages to knit these numerous rough-surfaced objects together into two surprisingly cohesive works while at once preserving the integrity of these individual elements.

This review was written for Modernity in Asia: Arts in Cultural Encounters (HA551), taught by Midori Yamamura in spring 2014.

Hanging in an Anglican cathedral, Xu’s sculptures suggest a cultural— specifically a religious—dichotomy between the East and the West. While Phoenix could possibly be read as a religious symbol anywhere, the work’s position in the immense nave of the cathedral imbues it with a sense of spirituality or religiosity that goes beyond that suggested by the significance of the phoenix itself or the place it holds in Chinese mythology. Further, the act of physically walking the length of the nave, standing beneath the sculptures and staring up above the myriad elements from which Feng and Huang are composed, a necessary part of viewing the sculptures, seems an almost religious experience, especially in the context of the cathedral. The ethereal feeling lent to the birds by the many blue LEDs arrayed along their contours only adds to this feeling.

Upon entering the cathedral, visitors can see both sculptures as a whole, their details not yet apparent. The sculptures hang in direct succession, their bodies describing a loose S-curve above the floor of the nave, seemingly chasing one another in flight. The immense scale of these sculptures—each is roughly 100 feet long—requires that the sculptures be viewed at two distances: first from afar, as one whole, monumental unit; and then from up close, with the viewer standing below, able to take in the sculptures’ many details. From afar, the two sculptures seem monolithic, appearing as two solid and heavy forms miraculously suspended above the cathedral floor. As the viewer approaches the sculptures they yield another degree of information, and it becomes clear that each comprises hundreds, if not thousands, of individual items. From afar,

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Despite its seeming religious significance, Phoenix is ultimately less a comment on the contradictions of religions than it is on the contradictions of culture at large. Xu presents the viewer with a work rooted in Chinese mythology in a Western setting; he presents a work rooted in Chinese traditions and Chinese history in an environment shaped by totally separate

Exhibition Reviews

9


Phoenix: Xu Bing Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York January 2014–March 2015

Phoenix is impressive for its monumentality; from near, it is remarkable for its intricacy. This dichotomy between the monumental and the intricate—a dichotomy that is echoed by the cathedral in which Phoenix hangs—is part of what makes the work so engaging. Like the cathedral, the work simultaneously functions at two vastly different scales. Unlike the cathedral, however, Xu’s work is made not of choice materials, but rather of materials taken from construction sites around Beijing, where Xu currently resides. The body of each bird is a careful assemblage of items cast off in Beijing’s construction boom. The heads of both sculptures are made from the bits of large pneumatic drills; drill points stand in for the birds’ beaks. The heads themselves rise from necks made up of metal tubing sections, stacked one after the other and cut to create the effect of curled feathers flaring out, an arrangement recalling the plumage of a bird’s feathered neck.

ADAM MONOHON

Hanging from the high vaulted ceilings of New York’s Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine are two sculptures by Xu Bing. These two sculptures— enormous, spread-winged birds, each made of hundreds of pieces of disused construction equipment—together form one work titled Phoenix. Separately named Feng and Huang, the birds hang from a complex network of chains and rigging, suspended well below the top of the cathedral’s 100-foot-high ceilings. They each hover just above the heads of visitors as they traverse the cathedral’s nave, hanging at a distance that is at once close and inaccessible. Installed in St. John the Divine, these sculptures hint at a dichotomy between Eastern and Western traditions, both artistic and cultural. The sculptures negotiate a contradiction between monumentality and minutiae.

The chest of Feng, the sculpture nearest to the cathedral’s main entrance, is constructed from the immense drum of a work-worn cement mixer, enshrouded by metal scraps of an unidentifiable provenance and interspersed with outturned shovel spades, both of which resemble feathers. The bird’s tail wing is even more complex, being assembled from green tubing, bamboo rods, long pieces of striped cloth and many cylindrical red metal containers. Included elsewhere in the sculptures are items ranging from shovels to air vents, cement mixers to small metal fans, in addition to countless hand tools and other objects too varied to list. Xu manages to knit these numerous rough-surfaced objects together into two surprisingly cohesive works while at once preserving the integrity of these individual elements.

This review was written for Modernity in Asia: Arts in Cultural Encounters (HA551), taught by Midori Yamamura in spring 2014.

Hanging in an Anglican cathedral, Xu’s sculptures suggest a cultural— specifically a religious—dichotomy between the East and the West. While Phoenix could possibly be read as a religious symbol anywhere, the work’s position in the immense nave of the cathedral imbues it with a sense of spirituality or religiosity that goes beyond that suggested by the significance of the phoenix itself or the place it holds in Chinese mythology. Further, the act of physically walking the length of the nave, standing beneath the sculptures and staring up above the myriad elements from which Feng and Huang are composed, a necessary part of viewing the sculptures, seems an almost religious experience, especially in the context of the cathedral. The ethereal feeling lent to the birds by the many blue LEDs arrayed along their contours only adds to this feeling.

Upon entering the cathedral, visitors can see both sculptures as a whole, their details not yet apparent. The sculptures hang in direct succession, their bodies describing a loose S-curve above the floor of the nave, seemingly chasing one another in flight. The immense scale of these sculptures—each is roughly 100 feet long—requires that the sculptures be viewed at two distances: first from afar, as one whole, monumental unit; and then from up close, with the viewer standing below, able to take in the sculptures’ many details. From afar, the two sculptures seem monolithic, appearing as two solid and heavy forms miraculously suspended above the cathedral floor. As the viewer approaches the sculptures they yield another degree of information, and it becomes clear that each comprises hundreds, if not thousands, of individual items. From afar,

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Despite its seeming religious significance, Phoenix is ultimately less a comment on the contradictions of religions than it is on the contradictions of culture at large. Xu presents the viewer with a work rooted in Chinese mythology in a Western setting; he presents a work rooted in Chinese traditions and Chinese history in an environment shaped by totally separate

Exhibition Reviews

9


Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972 Museum of Modern Art, New York October 7, 2012–January 28, 2013

traditions and history. Through this juxtaposition Xu calls to attention the tensions between the two, tensions that must be negotiated daily in a globalized and Westernized China. Not only this, Xu presents the viewer with a work with no ideal viewing point: from afar the viewer misses out on detail, while from up close the works’ initial monumentality—and totality—is lost. Like modern China, Xu’s work is constantly in flux; it proves impossible to grasp as a cohesive whole.

ANTHONY VASQUEZ

Through this work Xu challenges his viewers to consider the many contradictions faced by China as the country pushes to industrialize and modernize, to catch up with Western countries that have already done so. The viewer is challenged to question the country’s relationship to the West as well as the tensions between the two cultures. These sculptures also illuminate the oft-ignored cost of China’s push to catch up with already industrialized nations. Through collecting thousands of pieces of varicolored detritus—the waste of contemporary China—from construction sites throughout Beijing, and reforming them into two totems of traditional Chinese culture, Xu challenges the viewer to consider whether or not traditional culture too is being cast off in China’s efforts to modernize.

This review was written for The Current Season (HA670), taught by Eva Díaz in fall 2013.

After some years of her growing presence in galleries and smaller institutions, the Museum of Modern Art has now introduced Alina Szapocznikow to its New York audience. The museum describes the exhibit as a result of new interest in international scholarship and presents the sculptor as ripe for art historical examination. Already a major figure in Polish modern art, Szapocznikow’s work calls on numerous art movements that indicate the importance of her integration into international art history. Her work expresses her own dark twisted surrealism as a tortured survivor of the Holocaust, but it also refers to such themes as popular culture and Marxist cultural critique through the manufacturing of politically charged “products,” and relates to the feminist artists of America who crafted erotic and thought-provoking objects from unconventional materials. Had Szapocznikow not died at the age of 47 from breast cancer, it would have been interesting to discover whether her mature work would have granted her the international fame she may now receive and whether she would have become identified with a particular artist group. MoMA’s retrospective of the artist has its favored lineage picked out. The exhibit opens with an artist interview in which she identifies her work as relevant to Marxism and existentialism. Inside the gallery, we are met with a second, televised, interview. Szapocznikow faces with a sly smile the barrage of an interviewer who is eager to connect her work with her youth in Nazi ghettos and concentration camps with her role as a 1960s female artist who uses the female body, and with her status as a Polish immigrant

Adam Monohon is a senior in the History of Art and Design program at Pratt Institute. He is especially interested in the history of photography, as well as in contemporary Asian art; he is particularly interested in contemporary Chinese photography.

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belvedere

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Exhibition Reviews

11


Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972 Museum of Modern Art, New York October 7, 2012–January 28, 2013

traditions and history. Through this juxtaposition Xu calls to attention the tensions between the two, tensions that must be negotiated daily in a globalized and Westernized China. Not only this, Xu presents the viewer with a work with no ideal viewing point: from afar the viewer misses out on detail, while from up close the works’ initial monumentality—and totality—is lost. Like modern China, Xu’s work is constantly in flux; it proves impossible to grasp as a cohesive whole.

ANTHONY VASQUEZ

Through this work Xu challenges his viewers to consider the many contradictions faced by China as the country pushes to industrialize and modernize, to catch up with Western countries that have already done so. The viewer is challenged to question the country’s relationship to the West as well as the tensions between the two cultures. These sculptures also illuminate the oft-ignored cost of China’s push to catch up with already industrialized nations. Through collecting thousands of pieces of varicolored detritus—the waste of contemporary China—from construction sites throughout Beijing, and reforming them into two totems of traditional Chinese culture, Xu challenges the viewer to consider whether or not traditional culture too is being cast off in China’s efforts to modernize.

This review was written for The Current Season (HA670), taught by Eva Díaz in fall 2013.

After some years of her growing presence in galleries and smaller institutions, the Museum of Modern Art has now introduced Alina Szapocznikow to its New York audience. The museum describes the exhibit as a result of new interest in international scholarship and presents the sculptor as ripe for art historical examination. Already a major figure in Polish modern art, Szapocznikow’s work calls on numerous art movements that indicate the importance of her integration into international art history. Her work expresses her own dark twisted surrealism as a tortured survivor of the Holocaust, but it also refers to such themes as popular culture and Marxist cultural critique through the manufacturing of politically charged “products,” and relates to the feminist artists of America who crafted erotic and thought-provoking objects from unconventional materials. Had Szapocznikow not died at the age of 47 from breast cancer, it would have been interesting to discover whether her mature work would have granted her the international fame she may now receive and whether she would have become identified with a particular artist group. MoMA’s retrospective of the artist has its favored lineage picked out. The exhibit opens with an artist interview in which she identifies her work as relevant to Marxism and existentialism. Inside the gallery, we are met with a second, televised, interview. Szapocznikow faces with a sly smile the barrage of an interviewer who is eager to connect her work with her youth in Nazi ghettos and concentration camps with her role as a 1960s female artist who uses the female body, and with her status as a Polish immigrant

Adam Monohon is a senior in the History of Art and Design program at Pratt Institute. He is especially interested in the history of photography, as well as in contemporary Asian art; he is particularly interested in contemporary Chinese photography.

10

belvedere

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Exhibition Reviews

11


to Paris. Szapocznikow dodges all his questions, saying adamantly that her work should stand for itself. Despite placing herself in her work through casts of her lips, breasts, and legs, the artist seems opposed to becoming synonymous with her art.

a fragile, playful, and even feminine reading of the artist and her work. Beyond being a female artist, or a tortured artist, the retrospective hints that she was an artist, still: an artist whose biography influenced her development without defining it. While MoMA’s art-historical reexamination of Szapocznikow’s work consolidates her feminist lineage within international art history, the familiarity that is met when entering the exhibit is not due only to her connection to such legacies or even to those of post-WWII art. Rather, it is the familiarity induced by multiple legacies that manifest themselves in the work of an artist of great potential and insight.

Hidden behind a pale yellow partition, a 1955 bronze figure, Eskhumowany (Exhumed), demonstrates Szapocznikow’s early distortions, working with traditional methods and the male figure in a mode that illustrates her classical training and early influence from artists such as Henry Moore and Ossip Zadkine. This expressionist figure of a man sitting, hunched over, with one leg outstretched and without arms, feet, or facial features— altogether resembling a charred corpse—betrays, with its tortured handling of form, how Szapocnikow’s experiences of the Holocaust continued to haunt her. Back within the main space of the exhibit, we discover the artist’s more playful commentaries of the early 1960s: a pile of colored foam-cast belly pillows leads into a room of surrealist lamps with casts of sensual lips and erotic forms of pink and red that glow through the resin when lighted. Considering her desire to have these objects mass-produced and sold to the public, they may represent a Marxist commentary on consumer culture and be indicative of an early attraction to pop. From here, the rest of the show becomes an exploration of this erotic surrealism. Casts of breasts and other portions of the female body sit in pools of black or hang from the walls. Whether Szapocznikow’s personal life dictated her body of work or whether the choices were subconscious is less of a question once her battle with cancer becomes apparent in her art. Following this strand, the artist’s work culminates in the tactile agony of Tumeurs Personnifiées, a collection of distorted portions of faces wrapped into casted bundles and arranged on the ground in a group. In this chronology, Szapocznikow follows the evolution of postsurrealist proto-feminist artists whose unfortunate lives dictated some of their imagery and processes. However, a small model of a pink Portuguese marble convertible RollsRoyce, had it been realized, might also have been Alina Szapocznikow’s culminating work. Placed on a small pedestal by the exit, almost as an afterthought, the work can easily be missed. In a note displayed with the work, she has scrawled her desire to have the piece enlarged to twice life size to “be very expensive, completely useless, and a reflection of the god of supreme luxury. In other words a ‘complete’ work of art.” This would have been her American Dream, a significantly charged and humorous idea that embraces life in a different fashion than in her other work.

Anthony Vasquez completed his B.A. in Art History last May. He came to study in Brooklyn from his home in sunny Miami, Florida. He studied abroad with the Pratt in Venice program and worked as the program’s Undergraduate Office Assistant.

Here Szapocznikow’s interest in a Marxist critique of consumer culture resurfaces and trumps the desperation of her disease. This theme, however, remains unarticulated in the narrative of the exhibition, which pushes for

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Exhibition Reviews

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to Paris. Szapocznikow dodges all his questions, saying adamantly that her work should stand for itself. Despite placing herself in her work through casts of her lips, breasts, and legs, the artist seems opposed to becoming synonymous with her art.

a fragile, playful, and even feminine reading of the artist and her work. Beyond being a female artist, or a tortured artist, the retrospective hints that she was an artist, still: an artist whose biography influenced her development without defining it. While MoMA’s art-historical reexamination of Szapocznikow’s work consolidates her feminist lineage within international art history, the familiarity that is met when entering the exhibit is not due only to her connection to such legacies or even to those of post-WWII art. Rather, it is the familiarity induced by multiple legacies that manifest themselves in the work of an artist of great potential and insight.

Hidden behind a pale yellow partition, a 1955 bronze figure, Eskhumowany (Exhumed), demonstrates Szapocznikow’s early distortions, working with traditional methods and the male figure in a mode that illustrates her classical training and early influence from artists such as Henry Moore and Ossip Zadkine. This expressionist figure of a man sitting, hunched over, with one leg outstretched and without arms, feet, or facial features— altogether resembling a charred corpse—betrays, with its tortured handling of form, how Szapocnikow’s experiences of the Holocaust continued to haunt her. Back within the main space of the exhibit, we discover the artist’s more playful commentaries of the early 1960s: a pile of colored foam-cast belly pillows leads into a room of surrealist lamps with casts of sensual lips and erotic forms of pink and red that glow through the resin when lighted. Considering her desire to have these objects mass-produced and sold to the public, they may represent a Marxist commentary on consumer culture and be indicative of an early attraction to pop. From here, the rest of the show becomes an exploration of this erotic surrealism. Casts of breasts and other portions of the female body sit in pools of black or hang from the walls. Whether Szapocznikow’s personal life dictated her body of work or whether the choices were subconscious is less of a question once her battle with cancer becomes apparent in her art. Following this strand, the artist’s work culminates in the tactile agony of Tumeurs Personnifiées, a collection of distorted portions of faces wrapped into casted bundles and arranged on the ground in a group. In this chronology, Szapocznikow follows the evolution of postsurrealist proto-feminist artists whose unfortunate lives dictated some of their imagery and processes. However, a small model of a pink Portuguese marble convertible RollsRoyce, had it been realized, might also have been Alina Szapocznikow’s culminating work. Placed on a small pedestal by the exit, almost as an afterthought, the work can easily be missed. In a note displayed with the work, she has scrawled her desire to have the piece enlarged to twice life size to “be very expensive, completely useless, and a reflection of the god of supreme luxury. In other words a ‘complete’ work of art.” This would have been her American Dream, a significantly charged and humorous idea that embraces life in a different fashion than in her other work.

Anthony Vasquez completed his B.A. in Art History last May. He came to study in Brooklyn from his home in sunny Miami, Florida. He studied abroad with the Pratt in Venice program and worked as the program’s Undergraduate Office Assistant.

Here Szapocznikow’s interest in a Marxist critique of consumer culture resurfaces and trumps the desperation of her disease. This theme, however, remains unarticulated in the narrative of the exhibition, which pushes for

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Exhibition Reviews

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Featured Folios

Fig. 5

Fig. 1

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

MARGARET MATZ

Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4

Fig. 2

DIANA BOWERS

Fig. 5

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Featured Folios

Fig. 5

Fig. 1

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

MARGARET MATZ

Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4

Fig. 2

DIANA BOWERS

Fig. 5

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Fig. 7

Fig. 6

Fig. 8

JULIA SHINAY

Figs. 6, 7, 8

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Fig. 7

Fig. 6

Fig. 8

JULIA SHINAY

Figs. 6, 7, 8

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Gay Outlaw’s Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as Anti-Monument

1 See Kim Bennett, “Gay Outlaw [artist page],” MagicalSecrets: A Printmaking Community [blog], n.d., http:// www.magical-secrets.com/ artists/outlaw; Suzi Steffen, “Abstract Excessivism,” EugeneWeekly.com, February 24, 2012, accessed May 1, 2013, http://www.eugeneweekly. com/2010/07/22/visart.html; Barbara Morris, “Gay Outlaw at Mills College,” Artweek 36, no. 9 (November 2005): 17; and Jan Garden Castro, “Gay Outlaw, Hosfelt Gallery,” Sculpture (November 2006): 75.

DIANA BOWERS

2 Gay Outlaw, “Visiting Artist Lecture” (lecture at the Oxbow School, Napa, CA, March 27, 2012). 3 Bennett, “Gay Outlaw.” 4 Carol Small, “Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls by The Guerrilla Girls: ‘Women’s Work’ in Contemporary Art by Linda Yee; Arlene Raven; Michele Wallace,” Women’s Art Journal 19, no. 2 (Autumn, 1998-Winter, 1999): 39.

This essay focuses on the 1995-98 piece Tinned Wall/Dark Matter by contemporary sculptor Gay Outlaw, ultimately using analysis of her work as anti-monument to draw broader conclusions about Outlaw’s oeuvre as a whole. The writings of John Dewey provide insight into the piece’s relationship to the viewer experience, leading to its identification as anti-monument. This identification relates to the cyclical and active nature of Outlaw’s art practice, which is essentially about the transformation not just of commonplace objects but also of the space and beings around them. Tinned Wall/Dark Matter is thus emblematic of the particular viewer experience that Outlaw’s work creates to this day. Contemporary artist Gay Outlaw has been producing sculpture for more than 20 years. Though her formal artistic training is in photography, Outlaw first began her forays into sculpture by working with pastry, putting to use her education at Paris’s École de Cuisine La Varenne in 1981-82. It was in this early period of her career that Outlaw created Tinned Wall/ Dark Matter (1995-97), a snaking wall comprising nearly 700 fruitcakes encased in solid aluminum that stood in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ public plaza from 1995 to 1997. The fruitcake wall was later re-installed without the aluminum exterior at a wildlife preserve, where it was left to decay, a process the artist titled Dark Matter Redux (1998). While this piece has undeniable elements of monumentalism, the physically engaging, democratic nature of the work’s presence in space creates a viewing experience, after philosopher John Dewey’s sense of the term, that moves beyond traditional monumentality while simultaneously speaking to individual bodies. In this way, Tinned Wall/Dark Matter may

18

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This paper was written for Modern Art and Social Theory (HA651), taught by Evan Neely in spring 2013.

be viewed as anti-monument. This identity further shapes an understanding of Outlaw’s oeuvre as a whole, proceeding in an endless, profoundly active cycle of investigation and invention. Tinned Wall/Dark Matter and its subsequent phase Dark Matter Redux create a new, hybrid form of anti-monument that exists in Gay Outlaw’s work to this day. Outlaw’s piece evades easy categorization; it is far more complex than it first seems. Though initially appearing monumental in scale and appearance, Tinned Wall/Dark Matter also denies traditional monumentality; it does not arouse remembrance. Its featureless, winding blank wall, rather than inspiring any monumental sense of communal awe or pride, appears profoundly blank in its exterior clean face and indifferent curvature. The dark matter in Tinned Wall/Dark Matter, however, must not be ignored. A vertical plexiglass window installed at one end of the wall discloses its true structure: approximately 700 hand-baked fruitcakes, stacked like bricks, with the fruitcake recipe inscribed in the aluminum near the viewing window. During the two years of the piece’s existence, the aroma of fruitcake sometimes filled the plaza if the weather was warm. The work’s aluminum exterior is not the titular “wall” but rather that which “tins” it—with “it” being the pastry “dark matter” hidden at its heart. Outlaw herself baked each fruitcake by hand, from scratch, to assemble into the wall. The living connection of baking and fruitcakes to memory, identity, and tradition denies the monumental appearance of the piece, thereby placing it in a new category—the anti-monument. All of this sounds awfully serious for what is, in effect, a giant Tupperware container for 700 fruitcakes. A continuous thread in Outlaw’s works is her “playfulness,”1 which may very well have started with her first engagement with pastry art in a site-specific sculpture class taught by conceptual artist Paul Kos at the San Francisco Art Institute. Kos requested that his students use something from their past that they had not used before in art making to create a “generous” piece of art.2 Outlaw chose to use her love for baking and her training at the École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris to create 20 Layer Finial (1992), a layer cake shaped like a round finial that she placed atop a wall at the institute. This led to other pastry works such as Milles Feuilles (1992) and Puff Supports (1996), and eventually to her working with sugar in later pieces such as Honeycomber (1999) and Caramel Springs (1996), described by San Francisco art critic Kenneth Baker as having a kind of “slapstick physics.”3 Feeding others, generosity, baking by hand, and ultimately, sustenance—what could be more serious? Yet, there is a definite humor in these pieces, a sly wink to the viewer, and something “genuinely humorous”4 in their presentation as fine art. In addition to these elements of irony and playfulness, there is also a note of parody. While Outlaw’s Tinned Wall exhibits some monumental aesthetics, the reference is hardly a pure one, as we have seen: the dark matter within complicates Tinned Wall’s connection to monuments.

Gay Outlaw’s Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as Anti-Monument

19


Gay Outlaw’s Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as Anti-Monument

1 See Kim Bennett, “Gay Outlaw [artist page],” MagicalSecrets: A Printmaking Community [blog], n.d., http:// www.magical-secrets.com/ artists/outlaw; Suzi Steffen, “Abstract Excessivism,” EugeneWeekly.com, February 24, 2012, accessed May 1, 2013, http://www.eugeneweekly. com/2010/07/22/visart.html; Barbara Morris, “Gay Outlaw at Mills College,” Artweek 36, no. 9 (November 2005): 17; and Jan Garden Castro, “Gay Outlaw, Hosfelt Gallery,” Sculpture (November 2006): 75.

DIANA BOWERS

2 Gay Outlaw, “Visiting Artist Lecture” (lecture at the Oxbow School, Napa, CA, March 27, 2012). 3 Bennett, “Gay Outlaw.” 4 Carol Small, “Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls by The Guerrilla Girls: ‘Women’s Work’ in Contemporary Art by Linda Yee; Arlene Raven; Michele Wallace,” Women’s Art Journal 19, no. 2 (Autumn, 1998-Winter, 1999): 39.

This essay focuses on the 1995-98 piece Tinned Wall/Dark Matter by contemporary sculptor Gay Outlaw, ultimately using analysis of her work as anti-monument to draw broader conclusions about Outlaw’s oeuvre as a whole. The writings of John Dewey provide insight into the piece’s relationship to the viewer experience, leading to its identification as anti-monument. This identification relates to the cyclical and active nature of Outlaw’s art practice, which is essentially about the transformation not just of commonplace objects but also of the space and beings around them. Tinned Wall/Dark Matter is thus emblematic of the particular viewer experience that Outlaw’s work creates to this day. Contemporary artist Gay Outlaw has been producing sculpture for more than 20 years. Though her formal artistic training is in photography, Outlaw first began her forays into sculpture by working with pastry, putting to use her education at Paris’s École de Cuisine La Varenne in 1981-82. It was in this early period of her career that Outlaw created Tinned Wall/ Dark Matter (1995-97), a snaking wall comprising nearly 700 fruitcakes encased in solid aluminum that stood in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ public plaza from 1995 to 1997. The fruitcake wall was later re-installed without the aluminum exterior at a wildlife preserve, where it was left to decay, a process the artist titled Dark Matter Redux (1998). While this piece has undeniable elements of monumentalism, the physically engaging, democratic nature of the work’s presence in space creates a viewing experience, after philosopher John Dewey’s sense of the term, that moves beyond traditional monumentality while simultaneously speaking to individual bodies. In this way, Tinned Wall/Dark Matter may

18

belvedere

volume 1

This paper was written for Modern Art and Social Theory (HA651), taught by Evan Neely in spring 2013.

be viewed as anti-monument. This identity further shapes an understanding of Outlaw’s oeuvre as a whole, proceeding in an endless, profoundly active cycle of investigation and invention. Tinned Wall/Dark Matter and its subsequent phase Dark Matter Redux create a new, hybrid form of anti-monument that exists in Gay Outlaw’s work to this day. Outlaw’s piece evades easy categorization; it is far more complex than it first seems. Though initially appearing monumental in scale and appearance, Tinned Wall/Dark Matter also denies traditional monumentality; it does not arouse remembrance. Its featureless, winding blank wall, rather than inspiring any monumental sense of communal awe or pride, appears profoundly blank in its exterior clean face and indifferent curvature. The dark matter in Tinned Wall/Dark Matter, however, must not be ignored. A vertical plexiglass window installed at one end of the wall discloses its true structure: approximately 700 hand-baked fruitcakes, stacked like bricks, with the fruitcake recipe inscribed in the aluminum near the viewing window. During the two years of the piece’s existence, the aroma of fruitcake sometimes filled the plaza if the weather was warm. The work’s aluminum exterior is not the titular “wall” but rather that which “tins” it—with “it” being the pastry “dark matter” hidden at its heart. Outlaw herself baked each fruitcake by hand, from scratch, to assemble into the wall. The living connection of baking and fruitcakes to memory, identity, and tradition denies the monumental appearance of the piece, thereby placing it in a new category—the anti-monument. All of this sounds awfully serious for what is, in effect, a giant Tupperware container for 700 fruitcakes. A continuous thread in Outlaw’s works is her “playfulness,”1 which may very well have started with her first engagement with pastry art in a site-specific sculpture class taught by conceptual artist Paul Kos at the San Francisco Art Institute. Kos requested that his students use something from their past that they had not used before in art making to create a “generous” piece of art.2 Outlaw chose to use her love for baking and her training at the École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris to create 20 Layer Finial (1992), a layer cake shaped like a round finial that she placed atop a wall at the institute. This led to other pastry works such as Milles Feuilles (1992) and Puff Supports (1996), and eventually to her working with sugar in later pieces such as Honeycomber (1999) and Caramel Springs (1996), described by San Francisco art critic Kenneth Baker as having a kind of “slapstick physics.”3 Feeding others, generosity, baking by hand, and ultimately, sustenance—what could be more serious? Yet, there is a definite humor in these pieces, a sly wink to the viewer, and something “genuinely humorous”4 in their presentation as fine art. In addition to these elements of irony and playfulness, there is also a note of parody. While Outlaw’s Tinned Wall exhibits some monumental aesthetics, the reference is hardly a pure one, as we have seen: the dark matter within complicates Tinned Wall’s connection to monuments.

Gay Outlaw’s Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as Anti-Monument

19


The fruitcake filling of Outlaw’s piece and its lingering aroma of “Christmas and whiskey”5 place the entire work into a newly democratized and accessible aesthetic framework. Though the metal wall appears imposing, it turns out to be a joke on some level, and the viewer is in on that joke. This element of public engagement in Outlaw’s piece becomes even clearer in its second incarnation, Dark Matter Redux (1998). Traditional monuments are often defined as “immovable,”6 but Dark Matter Redux makes clear a fundamental schism between Outlaw’s piece and true monumentality. In the Redux process, the artist disassembled Tinned Wall/Dark Matter and transported the fruitcake wall to a trench in the wilderness at the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, California, where it was left to disintegrate in the open air. This action underscores Kenneth Baker’s reflection that “even things we think of as immobile travel through time and space” in addition to Outlaw’s own description of baked goods as “temporary objects.”7 As static and rigid as Tinned Wall may have seemed, Outlaw’s action of “moving the monument”8 challenges the very notion of monumentality as forever fixed, thus further establishing the piece’s identity as anti-monument. Dark Matter Redux also emphasizes the “generous” nature of Outlaw’s pastry sculptures, which serves to widen her works’ appeal to viewers beyond the usual institutional spheres of fine art. Kim Bennett writes that Outlaw “makes her work like a good host who lets you know that she spent a lot of time crafting your dinner but isn’t a martyr about it. The viewer feels welcome to her feast.”9 Though Tinned Wall was installed for two years before Outlaw disassembled it for Dark Matter Redux, Outlaw takes pains to note that if stored properly, fruitcake may remain edible for many years, and, indeed, this is part of the common folklore about the dessert. It is precisely this folklore that provides many viewers an entry point into the piece, playing upon collective memory and history. Ultimately, such connotations bring out individual associations and memories. Everyone will have his or her own interpretation of the “Christmas and whiskey” smell, for example, especially as scent is supposedly the sense most strongly tied to memory. By emphasizing the unconventional use of a domestic, crafty, and familiar material like fruitcake, Dark Matter Redux reaches beyond the appeal to collective memory of traditional monuments and into the individual hearts and minds of its viewers. It is this direct connection with the viewer that artist and curator Chris Daubert implied when he spoke of the “physiology of seeing” in an interview with Outlaw before her 2011 solo exhibition at the Center for Contem porary Art in Sacramento, The Velocity of Ideas.10 Reflecting on the optical illusions present in many of the works in the show, Daubert spoke of “the transformational nature of seeing” and noted that “my body tends to do a little shift” upon viewing Outlaw’s work.11 This is, of course, exactly the sort of effect Outlaw aims for; happily pointing out in response that it is indeed “really hard to nail them down from one point of view.” One of her oft-cited inspirations is the work of sculptor Tony Smith. In Outlaw’s own words, “his pieces command that you walk around them,

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5 Bennett, “Gay Outlaw.” 6 Do-Ho Suh, “The AntiMonument,” The Walrus, October 2004, accessed May 1, 2013, http://walrusmagazine. com/article.php?ref=2004.10detail-korean-artist&page=. 7 Gay Outlaw and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gay Outlaw on Her Working Methods, YouTube video, 1:55, April 2010, http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=kAkR WwoJon0. 8 Suh, “The Anti-Monument.” 9 Bennett, “Gay Outlaw.” 10 Gay Outlaw and Chris Daubert, “A Conversation between Gay Outlaw and Chris Daubert,” recording by the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, March 26, 2011. 11 Ibid.

12 Castro, “Gay Outlaw, Hosfelt,” 75. 13 Outlaw, “A Conversation;” emphasis mine. 14 John Dewey, Art as Experience (New York: Penguin, 2005), 2. 15 Ibid., 12. 16 Ibid., 4. 17 Ibid., 18. 18 Ibid., 27. 19 Chris Daubert, Gay Outlaw: The Velocity of Ideas (Sacramento, CA: The Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, 2011), 1. 20 Outlaw, “A Conversation.” 21 Daubert, Velocity of Ideas, 1. 22 Outlaw, “A Conversation.”

which is what I aspire to with my sculpture. I want you to walk around the pieces while you are looking at them and notice what that phenomenon feels like.”12 To go by Daubert’s assessment, it would seem that Outlaw has achieved this aim: The fun thing about experiencing your work . . . it invites you walking around the world . . . actually looking at the geometries that surround us, and not taking them for granted like we do . . . it opens up a whole other world of experience, to those things that are right around us.13 Not only does Outlaw’s work encourage one to walk around the work itself, experience it from all angles, and consider its full impact on our bodies as viewers, it also encourages us to see the entire world differently through the lens of that experience. By inviting the viewer’s active, physical interaction with the work, Outlaw creates a dynamic new dimension in the viewer’s aesthetic engagement with the world. This type of experience is exactly what John Dewey describes in his landmark 1931 series of lectures on “Art as Experience,” published in 1934 as a book of the same name. “A great work of art,” Dewey claims, “has esthetic standing only as the work becomes an experience for a human being.”14 Work like Outlaw’s that is aware of the viewer as existing in a physical environment taps into this fundamental basis for art. For Outlaw, like Dewey, the experience of viewing art must involve our perspective as situated creatures in the world. Art, like life, “goes on in an environment, not merely in it but because of it, through interaction with it.”15 Humans have an “esthetic hunger,”16 and only experience—“complete interpenetration of self and the world of objects and events” 17—can satisfy that hunger. It is not only the practice of viewing art that needs to incorporate experience, however—the process of making art must also strive for that goal. According to Dewey, the “act of production” must be “an experience in which the whole creature is alive and in which he possesses his living through enjoyment,” otherwise “the product will lack something of being esthetic.”18 Essentially, the artist must be an active participant in the artmaking process just as the viewer must be (and must be allowed to be) an active participant in the art-viewing process. In Outlaw’s work to date, one is able to discern a definite trajectory, a sense of the artist’s not only building upon what she has done before, but also integrating those past experiences wholeheartedly into her current art practice. Every art object she produces engenders another piece or series of pieces. It is this continual integration of Outlaw’s artistic legacy that Daubert describes as her work’s “exhilaration of propulsion”19 and which the artist herself describes as “self-consumption.”20 To Daubert, Outlaw’s pieces “never seem to be solutions to a problem so much as ideas in mid-flight, always part of a journey, constantly in a state of becoming,”21 and ultimately they are all part of a “conversational . . . vibrant ongoing investigation.”22 Each object the

Gay Outlaw’s Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as Anti-Monument

21


The fruitcake filling of Outlaw’s piece and its lingering aroma of “Christmas and whiskey”5 place the entire work into a newly democratized and accessible aesthetic framework. Though the metal wall appears imposing, it turns out to be a joke on some level, and the viewer is in on that joke. This element of public engagement in Outlaw’s piece becomes even clearer in its second incarnation, Dark Matter Redux (1998). Traditional monuments are often defined as “immovable,”6 but Dark Matter Redux makes clear a fundamental schism between Outlaw’s piece and true monumentality. In the Redux process, the artist disassembled Tinned Wall/Dark Matter and transported the fruitcake wall to a trench in the wilderness at the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, California, where it was left to disintegrate in the open air. This action underscores Kenneth Baker’s reflection that “even things we think of as immobile travel through time and space” in addition to Outlaw’s own description of baked goods as “temporary objects.”7 As static and rigid as Tinned Wall may have seemed, Outlaw’s action of “moving the monument”8 challenges the very notion of monumentality as forever fixed, thus further establishing the piece’s identity as anti-monument. Dark Matter Redux also emphasizes the “generous” nature of Outlaw’s pastry sculptures, which serves to widen her works’ appeal to viewers beyond the usual institutional spheres of fine art. Kim Bennett writes that Outlaw “makes her work like a good host who lets you know that she spent a lot of time crafting your dinner but isn’t a martyr about it. The viewer feels welcome to her feast.”9 Though Tinned Wall was installed for two years before Outlaw disassembled it for Dark Matter Redux, Outlaw takes pains to note that if stored properly, fruitcake may remain edible for many years, and, indeed, this is part of the common folklore about the dessert. It is precisely this folklore that provides many viewers an entry point into the piece, playing upon collective memory and history. Ultimately, such connotations bring out individual associations and memories. Everyone will have his or her own interpretation of the “Christmas and whiskey” smell, for example, especially as scent is supposedly the sense most strongly tied to memory. By emphasizing the unconventional use of a domestic, crafty, and familiar material like fruitcake, Dark Matter Redux reaches beyond the appeal to collective memory of traditional monuments and into the individual hearts and minds of its viewers. It is this direct connection with the viewer that artist and curator Chris Daubert implied when he spoke of the “physiology of seeing” in an interview with Outlaw before her 2011 solo exhibition at the Center for Contem porary Art in Sacramento, The Velocity of Ideas.10 Reflecting on the optical illusions present in many of the works in the show, Daubert spoke of “the transformational nature of seeing” and noted that “my body tends to do a little shift” upon viewing Outlaw’s work.11 This is, of course, exactly the sort of effect Outlaw aims for; happily pointing out in response that it is indeed “really hard to nail them down from one point of view.” One of her oft-cited inspirations is the work of sculptor Tony Smith. In Outlaw’s own words, “his pieces command that you walk around them,

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5 Bennett, “Gay Outlaw.” 6 Do-Ho Suh, “The AntiMonument,” The Walrus, October 2004, accessed May 1, 2013, http://walrusmagazine. com/article.php?ref=2004.10detail-korean-artist&page=. 7 Gay Outlaw and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gay Outlaw on Her Working Methods, YouTube video, 1:55, April 2010, http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=kAkR WwoJon0. 8 Suh, “The Anti-Monument.” 9 Bennett, “Gay Outlaw.” 10 Gay Outlaw and Chris Daubert, “A Conversation between Gay Outlaw and Chris Daubert,” recording by the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, March 26, 2011. 11 Ibid.

12 Castro, “Gay Outlaw, Hosfelt,” 75. 13 Outlaw, “A Conversation;” emphasis mine. 14 John Dewey, Art as Experience (New York: Penguin, 2005), 2. 15 Ibid., 12. 16 Ibid., 4. 17 Ibid., 18. 18 Ibid., 27. 19 Chris Daubert, Gay Outlaw: The Velocity of Ideas (Sacramento, CA: The Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, 2011), 1. 20 Outlaw, “A Conversation.” 21 Daubert, Velocity of Ideas, 1. 22 Outlaw, “A Conversation.”

which is what I aspire to with my sculpture. I want you to walk around the pieces while you are looking at them and notice what that phenomenon feels like.”12 To go by Daubert’s assessment, it would seem that Outlaw has achieved this aim: The fun thing about experiencing your work . . . it invites you walking around the world . . . actually looking at the geometries that surround us, and not taking them for granted like we do . . . it opens up a whole other world of experience, to those things that are right around us.13 Not only does Outlaw’s work encourage one to walk around the work itself, experience it from all angles, and consider its full impact on our bodies as viewers, it also encourages us to see the entire world differently through the lens of that experience. By inviting the viewer’s active, physical interaction with the work, Outlaw creates a dynamic new dimension in the viewer’s aesthetic engagement with the world. This type of experience is exactly what John Dewey describes in his landmark 1931 series of lectures on “Art as Experience,” published in 1934 as a book of the same name. “A great work of art,” Dewey claims, “has esthetic standing only as the work becomes an experience for a human being.”14 Work like Outlaw’s that is aware of the viewer as existing in a physical environment taps into this fundamental basis for art. For Outlaw, like Dewey, the experience of viewing art must involve our perspective as situated creatures in the world. Art, like life, “goes on in an environment, not merely in it but because of it, through interaction with it.”15 Humans have an “esthetic hunger,”16 and only experience—“complete interpenetration of self and the world of objects and events” 17—can satisfy that hunger. It is not only the practice of viewing art that needs to incorporate experience, however—the process of making art must also strive for that goal. According to Dewey, the “act of production” must be “an experience in which the whole creature is alive and in which he possesses his living through enjoyment,” otherwise “the product will lack something of being esthetic.”18 Essentially, the artist must be an active participant in the artmaking process just as the viewer must be (and must be allowed to be) an active participant in the art-viewing process. In Outlaw’s work to date, one is able to discern a definite trajectory, a sense of the artist’s not only building upon what she has done before, but also integrating those past experiences wholeheartedly into her current art practice. Every art object she produces engenders another piece or series of pieces. It is this continual integration of Outlaw’s artistic legacy that Daubert describes as her work’s “exhilaration of propulsion”19 and which the artist herself describes as “self-consumption.”20 To Daubert, Outlaw’s pieces “never seem to be solutions to a problem so much as ideas in mid-flight, always part of a journey, constantly in a state of becoming,”21 and ultimately they are all part of a “conversational . . . vibrant ongoing investigation.”22 Each object the

Gay Outlaw’s Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as Anti-Monument

21


artist creates stems from and builds upon her existing oeuvre. One example is Outlaw’s continual fascination with the void. Her Camo Cubes (2005–2006) represents layer upon layer of reflection on the concepts of holes and non-space. The cubes are created from Coroplast, or corrugated plastic, with oval holes on their sides that cause them to resemble Swiss cheese. Outlaw connects these holes with paper tubes, creating the sense of a solid cube that has been penetrated, rather than a hollow structure.23 Finally, the artist covers the Coroplast with printed abstracted photographs of the variety of shadow patterns created within the holes in the cubes. This play on the concept of empty space is extrapolated further in the bronze sculptures Untitled (Oval Moon and Oval Infinity) (2009), which are three-dimensional representations of the photographs of the holes’ shadow patterns. The artist’s obsessive investigation of the void could be taken all the way back to Tinned Wall/Dark Matter, in which the fruitcake filling is physically present, though remains in some sense merely a counterpoint, a filling. When removed from its casing and set up to stand alone, however, Outlaw’s Dark Matter resonates conceptually with the stand alone bronze versions of the Camo Cubes’s hole shadows. Simply attempting to describe these generations of meaning and genesis soon becomes a daunting task as referents stack up and up throughout her career. It is this quality of “ongoing investigation” that gives Outlaw’s work such an active, experiential presence. Outlaw plays in the studio, continually creating and re-creating, building and destroying, thinking and acting. In her studio, “planning and chance almost seem to be the same thing,”24 a condition that stems from her active engagement with her work and her working process. The changing light in the studio coupled with the artist’s changing perspective every day transform the works at all stages of completion housed within her studio—which are, in a sense, her raw materials— and she is able to mine them over and over again in creating new work. In contrast, traditional monumentality is inactive, and this brings us back to the conception of Outlaw’s work as anti-monument. According to James E. Young, author of At Memory’s Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), an anti-monument or counter-monument is essentially an “anti-heroic, ironic, and self-effacing conceptual installation that provoke[s] communication, multiplicity, [and] interaction.”25 Unlike the “self- aggrandizing” effect of conventional monuments,26 anti-monuments are humble and reliant upon the viewer for any aesthetic power they come to possess. Contemporary electronic artist Rafael LozanoHemmer’s digital installations are often associated with anti-monumentality. He describes the anti-monument as “an action, a performance.”27 For Lozano-Hemmer, the necessary humility of the anti-monument is due to the active participation of the viewing public: “Depending on public participation is a humbling affair,” he notes, “because the work

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23 In fact, the original source of her idea was penetrating solid cubes through a plastic mold-making process. 24 Robert Smithson and Alison Sky, “Entropy Made Visible, Interview with Alison Sky (On Site #4, 1973),” in The Writings of Robert Smithson: Essays and Illustrations, ed. Nancy Holt (New York: New York University Press, 1979), 189-198. 25 Nicole Leigh Mahan, “Krzysztof Wodiczko’s If You See Something…: CounterMemory and the Role of the Artist in Post-9/11 America” (Master’s Thesis, Florida State University, 2010), 42. 26 Ibid, 41. 27 Alex Adriaansens and Joke Brouwers, “Alien Relationships from Public Space: A Winding Dialog with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer,” in Transurbanism, eds. Joke Brouwers and Arjen Mulder (Rotterdam: V2_Publishing/ NAi Publishing, 2002), 155.

28 Ibid. 29 For example, Pulse Drip (2012) allows visitors to water a lawn using a hose with a built-in heart sensor that determines the hose’s water flow. For more examples, see Antimodular Research, “Rafael Lorenzo Hemmer—Projects,” accessed May 1, 2013, http://www.lozanohemmer.com/projects.php.

will not exist without the main protagonist, which is the public as actor.”28 Though Lozano-Hemmer’s works are much more dependent on direct audience participation than Outlaw’s,29 his comments are instructive in understanding how Outlaw’s pieces, espcially Tinned Wall, function as anti-monument. The artist’s deep concern, and indeed, need, for the viewer’s physical interaction with her work, as well as her engaged and active process, enables Outlaw’s work to push beyond monument to anti-monument. Tinned Wall/Dark Matter complicates our understanding of monumentalism. It is Dark Matter Redux, however, that really challenges the definition and categorization of the piece, drawing out the participatory nature of Outlaw’s oeuvre and practice. The content of Dark Matter Redux is its decay, an active process that insists upon the piece’s physical placement in its environment and thus demands the same presence from the viewer. It is in this manner that viewers come to actively participate in the work, ultimately integrating their own physical presence with that of the art. The viewer’s experiential necessity for active presence combined with the demonstrated mobility of the work fully situates Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as anti-monument. The ironic notes and physical engagement with the world exhibited by this piece further serve to indicate the tone of Outlaw’s career overall. Outlaw is an experimenter who constantly references her own past and previous work, and it is her highly active participation as an artist and creator that renders the viewer’s experience of her work so engrossing in both a mental and physical sense. Outlaw’s viewer experiences a new kind of sight, a new way of being in the world, through interacting with her pieces. In this way, Outlaw transforms not just the materials she works with, but also the spaces and beings around them, thus embracing anti-monumentality and bringing new dimensions of engagement to the commonplace.

Diana Bowers completed a dual master’s degree in Art History and Library Science in fall 2014. She also completed an advanced certificate in archives. Diana wrote her master’s thesis on the woodcut illustrations in the various editions of the 15th-century chronicle Fasciculus temporum. She currently works as the archivist for the Ray Johnson Estate.

Gay Outlaw’s Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as Anti-Monument

23


artist creates stems from and builds upon her existing oeuvre. One example is Outlaw’s continual fascination with the void. Her Camo Cubes (2005–2006) represents layer upon layer of reflection on the concepts of holes and non-space. The cubes are created from Coroplast, or corrugated plastic, with oval holes on their sides that cause them to resemble Swiss cheese. Outlaw connects these holes with paper tubes, creating the sense of a solid cube that has been penetrated, rather than a hollow structure.23 Finally, the artist covers the Coroplast with printed abstracted photographs of the variety of shadow patterns created within the holes in the cubes. This play on the concept of empty space is extrapolated further in the bronze sculptures Untitled (Oval Moon and Oval Infinity) (2009), which are three-dimensional representations of the photographs of the holes’ shadow patterns. The artist’s obsessive investigation of the void could be taken all the way back to Tinned Wall/Dark Matter, in which the fruitcake filling is physically present, though remains in some sense merely a counterpoint, a filling. When removed from its casing and set up to stand alone, however, Outlaw’s Dark Matter resonates conceptually with the stand alone bronze versions of the Camo Cubes’s hole shadows. Simply attempting to describe these generations of meaning and genesis soon becomes a daunting task as referents stack up and up throughout her career. It is this quality of “ongoing investigation” that gives Outlaw’s work such an active, experiential presence. Outlaw plays in the studio, continually creating and re-creating, building and destroying, thinking and acting. In her studio, “planning and chance almost seem to be the same thing,”24 a condition that stems from her active engagement with her work and her working process. The changing light in the studio coupled with the artist’s changing perspective every day transform the works at all stages of completion housed within her studio—which are, in a sense, her raw materials— and she is able to mine them over and over again in creating new work. In contrast, traditional monumentality is inactive, and this brings us back to the conception of Outlaw’s work as anti-monument. According to James E. Young, author of At Memory’s Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), an anti-monument or counter-monument is essentially an “anti-heroic, ironic, and self-effacing conceptual installation that provoke[s] communication, multiplicity, [and] interaction.”25 Unlike the “self- aggrandizing” effect of conventional monuments,26 anti-monuments are humble and reliant upon the viewer for any aesthetic power they come to possess. Contemporary electronic artist Rafael LozanoHemmer’s digital installations are often associated with anti-monumentality. He describes the anti-monument as “an action, a performance.”27 For Lozano-Hemmer, the necessary humility of the anti-monument is due to the active participation of the viewing public: “Depending on public participation is a humbling affair,” he notes, “because the work

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23 In fact, the original source of her idea was penetrating solid cubes through a plastic mold-making process. 24 Robert Smithson and Alison Sky, “Entropy Made Visible, Interview with Alison Sky (On Site #4, 1973),” in The Writings of Robert Smithson: Essays and Illustrations, ed. Nancy Holt (New York: New York University Press, 1979), 189-198. 25 Nicole Leigh Mahan, “Krzysztof Wodiczko’s If You See Something…: CounterMemory and the Role of the Artist in Post-9/11 America” (Master’s Thesis, Florida State University, 2010), 42. 26 Ibid, 41. 27 Alex Adriaansens and Joke Brouwers, “Alien Relationships from Public Space: A Winding Dialog with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer,” in Transurbanism, eds. Joke Brouwers and Arjen Mulder (Rotterdam: V2_Publishing/ NAi Publishing, 2002), 155.

28 Ibid. 29 For example, Pulse Drip (2012) allows visitors to water a lawn using a hose with a built-in heart sensor that determines the hose’s water flow. For more examples, see Antimodular Research, “Rafael Lorenzo Hemmer—Projects,” accessed May 1, 2013, http://www.lozanohemmer.com/projects.php.

will not exist without the main protagonist, which is the public as actor.”28 Though Lozano-Hemmer’s works are much more dependent on direct audience participation than Outlaw’s,29 his comments are instructive in understanding how Outlaw’s pieces, espcially Tinned Wall, function as anti-monument. The artist’s deep concern, and indeed, need, for the viewer’s physical interaction with her work, as well as her engaged and active process, enables Outlaw’s work to push beyond monument to anti-monument. Tinned Wall/Dark Matter complicates our understanding of monumentalism. It is Dark Matter Redux, however, that really challenges the definition and categorization of the piece, drawing out the participatory nature of Outlaw’s oeuvre and practice. The content of Dark Matter Redux is its decay, an active process that insists upon the piece’s physical placement in its environment and thus demands the same presence from the viewer. It is in this manner that viewers come to actively participate in the work, ultimately integrating their own physical presence with that of the art. The viewer’s experiential necessity for active presence combined with the demonstrated mobility of the work fully situates Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as anti-monument. The ironic notes and physical engagement with the world exhibited by this piece further serve to indicate the tone of Outlaw’s career overall. Outlaw is an experimenter who constantly references her own past and previous work, and it is her highly active participation as an artist and creator that renders the viewer’s experience of her work so engrossing in both a mental and physical sense. Outlaw’s viewer experiences a new kind of sight, a new way of being in the world, through interacting with her pieces. In this way, Outlaw transforms not just the materials she works with, but also the spaces and beings around them, thus embracing anti-monumentality and bringing new dimensions of engagement to the commonplace.

Diana Bowers completed a dual master’s degree in Art History and Library Science in fall 2014. She also completed an advanced certificate in archives. Diana wrote her master’s thesis on the woodcut illustrations in the various editions of the 15th-century chronicle Fasciculus temporum. She currently works as the archivist for the Ray Johnson Estate.

Gay Outlaw’s Tinned Wall/Dark Matter as Anti-Monument

23


Distinctions of Taste in 18th-Century France

1 Leora Auslander, Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996) 2 John Pile, A History of Interior Design (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005), 176.

NATALIA TORIJA-NIETO

3 Joan E. DeJean, The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual—and the Modern Home Began. (New York: Bloomsbury, 2009), 37. 4 Ibid., 31. 5 Frederick C. Green, “John Law,” in his Eighteenth-Century France: Six Essays (New York: Ungar, 1964). 6 Ibid., 18. 7 DeJean, The Age of Comfort, 36.

Although taste is personal and there is no strict definition of “good” or “bad” taste, significant existing background gives us certain guidelines into what may be considered acceptable. This evidence dates back to the eighteenth century, specifically in France. I have taken the French as case study, around the time when the short-lived rococo took a turn into neoclassicism. In studying contemporary architectural treatises, pattern books, and encyclopedias, just how style began to be dictated among the people of the Enlightenment becomes evident, contrasting the new aristocrats with other up-and-coming Parisian citizens who were driven toward imitating the rococo style. What is it that makes taste acceptable or not? Who declares whether something is too daring or not enough so? Is taste solely related to gender? The first notorious interior designers and fashion stylists in eighteenthcentury France were men, but for a long time it had been the women in the Château de Versailles—beginning with the Marquise de Montespan, Louis XIV’s mistress—who had been the official dictators of taste. Focusing on eighteenth-century France, I theorize that it is not just a question of male or female taste, but rather the adaptation of one’s own preference within the style of a certain time period. To further approach the subject of taste, it is crucial to define first the terms taste and style. Leora Auslander writes: “Taste has been understood to be innate and emotional yet capable of improvement through education; individual and idiosyncratic yet absolute; transcendent of time and space yet socially constituted. Style, in contrast, has been understood to be historical

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This paper was written for History of Interior Design (HD360), taught by Anca Lasc in fall 2013.

and specific, resulting from either collective effort or individual genius.”1 In order to make these distinctions and understand their meaning, I will focus on 18th-century France, a key period in which major changes took place in style, art, design, and overall culture. I will focus particularly on the shift that occurred after the reign of Louis XIV along with the emergence of the Enlightenment. When the first 18th-century French interior designers and tastemakers became known, the social stratifications had shifted. The opulence of Versailles was no longer the only place to look when searching for the finest taste in fashion, architecture, and interior decoration. The majestic monarchy that the “Sun King” built was subdued during Louis XV’s reign. The arts were focused on creating a style that would pair with a new way of thinking; not only was there a concern for choosing the right decoration and materials, but there was also a need to arrange spaces according to commodité, defined through functionality, practicality, and comfort. Even the king himself desired leisure and privacy more than the rigid and strict moral guidelines that had previously set the rules of conduct at the court. The aristocracy of the rest of Europe turned to France, emulating the French grandiose style in their own palaces. From 1736 to 1789 in France, rococo became the predominant style. It was “imported and imitated in Austria and Germany and had considerable influence in England as well.”2 Yet, in Paris, a new kind of aristocracy emerged. The nobility was beginning to mix with the bourgeoisie. Marriages for financial reasons were common.3 The new upper class built large town houses known as hôtels particuliers. Also, for the first time, private enterprise was funding cutting edge architectural projects such as the Place Vendôme, an important square located in the first district or arrondissement of Paris. 4 These events took place due to an important economic shift that resulted in more money for the middle class. The extravagances of Louis XIV left France in deplorable economic conditions following the Sun King’s death in 1715. During this period from 1715 to 1723, best known as the Régence, a Scottish financier named John Law arrived in France with a project intended to stabilize France’s economy. He devised a plan that would get France back on the right financial track: a national bank based on paper currency, followed by a greater enterprise, the Compagnie des Indes, a major trading company established in India by the European colonies. Law led people to speculate blindly and major investments took place.5 Ultimately, “Law, in encouraging speculation had lighted a blaze which, with all his craft and the resources at his disposal, he was powerless to extinguish. In the train of speculation came a wave of crime and a passion for luxury unparalleled in French history.”6 British literary scholar Frederick Green refers to a time when greed was the order of the day and people would turn to the unthinkable—murder—to get what they wanted. As expected, the economic bubble eventually burst and only a few were able to keep their jobs, among them interior designers.7

Distinctions of Taste in 18th-Century France

25


Distinctions of Taste in 18th-Century France

1 Leora Auslander, Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996) 2 John Pile, A History of Interior Design (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005), 176.

NATALIA TORIJA-NIETO

3 Joan E. DeJean, The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual—and the Modern Home Began. (New York: Bloomsbury, 2009), 37. 4 Ibid., 31. 5 Frederick C. Green, “John Law,” in his Eighteenth-Century France: Six Essays (New York: Ungar, 1964). 6 Ibid., 18. 7 DeJean, The Age of Comfort, 36.

Although taste is personal and there is no strict definition of “good” or “bad” taste, significant existing background gives us certain guidelines into what may be considered acceptable. This evidence dates back to the eighteenth century, specifically in France. I have taken the French as case study, around the time when the short-lived rococo took a turn into neoclassicism. In studying contemporary architectural treatises, pattern books, and encyclopedias, just how style began to be dictated among the people of the Enlightenment becomes evident, contrasting the new aristocrats with other up-and-coming Parisian citizens who were driven toward imitating the rococo style. What is it that makes taste acceptable or not? Who declares whether something is too daring or not enough so? Is taste solely related to gender? The first notorious interior designers and fashion stylists in eighteenthcentury France were men, but for a long time it had been the women in the Château de Versailles—beginning with the Marquise de Montespan, Louis XIV’s mistress—who had been the official dictators of taste. Focusing on eighteenth-century France, I theorize that it is not just a question of male or female taste, but rather the adaptation of one’s own preference within the style of a certain time period. To further approach the subject of taste, it is crucial to define first the terms taste and style. Leora Auslander writes: “Taste has been understood to be innate and emotional yet capable of improvement through education; individual and idiosyncratic yet absolute; transcendent of time and space yet socially constituted. Style, in contrast, has been understood to be historical

24

belvedere

volume 1

This paper was written for History of Interior Design (HD360), taught by Anca Lasc in fall 2013.

and specific, resulting from either collective effort or individual genius.”1 In order to make these distinctions and understand their meaning, I will focus on 18th-century France, a key period in which major changes took place in style, art, design, and overall culture. I will focus particularly on the shift that occurred after the reign of Louis XIV along with the emergence of the Enlightenment. When the first 18th-century French interior designers and tastemakers became known, the social stratifications had shifted. The opulence of Versailles was no longer the only place to look when searching for the finest taste in fashion, architecture, and interior decoration. The majestic monarchy that the “Sun King” built was subdued during Louis XV’s reign. The arts were focused on creating a style that would pair with a new way of thinking; not only was there a concern for choosing the right decoration and materials, but there was also a need to arrange spaces according to commodité, defined through functionality, practicality, and comfort. Even the king himself desired leisure and privacy more than the rigid and strict moral guidelines that had previously set the rules of conduct at the court. The aristocracy of the rest of Europe turned to France, emulating the French grandiose style in their own palaces. From 1736 to 1789 in France, rococo became the predominant style. It was “imported and imitated in Austria and Germany and had considerable influence in England as well.”2 Yet, in Paris, a new kind of aristocracy emerged. The nobility was beginning to mix with the bourgeoisie. Marriages for financial reasons were common.3 The new upper class built large town houses known as hôtels particuliers. Also, for the first time, private enterprise was funding cutting edge architectural projects such as the Place Vendôme, an important square located in the first district or arrondissement of Paris. 4 These events took place due to an important economic shift that resulted in more money for the middle class. The extravagances of Louis XIV left France in deplorable economic conditions following the Sun King’s death in 1715. During this period from 1715 to 1723, best known as the Régence, a Scottish financier named John Law arrived in France with a project intended to stabilize France’s economy. He devised a plan that would get France back on the right financial track: a national bank based on paper currency, followed by a greater enterprise, the Compagnie des Indes, a major trading company established in India by the European colonies. Law led people to speculate blindly and major investments took place.5 Ultimately, “Law, in encouraging speculation had lighted a blaze which, with all his craft and the resources at his disposal, he was powerless to extinguish. In the train of speculation came a wave of crime and a passion for luxury unparalleled in French history.”6 British literary scholar Frederick Green refers to a time when greed was the order of the day and people would turn to the unthinkable—murder—to get what they wanted. As expected, the economic bubble eventually burst and only a few were able to keep their jobs, among them interior designers.7

Distinctions of Taste in 18th-Century France

25


Meanwhile, a new expression entered the Parisian vernacular around the year 1721. People spoke of the nouveaux riches and the millions they spent on their idea of good taste. These new millionaires had the freedom to be dictators of style, which meant that it was no longer up to the nobility to set the tone. People with the means could decorate, dress, and acquire artwork as they pleased.

8 Saul Anton, “Style and History in Diderot and Winckelmann,” in Style in Theory: Between Literature and Philosophy, ed. Ivan Callus, James Corby, and Gloria Lauri-Lucente (London; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 73. 9 Ibid., 74.

This movement became a distraction and therefore a conflict for philosophers and intellectuals who wanted to set France on the right track following the ideas of the Enlightenment. These ideas were mostly discussed at the salons, “an actual historical horizon for the Enlightenment, a public sphere that sought to extend the 17th century ‘Republic of Letters’ to society as a whole via the mechanism of aesthetic experience and taste.”8 One of the most notable of the salons was the Salon Carré at the Louvre, instituted by Jean-Baptiste Colbert in the mid-17th century, which was open to the public, for anyone to enjoy an array of artworks selected by the Académie.9 This was not an artistic/literary salon, however, where people were accustomed to gathering privately and discussing current political or philosophical issues. Rather than being set in a magnificent location such as the Louvre, the famed Parisian salons of the 17th century created a more amiable space that fostered the discussion of ideas disregarding social hierarchies. These salons were led by women, which resulted in a total shift from the previous academic salons. “Under the guidance of Mme. Geoffrin, Mlle. de Lespinasse, and Mme. Necker, the salon was transformed from a noble, leisure institution into an institution of Enlightenment. In the salons, nobles and non-nobles were brought together on a footing of equality.”10 One of the most influential female figures of the Enlightenment was the Marquise de Pompadour, Louis XV’s favorite. Although these women were commonly referred to as the précieuses— frequenters of the salons seeking entry into the nobility and the court— they saw themselves rather as philosophes, intellectuals leading the salons through the ideas of the Enlightenment.11 This represented a different kind of wealth, one related to the sharing and discussion of knowledge. On the one hand, people with power and the means to show it were interested in aesthetic extravagances to pair up with their lifestyle. On the other hand, people of noble blood, while not nearly as rich, were nevertheless striving to conserve the classical traditions of antiquity and the grand siècle. In an essay on luxury based on Mme. Fontaine-Martel’s salon, the Marquis de Lassay writes that “it was better by far to be noble and needy than roturier [commoner] and rich.”12 In her chapter “Taste—Good and Bad,” Katie Scott describes this overwhelming dichotomy: By the 1730s and 1740s the elision of cultural and commercial modernity had become so common an ideological reflex that critics of the rococo or goût

26

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10 Dena Goodman, “Enlightenment Salons: The Convergence of Female and Philosophic Ambitions,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 22, no. 3: Special Issue: The French Revolution in Culture (Spring 1989): 331. 11 Ibid., 331-32. 12 As cited by: Katie Scott, The Rococo Interior: Decoration and Social Spaces in Early EighteenthCentury Paris (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 233.

13 Ibid,. 14 Anton, “Style and History,” 15 Johann J. Winckelmann, “On the Imitation of the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks,” in Writings on Art, ed. Johann J. Winckelmann and David G. Irwin London: Phaidon, 1972), 61. 16 Anton, “Style and History,” 79. 17 Denis Diderot, Diderot Encyclopedia: The Complete Illustrations, 1762-1777 (New York: Abrams, 1978). 18 Denis Diderot and Jean L. R. Alembert, Menuisier en Meubles (Paris: Briasson, 1765). 19 Chairs, benches, chairs/ seats, armchairs, wing chairs, sofa bed, duchesse-style sofa-bed, bed, and wardrobe (translation mine).

moderne could count on the connection automatically being made between new style and new wealth, a suggestion reinforced by the clustering of such value laden terms as ‘chaos’, ‘disorder’, ‘revolution’ and ‘licence’ [sic] in their descriptions of the style’s salient features.13 Denis Diderot, one of the most renowned critics of the salons, wrote of the difficulties that emerged with the popularity of the rococo style. He was concerned that this style would “corrupt the vigor of classical French history painting, and [called] for a return to the grand goût. This ongoing obsession with decline is also an important impetus to the emergence of neoclassicism.”14 The pride of the French was incomparable at this time and it grew stronger with the ideas of the Enlightenment. The individual could be seen as an intellectual, as a connoisseur, as an epicurean, and/or as a tastemaker. A concern arose for educating the French toward an inimitable style, one that would put them above all other nations in Europe. For Johann Winckelmann—noted German historian of the Enlightenment—this style was that of the Hellenic age of Greece, for he said: “There is but one way for the moderns to become great, and perhaps unequalled; I mean by imitating the ancients.” 15 The philosopher Denis Diderot was one of Winckelmann’s most zealous readers.16 Together with Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, they put the French at the center of Europe by editing the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers. This encyclopedia included numerous collaborations from architects and philosophers among others, setting the right tone for envisioning modern Paris. The Encyclopédie provided information that ranged from agricultural and rural economy, surgery, military arts and natural history, to artificial flower making, cabinetry and other crafts.17 In other words, a compendium of overall knowledge of the world was now available and an answer to every question could be found by consulting this array of collaborative entries. The section in the Encyclopédie titled “Menuisier en Meubles”18—a carpentry manual—was used to aid woodworkers in building the basic yet most fashionable pieces of furniture that any complete home should have had at the time, such as sièges, banquettes, chaises, fauteuils, bergères, canapés, duchesses, lits de repos and armoires.19 It even includes a section on the calipers with which each piece of wood should be made according to its whole. These instructions served as guidelines for the construction of each individual piece as well as their overall assembly. This practical manual was among many in the vast Encyclopédie and is a great source not only to get an idea of the specific styles and forms of furniture at the time, but also to understand how manufacturers got access to assembly instructions for designs that were popular at the time.

Distinctions of Taste in 18th-Century France

27


Meanwhile, a new expression entered the Parisian vernacular around the year 1721. People spoke of the nouveaux riches and the millions they spent on their idea of good taste. These new millionaires had the freedom to be dictators of style, which meant that it was no longer up to the nobility to set the tone. People with the means could decorate, dress, and acquire artwork as they pleased.

8 Saul Anton, “Style and History in Diderot and Winckelmann,” in Style in Theory: Between Literature and Philosophy, ed. Ivan Callus, James Corby, and Gloria Lauri-Lucente (London; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 73. 9 Ibid., 74.

This movement became a distraction and therefore a conflict for philosophers and intellectuals who wanted to set France on the right track following the ideas of the Enlightenment. These ideas were mostly discussed at the salons, “an actual historical horizon for the Enlightenment, a public sphere that sought to extend the 17th century ‘Republic of Letters’ to society as a whole via the mechanism of aesthetic experience and taste.”8 One of the most notable of the salons was the Salon Carré at the Louvre, instituted by Jean-Baptiste Colbert in the mid-17th century, which was open to the public, for anyone to enjoy an array of artworks selected by the Académie.9 This was not an artistic/literary salon, however, where people were accustomed to gathering privately and discussing current political or philosophical issues. Rather than being set in a magnificent location such as the Louvre, the famed Parisian salons of the 17th century created a more amiable space that fostered the discussion of ideas disregarding social hierarchies. These salons were led by women, which resulted in a total shift from the previous academic salons. “Under the guidance of Mme. Geoffrin, Mlle. de Lespinasse, and Mme. Necker, the salon was transformed from a noble, leisure institution into an institution of Enlightenment. In the salons, nobles and non-nobles were brought together on a footing of equality.”10 One of the most influential female figures of the Enlightenment was the Marquise de Pompadour, Louis XV’s favorite. Although these women were commonly referred to as the précieuses— frequenters of the salons seeking entry into the nobility and the court— they saw themselves rather as philosophes, intellectuals leading the salons through the ideas of the Enlightenment.11 This represented a different kind of wealth, one related to the sharing and discussion of knowledge. On the one hand, people with power and the means to show it were interested in aesthetic extravagances to pair up with their lifestyle. On the other hand, people of noble blood, while not nearly as rich, were nevertheless striving to conserve the classical traditions of antiquity and the grand siècle. In an essay on luxury based on Mme. Fontaine-Martel’s salon, the Marquis de Lassay writes that “it was better by far to be noble and needy than roturier [commoner] and rich.”12 In her chapter “Taste—Good and Bad,” Katie Scott describes this overwhelming dichotomy: By the 1730s and 1740s the elision of cultural and commercial modernity had become so common an ideological reflex that critics of the rococo or goût

26

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volume 1

10 Dena Goodman, “Enlightenment Salons: The Convergence of Female and Philosophic Ambitions,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 22, no. 3: Special Issue: The French Revolution in Culture (Spring 1989): 331. 11 Ibid., 331-32. 12 As cited by: Katie Scott, The Rococo Interior: Decoration and Social Spaces in Early EighteenthCentury Paris (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 233.

13 Ibid,. 14 Anton, “Style and History,” 15 Johann J. Winckelmann, “On the Imitation of the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks,” in Writings on Art, ed. Johann J. Winckelmann and David G. Irwin London: Phaidon, 1972), 61. 16 Anton, “Style and History,” 79. 17 Denis Diderot, Diderot Encyclopedia: The Complete Illustrations, 1762-1777 (New York: Abrams, 1978). 18 Denis Diderot and Jean L. R. Alembert, Menuisier en Meubles (Paris: Briasson, 1765). 19 Chairs, benches, chairs/ seats, armchairs, wing chairs, sofa bed, duchesse-style sofa-bed, bed, and wardrobe (translation mine).

moderne could count on the connection automatically being made between new style and new wealth, a suggestion reinforced by the clustering of such value laden terms as ‘chaos’, ‘disorder’, ‘revolution’ and ‘licence’ [sic] in their descriptions of the style’s salient features.13 Denis Diderot, one of the most renowned critics of the salons, wrote of the difficulties that emerged with the popularity of the rococo style. He was concerned that this style would “corrupt the vigor of classical French history painting, and [called] for a return to the grand goût. This ongoing obsession with decline is also an important impetus to the emergence of neoclassicism.”14 The pride of the French was incomparable at this time and it grew stronger with the ideas of the Enlightenment. The individual could be seen as an intellectual, as a connoisseur, as an epicurean, and/or as a tastemaker. A concern arose for educating the French toward an inimitable style, one that would put them above all other nations in Europe. For Johann Winckelmann—noted German historian of the Enlightenment—this style was that of the Hellenic age of Greece, for he said: “There is but one way for the moderns to become great, and perhaps unequalled; I mean by imitating the ancients.” 15 The philosopher Denis Diderot was one of Winckelmann’s most zealous readers.16 Together with Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, they put the French at the center of Europe by editing the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers. This encyclopedia included numerous collaborations from architects and philosophers among others, setting the right tone for envisioning modern Paris. The Encyclopédie provided information that ranged from agricultural and rural economy, surgery, military arts and natural history, to artificial flower making, cabinetry and other crafts.17 In other words, a compendium of overall knowledge of the world was now available and an answer to every question could be found by consulting this array of collaborative entries. The section in the Encyclopédie titled “Menuisier en Meubles”18—a carpentry manual—was used to aid woodworkers in building the basic yet most fashionable pieces of furniture that any complete home should have had at the time, such as sièges, banquettes, chaises, fauteuils, bergères, canapés, duchesses, lits de repos and armoires.19 It even includes a section on the calipers with which each piece of wood should be made according to its whole. These instructions served as guidelines for the construction of each individual piece as well as their overall assembly. This practical manual was among many in the vast Encyclopédie and is a great source not only to get an idea of the specific styles and forms of furniture at the time, but also to understand how manufacturers got access to assembly instructions for designs that were popular at the time.

Distinctions of Taste in 18th-Century France

27


Exterior architecture, though less emphasized, was not completely overlooked compared to Andrea Palladio’s Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (16th century, Italy), accessible to various audiences including Thomas Jefferson in America. Architects such as Jacques-François Blondel and Pierre-Jean Mariette created books with guidelines for architecture that were available widely. Blondel, in particular, was a noted professor who strove to develop an architectural education with principles that would enable local and international students at the École des Arts to have a solid foundation on classicism while also being exposed to the modern examples of the day. Architectural historian Freek Schmidt notes: “Thanks to Blondel’s new educational program, these architects returned home in full control of the design process and with a profound knowledge and awareness of theory and history.”20 Blondel developed in his students a sense of individual appreciation and a sense of taste. He believed that a knowledgeable architect could “free architecture of the type of individual interests that only encouraged capricious behavior and reduced architecture t0 a fad vulnerable to the issues of the day.”21 Blondel recognized the importance of learning from what he would consider ugly or unpleasant in the same way that he would encourage his students to look at work that was more historically significant to him. Moreover, the periodical Mercure de France offered the most recent news on various subjects such as science, medicine, social events, and poetry for a more general audience.22 Amy Wygant, a scholar of seventeenthcentury French literature, states: “The Mercure stayed afloat by generating continuous encomia in exchange for royal patronage, and by inviting reader participation in the form of discussion fora on particular topics, causing it sometimes to be compared with an early form of discussion list or blog.”23 Its availability introducing the latest trends from all over France played an important role in the adaptation of style; from then on, the French had the freedom to adapt their own style by learning from this modern-style magazine.24 Once people had access to these publications regularly, the elevated taste once exclusive to the court at Versailles was readily available to the modern city dwellers. Since the Mercure’s coverage of the Petit Trianon in 1673—originally built as a modest house for members of the royal family to escape from the pomp and ostentation of Versailles— and with the new richly illustrated books, people talked and read about all the different styles—à la royale, à la mode, à la française.25 Even le goût Pompadour—meaning the influence of the Marquise de Pompadour on taste—had become a current and well-known language, almost a synonym for rococo. 26 Since he was one of the most influential architects of the time, Blondel’s opinion on the rococo mattered, and it was one of particular contempt.

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20 Freek H. Schmidt, “Expose Ignorance and Revive the ‘Bon Goût’: Foreign Architects at Jacques-François Blondel’s École des Arts,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 61, no. 1 (March 2002): 4. 21 Ibid., 14. 22 Mercure de France. October, 1736. Gallica. Accessed: 11/29/2013. 23 Amy Wygant, “Le Mercure Galant: Présentation de la Première Revue Féminine d’Information et de Culture, 1672–1710 (review),” French Studies: A Quarterly Review 63, no. 1 (January 2009): 86. 24 John L. Nevinson, Origin and Early History of the Fashion Plate [EBook #34472], 79. 25 DeJean, The Age of Comfort, 151. 26 Ibid., 163.

27 Schmidt, “Expose Ignorance,” 12. 28 Auslander, Taste and Power, 2.

Schmidt writes about the certain “climate” which had to do with the variety of choices available to the public and the newly emerging middle class’s constant desire for imitating a lifestyle of opulence: As a result of the frivolous architectural climate of the first half of the century and “the spirit of novelty that reigns among the public,” architecture was degraded . . . Without the presence of a chef suffisamment éclairé, an overseer capable of supervising an entire project, architectural works seemed to follow “the charms of fashion.” A lack of balance between interior and exterior ornament and architecture had reduced the importance of the architect, who was no longer the central figure in the building process. Variety spoke louder than principle.27 Auslander writes that it is not that people simply choose to find things beautiful or ugly but that they come to find certain aesthetic forms desirable for reasons that they are not necessarily aware of, “nor do they find their judgments changeable at will.”28 Within each time period and culture, while being ruled by a standard style that might be dictated by “political” or “civil” terms, as Auslanderd states, people may also find their own way of recognizing suggestions of taste and therefore develop a personalized appreciation for different styles. France has been, since the beginning of the eighteenth century, constantly reinventing itself; it has since been a culture that is, to this day, emulated worldwide because of its inimitable sophistication. We continue to see this persistent transformation further into the nineteenth century with Napoleon III, when Haussmannization (1853–70) brought Paris into an era of brand-new urban embellishment. But regardless of these restructurings, the French are known always to remain firm within their classical roots without shunning the avant-garde, and it is precisely this intertwining that makes it possible for such a vibrant culture to continue building up in this manner. Taste is undoubtedly a subjective matter; nevertheless it has always been paired with refinement and connoisseurship. The French are known always to have had a concern both for literacy and for lavish pleasures. This is why France is the perfect case study to get a sense of how and when we can make these distinctions of taste thereby illuminating the French heritage that is still very much alive today.

Natalia Torija-Nieto is a second-year History of Art and Design master’s student. Her area of study is interior architecture and design history since the beginning of the 20th century. Last summer, she completed an internship working on the Donald Judd Catalog Raisonné at the Judd Foundation in New York.

Distinctions of Taste in 18th-Century France

29


Exterior architecture, though less emphasized, was not completely overlooked compared to Andrea Palladio’s Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (16th century, Italy), accessible to various audiences including Thomas Jefferson in America. Architects such as Jacques-François Blondel and Pierre-Jean Mariette created books with guidelines for architecture that were available widely. Blondel, in particular, was a noted professor who strove to develop an architectural education with principles that would enable local and international students at the École des Arts to have a solid foundation on classicism while also being exposed to the modern examples of the day. Architectural historian Freek Schmidt notes: “Thanks to Blondel’s new educational program, these architects returned home in full control of the design process and with a profound knowledge and awareness of theory and history.”20 Blondel developed in his students a sense of individual appreciation and a sense of taste. He believed that a knowledgeable architect could “free architecture of the type of individual interests that only encouraged capricious behavior and reduced architecture t0 a fad vulnerable to the issues of the day.”21 Blondel recognized the importance of learning from what he would consider ugly or unpleasant in the same way that he would encourage his students to look at work that was more historically significant to him. Moreover, the periodical Mercure de France offered the most recent news on various subjects such as science, medicine, social events, and poetry for a more general audience.22 Amy Wygant, a scholar of seventeenthcentury French literature, states: “The Mercure stayed afloat by generating continuous encomia in exchange for royal patronage, and by inviting reader participation in the form of discussion fora on particular topics, causing it sometimes to be compared with an early form of discussion list or blog.”23 Its availability introducing the latest trends from all over France played an important role in the adaptation of style; from then on, the French had the freedom to adapt their own style by learning from this modern-style magazine.24 Once people had access to these publications regularly, the elevated taste once exclusive to the court at Versailles was readily available to the modern city dwellers. Since the Mercure’s coverage of the Petit Trianon in 1673—originally built as a modest house for members of the royal family to escape from the pomp and ostentation of Versailles— and with the new richly illustrated books, people talked and read about all the different styles—à la royale, à la mode, à la française.25 Even le goût Pompadour—meaning the influence of the Marquise de Pompadour on taste—had become a current and well-known language, almost a synonym for rococo. 26 Since he was one of the most influential architects of the time, Blondel’s opinion on the rococo mattered, and it was one of particular contempt.

28

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20 Freek H. Schmidt, “Expose Ignorance and Revive the ‘Bon Goût’: Foreign Architects at Jacques-François Blondel’s École des Arts,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 61, no. 1 (March 2002): 4. 21 Ibid., 14. 22 Mercure de France. October, 1736. Gallica. Accessed: 11/29/2013. 23 Amy Wygant, “Le Mercure Galant: Présentation de la Première Revue Féminine d’Information et de Culture, 1672–1710 (review),” French Studies: A Quarterly Review 63, no. 1 (January 2009): 86. 24 John L. Nevinson, Origin and Early History of the Fashion Plate [EBook #34472], 79. 25 DeJean, The Age of Comfort, 151. 26 Ibid., 163.

27 Schmidt, “Expose Ignorance,” 12. 28 Auslander, Taste and Power, 2.

Schmidt writes about the certain “climate” which had to do with the variety of choices available to the public and the newly emerging middle class’s constant desire for imitating a lifestyle of opulence: As a result of the frivolous architectural climate of the first half of the century and “the spirit of novelty that reigns among the public,” architecture was degraded . . . Without the presence of a chef suffisamment éclairé, an overseer capable of supervising an entire project, architectural works seemed to follow “the charms of fashion.” A lack of balance between interior and exterior ornament and architecture had reduced the importance of the architect, who was no longer the central figure in the building process. Variety spoke louder than principle.27 Auslander writes that it is not that people simply choose to find things beautiful or ugly but that they come to find certain aesthetic forms desirable for reasons that they are not necessarily aware of, “nor do they find their judgments changeable at will.”28 Within each time period and culture, while being ruled by a standard style that might be dictated by “political” or “civil” terms, as Auslanderd states, people may also find their own way of recognizing suggestions of taste and therefore develop a personalized appreciation for different styles. France has been, since the beginning of the eighteenth century, constantly reinventing itself; it has since been a culture that is, to this day, emulated worldwide because of its inimitable sophistication. We continue to see this persistent transformation further into the nineteenth century with Napoleon III, when Haussmannization (1853–70) brought Paris into an era of brand-new urban embellishment. But regardless of these restructurings, the French are known always to remain firm within their classical roots without shunning the avant-garde, and it is precisely this intertwining that makes it possible for such a vibrant culture to continue building up in this manner. Taste is undoubtedly a subjective matter; nevertheless it has always been paired with refinement and connoisseurship. The French are known always to have had a concern both for literacy and for lavish pleasures. This is why France is the perfect case study to get a sense of how and when we can make these distinctions of taste thereby illuminating the French heritage that is still very much alive today.

Natalia Torija-Nieto is a second-year History of Art and Design master’s student. Her area of study is interior architecture and design history since the beginning of the 20th century. Last summer, she completed an internship working on the Donald Judd Catalog Raisonné at the Judd Foundation in New York.

Distinctions of Taste in 18th-Century France

29


Beyond Transparency: A Discussion Around Glass in 19th-Century Paris

1 Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman, Architecture, from Prehistory to Postmodernity (New York: Abrams, 2002), 244. 2 Annette Fierro, The Glass State: The Technology of the Spectacle Paris 1981-1998 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003), 61.

LARA ALLEN

3 Trachtenberg and Hyman, Architecture, 228. 4 Fierro, The Glass State, 9. 5 Ibid., 9. 6 Sharon Marcus, Apartment

This paper explores Impressionist paintings by Mary Cassatt and Gustave Caillebotte against the backdrop of glass architecture in mid- to late- 19thcentury Paris. A parallel is established between public, masculine space and private, feminine space, which is then complicated by issues brought up by Edouard Vuillard’s painting, The Suitor. Through the exploration of public and private space, gender and modernization, glass shifts from a transparent building material to a starting point for a discussion on the complexities of life in Haussmann’s Paris. Incorporating glass into architecture was not a new practice in mid- to late 19th-century Paris nor was it the end of that practice. Glass had been a key element of Gothic architecture in the 12th century and starting in the 19th century it became ubiquitous in architecture. What is intriguing about the use of glass in 19th-century Paris is its shift in location and the role the transparent material played in the growing consumerist, modern society. In public buildings glass creates an expansive, inviting, transparent experience. However, reviewing paintings with glass window imagery from the same time period illustrates a contracted, internal, secluded experience. When compared to public glass architecture of the time, the contrast in how windows were portrayed in paintings such as Mary Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1878), Gustave Caillebotte’s Young Man at His Window (1875) and Interior, Woman at the Window (1880), and Edouard Vuillard’s The Suitor (also known as Interior with Work Table) (1893) is striking. The use of glass in public buildings and representations of domestic settings can be examined more fully beyond the physical transparent quality of glass to offer adeeper discussion concerning private space, gender, and modernizationin the 19th century.

30

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This paper was written for Picturing Paris, 1860-1900 (HA551), taught by Rael Lewis in fall 2013.

Glass has a long history in French architecture. The Gothic style is an early example of monumental glass architecture. In Gothic cathedrals, the structural walls were designed to open up broad areas that were filled with glass, and many cathedrals reached a height of over 100 feet.1 The upper band of glass in the cathedral served not only an aesthetic but also an ecclesiastical purpose. Annette Fierro points out that “by extracting the structure to the outside of the building and stretching and thinning all the enclosing interior surfaces, the church’s ceilings were to be perceived as a heavenly domain.”2 Contemplation, in these beautiful church settings, was thought to provide access to a higher power. Further, the scale of the building reinforced the power of the church.3 Therefore, in the setting of the Gothic cathedral the use of glass was like an axis mundi for its location near and association with the power of the heavens. Glass played a very different role for the French monarchy. Until the seventeenth century, France imported much of its glass from Italy, but it was French glassmakers who perfected the technology to produce the glass sheets that would come to be known as plate glass.4 In the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, the use of plate glass was twofold. First, it celebrated the material. Second, the glass underscored the lavishness of Versailles and the power of the monarchy. This was encouraged through a room’s interior motif of mirror and glass doors that repeats along the length of the room. The interplay between the glass doors and opposing mirrors fills the room with light, creating a spectacular environment. In addition, the glass doors offer a view over the majestic gardens. The opulence of the room and the dominant viewpoint over the gardens symbolically reinforced the power of the monarchy. In this setting, glass becomes an emblem of the monarchy and is associated with political power. In the 19th century, glass as a building material was not restricted to the cathedral or palace, but was seen in new public spaces such as train stations, markets, department stores, and exhibition halls. One way of thinking about the change in location of glass architecture is that glass became democratized. It is notable that as glass was used in more secular and public buildings, the physical position of the glass changed from the highest regions of the building to the lowest. Glass was frequently located at eye level to encourage the general public to look inside the building. The Central Markets (Les Halles), the Palais des Machines from the 1889 World’s Fair, and the Louvre department store are all examples of buildings that incorporated glass into the eye-level section of the building. Fierro explains that glass buildings were “constructed to house displays of consumer goods, they were meant to dazzle and seduce an increasingly large and undifferentiated public.”5 In all of these examples, the transparent, eye-level glass serves as a catalyst to the burgeoning consumer culture. It invites the populace into the building in order to facilitate sales. Against the backdrop of transparent glass walls that invite and excite the general public, a narrow viewpoint might portray the 19th century

Beyond Transparency: A Discussion Around Glass in 19th-Century Paris

31


Beyond Transparency: A Discussion Around Glass in 19th-Century Paris

1 Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman, Architecture, from Prehistory to Postmodernity (New York: Abrams, 2002), 244. 2 Annette Fierro, The Glass State: The Technology of the Spectacle Paris 1981-1998 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003), 61.

LARA ALLEN

3 Trachtenberg and Hyman, Architecture, 228. 4 Fierro, The Glass State, 9. 5 Ibid., 9. 6 Sharon Marcus, Apartment

This paper explores Impressionist paintings by Mary Cassatt and Gustave Caillebotte against the backdrop of glass architecture in mid- to late- 19thcentury Paris. A parallel is established between public, masculine space and private, feminine space, which is then complicated by issues brought up by Edouard Vuillard’s painting, The Suitor. Through the exploration of public and private space, gender and modernization, glass shifts from a transparent building material to a starting point for a discussion on the complexities of life in Haussmann’s Paris. Incorporating glass into architecture was not a new practice in mid- to late 19th-century Paris nor was it the end of that practice. Glass had been a key element of Gothic architecture in the 12th century and starting in the 19th century it became ubiquitous in architecture. What is intriguing about the use of glass in 19th-century Paris is its shift in location and the role the transparent material played in the growing consumerist, modern society. In public buildings glass creates an expansive, inviting, transparent experience. However, reviewing paintings with glass window imagery from the same time period illustrates a contracted, internal, secluded experience. When compared to public glass architecture of the time, the contrast in how windows were portrayed in paintings such as Mary Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1878), Gustave Caillebotte’s Young Man at His Window (1875) and Interior, Woman at the Window (1880), and Edouard Vuillard’s The Suitor (also known as Interior with Work Table) (1893) is striking. The use of glass in public buildings and representations of domestic settings can be examined more fully beyond the physical transparent quality of glass to offer adeeper discussion concerning private space, gender, and modernizationin the 19th century.

30

belvedere

volume 1

This paper was written for Picturing Paris, 1860-1900 (HA551), taught by Rael Lewis in fall 2013.

Glass has a long history in French architecture. The Gothic style is an early example of monumental glass architecture. In Gothic cathedrals, the structural walls were designed to open up broad areas that were filled with glass, and many cathedrals reached a height of over 100 feet.1 The upper band of glass in the cathedral served not only an aesthetic but also an ecclesiastical purpose. Annette Fierro points out that “by extracting the structure to the outside of the building and stretching and thinning all the enclosing interior surfaces, the church’s ceilings were to be perceived as a heavenly domain.”2 Contemplation, in these beautiful church settings, was thought to provide access to a higher power. Further, the scale of the building reinforced the power of the church.3 Therefore, in the setting of the Gothic cathedral the use of glass was like an axis mundi for its location near and association with the power of the heavens. Glass played a very different role for the French monarchy. Until the seventeenth century, France imported much of its glass from Italy, but it was French glassmakers who perfected the technology to produce the glass sheets that would come to be known as plate glass.4 In the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, the use of plate glass was twofold. First, it celebrated the material. Second, the glass underscored the lavishness of Versailles and the power of the monarchy. This was encouraged through a room’s interior motif of mirror and glass doors that repeats along the length of the room. The interplay between the glass doors and opposing mirrors fills the room with light, creating a spectacular environment. In addition, the glass doors offer a view over the majestic gardens. The opulence of the room and the dominant viewpoint over the gardens symbolically reinforced the power of the monarchy. In this setting, glass becomes an emblem of the monarchy and is associated with political power. In the 19th century, glass as a building material was not restricted to the cathedral or palace, but was seen in new public spaces such as train stations, markets, department stores, and exhibition halls. One way of thinking about the change in location of glass architecture is that glass became democratized. It is notable that as glass was used in more secular and public buildings, the physical position of the glass changed from the highest regions of the building to the lowest. Glass was frequently located at eye level to encourage the general public to look inside the building. The Central Markets (Les Halles), the Palais des Machines from the 1889 World’s Fair, and the Louvre department store are all examples of buildings that incorporated glass into the eye-level section of the building. Fierro explains that glass buildings were “constructed to house displays of consumer goods, they were meant to dazzle and seduce an increasingly large and undifferentiated public.”5 In all of these examples, the transparent, eye-level glass serves as a catalyst to the burgeoning consumer culture. It invites the populace into the building in order to facilitate sales. Against the backdrop of transparent glass walls that invite and excite the general public, a narrow viewpoint might portray the 19th century

Beyond Transparency: A Discussion Around Glass in 19th-Century Paris

31


as a transparent, open culture. However, reviewing contemporaneous paintings such as Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Caillebotte’s Interior, Woman at the Window reveal a much different experience. In Apartment Stories, Sharon Marcus points out that as the public realm expanded, a simultaneous need for a private realm for seclusion developed.6 In opposition to the effect of glass in contemporary buildings, in the paintings by Cassatt and Caillebotte glass creates a strong sense of seclusion by the emphasis on its solidity. Another dimension to the private realm of architecture is that it cannot be separated from a discussion of gender. While many have debated the experience of women in the nineteenth century, it is agreed that women were associated with the home and more specifically as the nurturer of the home.7 A discussion of the domestic space goes hand in hand with a recognition of the gender divide evident in both of these paintings.

6 Sharon Marcus, Apartment Stories, Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 139. 7 Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art (London: Routledge, 1988), 95. 8 Ibid., 89, 92

9 Marcus, Apartment Stories, Stories, 146. 10 Norma Broude, “Outing Impressionism,” in Gustave Caillebotte and the Fashioning of Identity in Impressionist Paris, ed. Norma Broude (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 118.

ing the woman in the foreground. Perhaps this is an expression that the woman’s seclusion was not an isolated incident but part of the general experience of women at the time. Marcus offers a different perspective: she points out that windows were common settings for love affairs. The woman at the window may be communicating with a lover across the street. However, this was more common prior to Haussmann’s transformation of Paris when windows of neighboring buildings were in closer proximity to each other.9 In either case, if the woman is signaling to a lover or passively watching the activity outside, what is striking is that the glass holds none of the inviting feel seen in the market or department store. In other words, the glass does not have invitational properties in this situation but almost paradoxically, obscures the meaning of the painting.

In her assessment of Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, Griselda Pollock points to the low perspective in the painting as a sign that Cassatt is sympathetic with the child’s experience. The close cropping and compression of pictorial space serve as evidence of the girl’s confinement.8 A directed analysis of the windows compliments Pollock’s argument. In Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, the windows set the stage for an interior setting: the girl sits with her back to the windows, which are not transparent but covered in lace or muslin that diffuses the daylight. The shape of the lit area indicates that beneath the covering, the window extends from floor to ceiling like a French door. However, the glass door is blocked and covered so it is interpreted as an impermeable wall. Additionally, the furniture creates obstacles that block the girl from the windows. Unlike the contemporaneous use of glass in public architecture, there is no invitation in Cassatt’s painting, for either the girl or the viewer, to explore beyond the windows. In this instance, glass affirms Pollock’s interpretation of the girl’s confinement.

When Interior, Woman at the Window is compared to another Caillebotte painting, Young Man at His Window, there are some striking differences. In the latter, the glass doors are wide open and the young man stands in the doorway as if looking over his domain, not unlike King Louis XIV in the Hall of Mirrors. The young man’s posture gives the impression of virile energy. Additionally, the young man is reflected in the glass door, which doubles his presence and importance. This is intensified by his weight distribution; his weight is on his left foot and he is pushing off his right foot. Instead of the railing coming up to his shoulders as seen in Interior, Woman at the Window, the railing barely comes up to his waist as if it is a mere reminder not to step over the edge as he gazes intently at the street. The balusters support this reading because they are painted from a higher perspective, which gives the sense that the balcony is leaning in toward the young man. The bright hues in the carpet and the chair underscore the man’s energized posture. Norma Broude might argue that he is scanning the street for a homosexual rendezvous, but he also may just represent the bourgeois capitalist energy of the time.10 Either way, the window supports his energy and encourages him to enter into the city.

Caillebotte’s Interior, Woman at the Window can also be read as promoting the idea of seclusion. The titular woman gazes out a window; her posture has a passive, resigned quality. The railing on the other side of the glass is at an exaggerated height and extends almost to her shoulders, giving her a diminutive quality. The shape of the curtains and the solidity of the glass provide a sense of her being caged in. The man, presumably her husband, adds to this caged effect by being situated in close proximity to her. The tight frame with the two figures inspires a feeling of claustrophobia. Compared to Little Girl in a Blue Armchair where the windows can be seen as an impermeable wall, the glass window in Interior, Woman at the Window conveys the sense of solitary confinement.

Both Interior, Woman at the Window and Young Man at His Window have domestic settings, but these windowed spaces are pictured in line with traditional gender roles. In Young Man at His Window the public areaand outside access are emphasized. The window dressings are on the interior of the open glass doors and are hidden unlike in Interior, Woman at the Window where the window dressings set up the “feminine” interior. In Young Man at His Window the viewer is invited beyond, into the city, compared to the enclosed feeling of Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Interior, Woman at the Window. Aspects of Young Man at His Window align it with the 19th century public building and qualities of expansion and invitation.

As the primary character, the woman in Interior, Woman at the Window calls for a deeper analysis. Pollock would see her as watching the street passively and feeling secluded from the activity. Looking closely through the glass into the neighboring building, there is a hint of a figure mirror-

Whether it is the interior, private, feminine space or public, invitational, masculine space, in all three paintings the domestic window plays an important role. A conscious conspiracy of Impressionist artists to align women and domestic windows in a contracted manner is unlikely. What is

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Beyond Transparency: A Discussion Around Glass in 19th-Century Paris

33


as a transparent, open culture. However, reviewing contemporaneous paintings such as Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Caillebotte’s Interior, Woman at the Window reveal a much different experience. In Apartment Stories, Sharon Marcus points out that as the public realm expanded, a simultaneous need for a private realm for seclusion developed.6 In opposition to the effect of glass in contemporary buildings, in the paintings by Cassatt and Caillebotte glass creates a strong sense of seclusion by the emphasis on its solidity. Another dimension to the private realm of architecture is that it cannot be separated from a discussion of gender. While many have debated the experience of women in the nineteenth century, it is agreed that women were associated with the home and more specifically as the nurturer of the home.7 A discussion of the domestic space goes hand in hand with a recognition of the gender divide evident in both of these paintings.

6 Sharon Marcus, Apartment Stories, Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 139. 7 Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art (London: Routledge, 1988), 95. 8 Ibid., 89, 92

9 Marcus, Apartment Stories, Stories, 146. 10 Norma Broude, “Outing Impressionism,” in Gustave Caillebotte and the Fashioning of Identity in Impressionist Paris, ed. Norma Broude (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 118.

ing the woman in the foreground. Perhaps this is an expression that the woman’s seclusion was not an isolated incident but part of the general experience of women at the time. Marcus offers a different perspective: she points out that windows were common settings for love affairs. The woman at the window may be communicating with a lover across the street. However, this was more common prior to Haussmann’s transformation of Paris when windows of neighboring buildings were in closer proximity to each other.9 In either case, if the woman is signaling to a lover or passively watching the activity outside, what is striking is that the glass holds none of the inviting feel seen in the market or department store. In other words, the glass does not have invitational properties in this situation but almost paradoxically, obscures the meaning of the painting.

In her assessment of Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, Griselda Pollock points to the low perspective in the painting as a sign that Cassatt is sympathetic with the child’s experience. The close cropping and compression of pictorial space serve as evidence of the girl’s confinement.8 A directed analysis of the windows compliments Pollock’s argument. In Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, the windows set the stage for an interior setting: the girl sits with her back to the windows, which are not transparent but covered in lace or muslin that diffuses the daylight. The shape of the lit area indicates that beneath the covering, the window extends from floor to ceiling like a French door. However, the glass door is blocked and covered so it is interpreted as an impermeable wall. Additionally, the furniture creates obstacles that block the girl from the windows. Unlike the contemporaneous use of glass in public architecture, there is no invitation in Cassatt’s painting, for either the girl or the viewer, to explore beyond the windows. In this instance, glass affirms Pollock’s interpretation of the girl’s confinement.

When Interior, Woman at the Window is compared to another Caillebotte painting, Young Man at His Window, there are some striking differences. In the latter, the glass doors are wide open and the young man stands in the doorway as if looking over his domain, not unlike King Louis XIV in the Hall of Mirrors. The young man’s posture gives the impression of virile energy. Additionally, the young man is reflected in the glass door, which doubles his presence and importance. This is intensified by his weight distribution; his weight is on his left foot and he is pushing off his right foot. Instead of the railing coming up to his shoulders as seen in Interior, Woman at the Window, the railing barely comes up to his waist as if it is a mere reminder not to step over the edge as he gazes intently at the street. The balusters support this reading because they are painted from a higher perspective, which gives the sense that the balcony is leaning in toward the young man. The bright hues in the carpet and the chair underscore the man’s energized posture. Norma Broude might argue that he is scanning the street for a homosexual rendezvous, but he also may just represent the bourgeois capitalist energy of the time.10 Either way, the window supports his energy and encourages him to enter into the city.

Caillebotte’s Interior, Woman at the Window can also be read as promoting the idea of seclusion. The titular woman gazes out a window; her posture has a passive, resigned quality. The railing on the other side of the glass is at an exaggerated height and extends almost to her shoulders, giving her a diminutive quality. The shape of the curtains and the solidity of the glass provide a sense of her being caged in. The man, presumably her husband, adds to this caged effect by being situated in close proximity to her. The tight frame with the two figures inspires a feeling of claustrophobia. Compared to Little Girl in a Blue Armchair where the windows can be seen as an impermeable wall, the glass window in Interior, Woman at the Window conveys the sense of solitary confinement.

Both Interior, Woman at the Window and Young Man at His Window have domestic settings, but these windowed spaces are pictured in line with traditional gender roles. In Young Man at His Window the public areaand outside access are emphasized. The window dressings are on the interior of the open glass doors and are hidden unlike in Interior, Woman at the Window where the window dressings set up the “feminine” interior. In Young Man at His Window the viewer is invited beyond, into the city, compared to the enclosed feeling of Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Interior, Woman at the Window. Aspects of Young Man at His Window align it with the 19th century public building and qualities of expansion and invitation.

As the primary character, the woman in Interior, Woman at the Window calls for a deeper analysis. Pollock would see her as watching the street passively and feeling secluded from the activity. Looking closely through the glass into the neighboring building, there is a hint of a figure mirror-

Whether it is the interior, private, feminine space or public, invitational, masculine space, in all three paintings the domestic window plays an important role. A conscious conspiracy of Impressionist artists to align women and domestic windows in a contracted manner is unlikely. What is

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Beyond Transparency: A Discussion Around Glass in 19th-Century Paris

33


more likely is that there were forces at play central to life in Haussmann’s Paris. Marcus suggests these include the alienation of modernity, a concern with hygiene, and a shift in the training of architects. Reviewing these forces offers additional readings of late-19th-century paintings and reinforces the need for private space in the bourgeoning industrial, consumerist city.

11 Ibid., 139.

In Interior, Woman at the Window, the woman stands in front of glass doors that were common in Haussmann’s Paris; similar glass doors are visible in the neighboring building and in Young Man at His Window. The reference to Haussmann’s Paris is notable because the Haussmannization of Paris was an alienating experience for many residents. With the radical changes made to the urban fabric in a short time, it is understandable that a home’s interior became a focus of control and personalization. Marcus points out that the commercial spaces encouraged by Haussmann inspired a focus on the interior.11 Fierro offers a similar sentiment: “the gaze of the public became anonymous, passive and truly modern in its alienated disaffection.”12 With this in mind, Interior, Woman at the Window can also be read as a general testament to the alienation and disillusionment of modern life. The portrayal of the window underlines this sentiment. While the glass window is physically transparent, in the painting it acts as a barrier against the city outside. Perhaps the couple in the painting is shown indoors as a reaction to the shocking change to the city. The tight cropping that blocks the figures from being whole human beings supports this reading.

15 Marcus, Apartment Stories, 159.

Given that domestic windows are conduits between the interior and exterior of the home, they can be discussed in the context of hygiene in mid- to late-19th century Paris. Marcus points to an 1852 domestic manual to illustrate that the home was no longer seen as a place of enjoyment but a battle zone with dirt and disease. Women were the commanders protecting the family from dirt. The manual recommends that windows should be shuttered to keep out the sun and the concept of a “hermetically sealed lair of domesticity” was promoted.13 This is not entirely farcical. Illness was a terrible reality. For example, Caillebotte lost his father and brother within two years and was greatly afraid of his own death.14 In this light, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Interior, Young Woman at the Window could be seen as narratives on the isolation needed to protect oneself from disease or a quarantine to stop a disease from spreading. Marcus also points to the training of architects after the 1840s as a reason for the private, secluded space. She explains that architects were trained to treat domestic spaces as interiorized and as private as possible. A prescriptive manner was outlined in architectural education. Architects were trained to see the home as a sanctuary from the excitements of the city. For example, Marcus points out that trompe l’œil was no longer encouraged in the interior in case it excited the nerves.15 With this sense

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12 Fierro, The Glass State, 24. 13 Marcus, Apartment Stories, 150. 14 Broude, “Outing Impressionism,” 127.

16 Susan Sidlauskas, “Contesting Femininity: Vuillard’s Family Pictures,” The Art Bulletin 79, no. 1 (March 1997): 107.

of privacy in mind, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Interior, Young Woman at the Window could be seen in a different way. Due to the strong association of women with the home, the confining atmosphere for women is perhaps a general statement about the home as a safe haven from the city rather than only a statement about the confinement of women. Either way, there is a sense of a private, interiorized space in these paintings, underlined by how the windows are portrayed. Up to this point, I have outlined a clear dichotomy between public, masculine space that emphasizes transparency and openness and domestic, feminine space that emphasizes confinement and seclusion. I also offered several reasons for this clear differentiation associated with the nineteenth century. Reviewing Edouard Vuillard’s painting titled The Suitor confuses the clear dichotomy. It is well known that Vuillard’s mother ran a corset shop out of their home. Like the mixture of domestic and commercial space that such a shop would entail, Vuillard’s painting is a mixture of clear and opaque features. One possibility is that the two women are working and the man visible in the background is a voyeur. An alternative narrative isthat the man represents frivolous leisure in contrast to the industrious women. Susan Sidlauskas reveals that the woman standing erect is Vuillard’s sister and the man is her future husband.16 Similar to Young Man at His Window, the window is wide open but unlike the other painting, Vuillard’s woman is not in a position of empowerment. The waist of the woman at the window makes a right angle. Perhaps she is doubled over to convey the hard physical labor of preparing large swathes of fabric for sewing. Wet cloth is heavy and it would take skill to hang it out the window without dropping it or falling out of the window herself. But a more nuanced look at the painting reveals a more complex scene. There are several elements beyond the narrative that encourage a deeper reading. Calling upon Pollock’s analysis of pictorial space, it is notable that there are at least two different perspectives in this painting. The chair and table in the foreground are on a different plane from the remainder of the painting creating a sense of confusion. The patterning also has a blending effect that makes the forms harder to distinguish from each other. For instance, the open door shades the wallpaper, which blends in with the dress of the woman at the table. Additionally, the sky outside is portrayed as a pattern of white dots and obscures whatever is outside the window. Unlike Young Man at His Window where the view is a main focus of the painting, the view is not expansive or inviting. The window in Vuillard’s painting prompts a discussion about the same historical forces mentioned above. In response to the alienation of modernity, Vuillard’s specific style of patterning can be seen as a device used to personalize and internalize an interior space. Instead of painting a purely representational image, Vuillard’s painting becomes an exploration of personal experience perhaps in response to the alienation of the modernization of Paris. In relation to hygiene, the window is wide open but it is

Beyond Transparency: A Discussion Around Glass in 19th-Century Paris

35


more likely is that there were forces at play central to life in Haussmann’s Paris. Marcus suggests these include the alienation of modernity, a concern with hygiene, and a shift in the training of architects. Reviewing these forces offers additional readings of late-19th-century paintings and reinforces the need for private space in the bourgeoning industrial, consumerist city.

11 Ibid., 139.

In Interior, Woman at the Window, the woman stands in front of glass doors that were common in Haussmann’s Paris; similar glass doors are visible in the neighboring building and in Young Man at His Window. The reference to Haussmann’s Paris is notable because the Haussmannization of Paris was an alienating experience for many residents. With the radical changes made to the urban fabric in a short time, it is understandable that a home’s interior became a focus of control and personalization. Marcus points out that the commercial spaces encouraged by Haussmann inspired a focus on the interior.11 Fierro offers a similar sentiment: “the gaze of the public became anonymous, passive and truly modern in its alienated disaffection.”12 With this in mind, Interior, Woman at the Window can also be read as a general testament to the alienation and disillusionment of modern life. The portrayal of the window underlines this sentiment. While the glass window is physically transparent, in the painting it acts as a barrier against the city outside. Perhaps the couple in the painting is shown indoors as a reaction to the shocking change to the city. The tight cropping that blocks the figures from being whole human beings supports this reading.

15 Marcus, Apartment Stories, 159.

Given that domestic windows are conduits between the interior and exterior of the home, they can be discussed in the context of hygiene in mid- to late-19th century Paris. Marcus points to an 1852 domestic manual to illustrate that the home was no longer seen as a place of enjoyment but a battle zone with dirt and disease. Women were the commanders protecting the family from dirt. The manual recommends that windows should be shuttered to keep out the sun and the concept of a “hermetically sealed lair of domesticity” was promoted.13 This is not entirely farcical. Illness was a terrible reality. For example, Caillebotte lost his father and brother within two years and was greatly afraid of his own death.14 In this light, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Interior, Young Woman at the Window could be seen as narratives on the isolation needed to protect oneself from disease or a quarantine to stop a disease from spreading. Marcus also points to the training of architects after the 1840s as a reason for the private, secluded space. She explains that architects were trained to treat domestic spaces as interiorized and as private as possible. A prescriptive manner was outlined in architectural education. Architects were trained to see the home as a sanctuary from the excitements of the city. For example, Marcus points out that trompe l’œil was no longer encouraged in the interior in case it excited the nerves.15 With this sense

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12 Fierro, The Glass State, 24. 13 Marcus, Apartment Stories, 150. 14 Broude, “Outing Impressionism,” 127.

16 Susan Sidlauskas, “Contesting Femininity: Vuillard’s Family Pictures,” The Art Bulletin 79, no. 1 (March 1997): 107.

of privacy in mind, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Interior, Young Woman at the Window could be seen in a different way. Due to the strong association of women with the home, the confining atmosphere for women is perhaps a general statement about the home as a safe haven from the city rather than only a statement about the confinement of women. Either way, there is a sense of a private, interiorized space in these paintings, underlined by how the windows are portrayed. Up to this point, I have outlined a clear dichotomy between public, masculine space that emphasizes transparency and openness and domestic, feminine space that emphasizes confinement and seclusion. I also offered several reasons for this clear differentiation associated with the nineteenth century. Reviewing Edouard Vuillard’s painting titled The Suitor confuses the clear dichotomy. It is well known that Vuillard’s mother ran a corset shop out of their home. Like the mixture of domestic and commercial space that such a shop would entail, Vuillard’s painting is a mixture of clear and opaque features. One possibility is that the two women are working and the man visible in the background is a voyeur. An alternative narrative isthat the man represents frivolous leisure in contrast to the industrious women. Susan Sidlauskas reveals that the woman standing erect is Vuillard’s sister and the man is her future husband.16 Similar to Young Man at His Window, the window is wide open but unlike the other painting, Vuillard’s woman is not in a position of empowerment. The waist of the woman at the window makes a right angle. Perhaps she is doubled over to convey the hard physical labor of preparing large swathes of fabric for sewing. Wet cloth is heavy and it would take skill to hang it out the window without dropping it or falling out of the window herself. But a more nuanced look at the painting reveals a more complex scene. There are several elements beyond the narrative that encourage a deeper reading. Calling upon Pollock’s analysis of pictorial space, it is notable that there are at least two different perspectives in this painting. The chair and table in the foreground are on a different plane from the remainder of the painting creating a sense of confusion. The patterning also has a blending effect that makes the forms harder to distinguish from each other. For instance, the open door shades the wallpaper, which blends in with the dress of the woman at the table. Additionally, the sky outside is portrayed as a pattern of white dots and obscures whatever is outside the window. Unlike Young Man at His Window where the view is a main focus of the painting, the view is not expansive or inviting. The window in Vuillard’s painting prompts a discussion about the same historical forces mentioned above. In response to the alienation of modernity, Vuillard’s specific style of patterning can be seen as a device used to personalize and internalize an interior space. Instead of painting a purely representational image, Vuillard’s painting becomes an exploration of personal experience perhaps in response to the alienation of the modernization of Paris. In relation to hygiene, the window is wide open but it is

Beyond Transparency: A Discussion Around Glass in 19th-Century Paris

35


not open frivolously; it is open with a utilitarian purpose. Presumably the woman at the window is a paid assistant. It is she who exposes herself to outdoors, not Vuillard’s sister, the daughter of the proprietor.

Vitruvius and Palladio: Classical Beginnings

The paintings Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, Young Man at His Window and Interior, Woman at the Window support the simplified binary between public, masculine, open space and private, feminine, contracted space in the 19th century. The Suitor is one painting that complicates this relationship. The painting offers a complexity that can be seen by focusing on the pictorial aspects of the painting and several historical forces. Each of these paintings offers a unique view into the 19thcentury experience, which I have centered on the use of the window. When compared to public glass architecture of the time, the contrast in how windows were portrayed in paintings is striking. Overall, by setting up a clear dichotomy and then complicating it, the use of glass in public build ings and representations of domestic settings can be seen beyond the physical transparent quality of glass and offers a deeper discussion of modern life in the 19th century.

NATALIE DRAEGER

This paper is an excerpt from Natalie’s graduate thesis, “Early Italian Opera Houses: Acoustics, Architecture, and Design,” advised by Diana Gisolfi in spring 2014.

1 Vitruvius, On Architecture, trans. Richard V. Schofield (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 130.

Lara Allen completed her M.S. in History of Art and Design at Pratt in 2014. She is the author of “Returning to Manitoga,” a blog that explores the home interiors of 20th industrial designer Russel Wright. Prior to her studies at Pratt, she received a B.A. from Scripps College and an M.A.L.S. from Hollins University.

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The first chapter of the thesis, which surveys opera house design during the 17th century, focuses on the early precursors of opera houses, primarily the designs of Vitruvius and Palladio. These two architects discuss the importance of both the materials used and the form of the ground plan when building theaters because of their significant impact on acoustics. Their observations on the acoustic benefits of various materials and theselected form, the semicircle, serve as the foundation of theater design for centuries to follow. The term “opera” as we understand it today had its beginnings around the year 1600 and became the leading musical genre of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The lavishly decorated and specialized buildings created for the performance of this musical genre evolved from humble beginnings: classical Greco-Roman amphitheaters. Even in the earliest periods, acoustics were taken into consideration for theater construction. According to Vitruvius, architects of classical theaters made attempts to control acoustics through architecture. In his volume, De Architectura (V), he claimed that, according to the laws of harmony, sound could be amplified and resonated in a theater by building bronze vases behind the seating. In actuality, this method would not have been highly effective, but it provides us an example of early attempts at acoustic control in theater design. Furthermore, he recommended “an area where the voice is not impeded by reverberation.”1 This is a key attribute for which current theaters still strive. Although reverberation is desirable to a small extent within a theater, the importance of this statement demonstrates that even in this period the disadvantages of reverberation were taken into consideration and architecture was shaped by these considerations.

37


not open frivolously; it is open with a utilitarian purpose. Presumably the woman at the window is a paid assistant. It is she who exposes herself to outdoors, not Vuillard’s sister, the daughter of the proprietor.

Vitruvius and Palladio: Classical Beginnings

The paintings Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, Young Man at His Window and Interior, Woman at the Window support the simplified binary between public, masculine, open space and private, feminine, contracted space in the 19th century. The Suitor is one painting that complicates this relationship. The painting offers a complexity that can be seen by focusing on the pictorial aspects of the painting and several historical forces. Each of these paintings offers a unique view into the 19thcentury experience, which I have centered on the use of the window. When compared to public glass architecture of the time, the contrast in how windows were portrayed in paintings is striking. Overall, by setting up a clear dichotomy and then complicating it, the use of glass in public build ings and representations of domestic settings can be seen beyond the physical transparent quality of glass and offers a deeper discussion of modern life in the 19th century.

NATALIE DRAEGER

This paper is an excerpt from Natalie’s graduate thesis, “Early Italian Opera Houses: Acoustics, Architecture, and Design,” advised by Diana Gisolfi in spring 2014.

1 Vitruvius, On Architecture, trans. Richard V. Schofield (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 130.

Lara Allen completed her M.S. in History of Art and Design at Pratt in 2014. She is the author of “Returning to Manitoga,” a blog that explores the home interiors of 20th industrial designer Russel Wright. Prior to her studies at Pratt, she received a B.A. from Scripps College and an M.A.L.S. from Hollins University.

36

belvedere

volume 1

The first chapter of the thesis, which surveys opera house design during the 17th century, focuses on the early precursors of opera houses, primarily the designs of Vitruvius and Palladio. These two architects discuss the importance of both the materials used and the form of the ground plan when building theaters because of their significant impact on acoustics. Their observations on the acoustic benefits of various materials and theselected form, the semicircle, serve as the foundation of theater design for centuries to follow. The term “opera” as we understand it today had its beginnings around the year 1600 and became the leading musical genre of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The lavishly decorated and specialized buildings created for the performance of this musical genre evolved from humble beginnings: classical Greco-Roman amphitheaters. Even in the earliest periods, acoustics were taken into consideration for theater construction. According to Vitruvius, architects of classical theaters made attempts to control acoustics through architecture. In his volume, De Architectura (V), he claimed that, according to the laws of harmony, sound could be amplified and resonated in a theater by building bronze vases behind the seating. In actuality, this method would not have been highly effective, but it provides us an example of early attempts at acoustic control in theater design. Furthermore, he recommended “an area where the voice is not impeded by reverberation.”1 This is a key attribute for which current theaters still strive. Although reverberation is desirable to a small extent within a theater, the importance of this statement demonstrates that even in this period the disadvantages of reverberation were taken into consideration and architecture was shaped by these considerations.

37


Vitruvius mistakenly believed that sound “moves itself in an infinity of concentric circles” and “not only expands outward horizontally but also rises in regular stages” unless obstructed.2 While today we know that sound waves actually travel in a sine wave, his basic assumptions remain correct: sound will travel outward from the source continuously unless obstructed by a surface (such as a wall), where it will then reverberate or bounce off in another direction, possibly impeding the audibility of the following sound waves. It was due to this theory that the sound of the voice rises in concentric circles that Vitruvius reasoned for stepped seating in theaters.3 He believed that through installation of stepped seating in a circular theater, the sound waves would reach spectators clearly and without hitting distracting obstructions. Vitruvius’s acoustic theories go further to include not only the structure of a theater, but the materials as well. He states: All public theatres made of wood include a number of timber partitions which necessarily resonate . . . but when theatres are built of hard materials such as masonry, stone or marble, which cannot resonate, then these rules must be put into practice using resonating vases.4 Arguing a convincing case, Vitruvius differentiates between the acoustic qualities of soft materials such as wood, and hard materials such as stone or brick. While he is correct that these materials have different acoustic qualities, he also claims that wood resonates, when in fact it has the opposite effect: absorption. It is likely, through trial and error, that he noticed the positive effect wood partitions in stone theaters had (creating a balance between absorption and reverberation) while incorrectly deducing the cause. The end result of Vitruvius’s observations is his version of the ideal theater, which was commonly built in the period: semicircular in shape, with stepped seating, made of stone and wooden materials. His descriptions were extremely precise, using geometrical shapes that corresponded with the contemporary idea of “laws of harmony,” ensuring both a good view and audibility for all spectators. Following Vitruvius’s classical example was the architect Andrea Palladio. Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, designed and begun in the year of his death, 1580, and completed in 1585 under the direction of Vicenzo Scamozzi, was based on the ruins of Roman theaters, which he had studied closely. The intended purpose of the theater had been for the staging of classic comedies. Palladio had illustrated Danielo Barbaro’s 1556 version of Vitruvius’s On Architecture and synthesized his understanding of these classical examples with new ideas of his own. According to Davide Bonsi, a scholar of Venetian architecture and acoustics, “[Teatro Olimpico] represents a critical step forward in the evolution of classical theatre space,

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2 Ibid., 131. 3 Varied terminology is used to describe this type of seating, including raked, stacked, tiered, and stepped. I will be using the term “stepped” throughout this study to describe seating that appears similar to stairs, rising in levels. 4 Vitruvius, On Architecture, 136-37. 5 Davide Bonsi, “The Acoustic Analysis of Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza,” in The Music Room in Early Modern France and Italy: Sound, Space, and Object, ed. Deborah Howard and Laura Moretti (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 278.

6 Michael Forsyth, Buildings for Music: The Architect, the Musician, and the Listener from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985), 77.

from both the architectural and acoustical point of view.”5 What is exceptionally different about Teatro Olimpico is its placement inside a preexisting building. Traditionally, classical theaters were open-air structures, making Teatro Olimpico’s placement developmentally important.

7 There is controversy over the accuracy of execution of these perspective scenes, inclu ding Palladio’s possible misinterpretation of Vitruvius’s original description of such scenery, and after Palladio’s death, Scamozzi’s alterations to his design.

Palladio’s task was to design a permanent theater inside an old fortress, the Castello del Territorio. He adopted the semicircular Roman amphitheater plan but varied it slightly: the shape of the auditorium is not a perfect semicircle, but a flattened version. Among various explanations for this shape, the most plausible is that it was due to space limitations. As Michael Forsyth notes, “In order to fit a stage and seating area into the wide, shallow space, it was necessary for Palladio to flatten the semicircular seating area of the Roman theater into an ellipse.”6

8 George Saunders, A Treatise on Theatres (London: I & J Taylor, 1790), 60. 9 Lionello Puppi, Andrea Palladio: The Complete Works (New York: Electa/Rizzoli, 1989), 282.

Palladio retains the traditional format with stepped rows of wooden seats surrounding the arena, capable of seating roughly 500 people. A colonnade crowns the seats, with various niches holding statues of academy members, represented as Romans, and reliefs of the adventures of Hercules. The theater was the first of its kind to have a permanent set; perspective views composed of carved wooden panels on a plaster wall, with gypsum statues and bas-reliefs.7 Above this, the original ceiling has been described as appearing alla ducale, or in the coffered style of the doge’s palace in Venice. This description remains problematic, due to the various types of ceilings present in the Palazzo Ducale, including coffered portions with inset canvases of oil paintings or frescoed stucco. It is probable that in the Teatro Olimpico the material used was actually stucco, as discussed briefly in the scholarship of Lionello Puppi. He mentions an engraving by Bruti Ottavio Revese that survives from 1620, depicting the interior covering. Revese’s engraving shows a coffered ceiling above the stage and suggests an awning over the auditorium. It is possible that before Palladio died, he did not specify a plan for the interior covering, leaving his original intentions unknown. The covering was restored in 1648, 1677, and 1734, fluctuating between coffered and smooth textures. The remaining ceiling decorations are part of a reconstruction from 1914 and consist of a flat wooden surface, painted to resemble the sky above the audience and a coffered portion above the stage. This is in agreement with Vicenzo Scamozzi’s design, depicted in the engraving from 1620. A description of the ceiling of the theater is recorded in George Saunders’s Treatise on Theatres (1790): “the whole is covered with a ceiling framed of wood.”8 This does not tell us very much, though it is likely that the coffered portion above the stage remained present, as it is in the reconstruction today. The reason for the dual ceiling designs is unknown, although apossible explanation exists, suggesting the purpose was not acoustic. Puppi describes a “separation between the area of the spectacle and the area of the spectators—a separation that

Vitrivius and Palladio: Classical Beginnings

39


Vitruvius mistakenly believed that sound “moves itself in an infinity of concentric circles” and “not only expands outward horizontally but also rises in regular stages” unless obstructed.2 While today we know that sound waves actually travel in a sine wave, his basic assumptions remain correct: sound will travel outward from the source continuously unless obstructed by a surface (such as a wall), where it will then reverberate or bounce off in another direction, possibly impeding the audibility of the following sound waves. It was due to this theory that the sound of the voice rises in concentric circles that Vitruvius reasoned for stepped seating in theaters.3 He believed that through installation of stepped seating in a circular theater, the sound waves would reach spectators clearly and without hitting distracting obstructions. Vitruvius’s acoustic theories go further to include not only the structure of a theater, but the materials as well. He states: All public theatres made of wood include a number of timber partitions which necessarily resonate . . . but when theatres are built of hard materials such as masonry, stone or marble, which cannot resonate, then these rules must be put into practice using resonating vases.4 Arguing a convincing case, Vitruvius differentiates between the acoustic qualities of soft materials such as wood, and hard materials such as stone or brick. While he is correct that these materials have different acoustic qualities, he also claims that wood resonates, when in fact it has the opposite effect: absorption. It is likely, through trial and error, that he noticed the positive effect wood partitions in stone theaters had (creating a balance between absorption and reverberation) while incorrectly deducing the cause. The end result of Vitruvius’s observations is his version of the ideal theater, which was commonly built in the period: semicircular in shape, with stepped seating, made of stone and wooden materials. His descriptions were extremely precise, using geometrical shapes that corresponded with the contemporary idea of “laws of harmony,” ensuring both a good view and audibility for all spectators. Following Vitruvius’s classical example was the architect Andrea Palladio. Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, designed and begun in the year of his death, 1580, and completed in 1585 under the direction of Vicenzo Scamozzi, was based on the ruins of Roman theaters, which he had studied closely. The intended purpose of the theater had been for the staging of classic comedies. Palladio had illustrated Danielo Barbaro’s 1556 version of Vitruvius’s On Architecture and synthesized his understanding of these classical examples with new ideas of his own. According to Davide Bonsi, a scholar of Venetian architecture and acoustics, “[Teatro Olimpico] represents a critical step forward in the evolution of classical theatre space,

38

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2 Ibid., 131. 3 Varied terminology is used to describe this type of seating, including raked, stacked, tiered, and stepped. I will be using the term “stepped” throughout this study to describe seating that appears similar to stairs, rising in levels. 4 Vitruvius, On Architecture, 136-37. 5 Davide Bonsi, “The Acoustic Analysis of Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza,” in The Music Room in Early Modern France and Italy: Sound, Space, and Object, ed. Deborah Howard and Laura Moretti (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 278.

6 Michael Forsyth, Buildings for Music: The Architect, the Musician, and the Listener from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985), 77.

from both the architectural and acoustical point of view.”5 What is exceptionally different about Teatro Olimpico is its placement inside a preexisting building. Traditionally, classical theaters were open-air structures, making Teatro Olimpico’s placement developmentally important.

7 There is controversy over the accuracy of execution of these perspective scenes, inclu ding Palladio’s possible misinterpretation of Vitruvius’s original description of such scenery, and after Palladio’s death, Scamozzi’s alterations to his design.

Palladio’s task was to design a permanent theater inside an old fortress, the Castello del Territorio. He adopted the semicircular Roman amphitheater plan but varied it slightly: the shape of the auditorium is not a perfect semicircle, but a flattened version. Among various explanations for this shape, the most plausible is that it was due to space limitations. As Michael Forsyth notes, “In order to fit a stage and seating area into the wide, shallow space, it was necessary for Palladio to flatten the semicircular seating area of the Roman theater into an ellipse.”6

8 George Saunders, A Treatise on Theatres (London: I & J Taylor, 1790), 60. 9 Lionello Puppi, Andrea Palladio: The Complete Works (New York: Electa/Rizzoli, 1989), 282.

Palladio retains the traditional format with stepped rows of wooden seats surrounding the arena, capable of seating roughly 500 people. A colonnade crowns the seats, with various niches holding statues of academy members, represented as Romans, and reliefs of the adventures of Hercules. The theater was the first of its kind to have a permanent set; perspective views composed of carved wooden panels on a plaster wall, with gypsum statues and bas-reliefs.7 Above this, the original ceiling has been described as appearing alla ducale, or in the coffered style of the doge’s palace in Venice. This description remains problematic, due to the various types of ceilings present in the Palazzo Ducale, including coffered portions with inset canvases of oil paintings or frescoed stucco. It is probable that in the Teatro Olimpico the material used was actually stucco, as discussed briefly in the scholarship of Lionello Puppi. He mentions an engraving by Bruti Ottavio Revese that survives from 1620, depicting the interior covering. Revese’s engraving shows a coffered ceiling above the stage and suggests an awning over the auditorium. It is possible that before Palladio died, he did not specify a plan for the interior covering, leaving his original intentions unknown. The covering was restored in 1648, 1677, and 1734, fluctuating between coffered and smooth textures. The remaining ceiling decorations are part of a reconstruction from 1914 and consist of a flat wooden surface, painted to resemble the sky above the audience and a coffered portion above the stage. This is in agreement with Vicenzo Scamozzi’s design, depicted in the engraving from 1620. A description of the ceiling of the theater is recorded in George Saunders’s Treatise on Theatres (1790): “the whole is covered with a ceiling framed of wood.”8 This does not tell us very much, though it is likely that the coffered portion above the stage remained present, as it is in the reconstruction today. The reason for the dual ceiling designs is unknown, although apossible explanation exists, suggesting the purpose was not acoustic. Puppi describes a “separation between the area of the spectacle and the area of the spectators—a separation that

Vitrivius and Palladio: Classical Beginnings

39


was essential to contemporary theatrical practice.”9 This might explain the distinctly different ceilings above the stage and the audience.

Hermann Obrist: Prophet of Abstraction

10 Bonsi, “Acoustic Analysis,” 288.

The Teatro Olimpico’s combination of smooth and coffered ceilings, irreg ular wall surfaces, and wooden materials in the interior would have created reasonably good acoustics in the auditorium during a perfomance. The quality of acoustics in a room is also determined by the number of reverberations occurring, which affect clarity of sound. The more reverberations there are, the less clearly sound waves are perceived. Because the theater is in a closed room instead of being an outdoor space, there are more possible reverberations, which would logically decrease the clarity of sound. However, the décor of the auditorium interacts with the sound waves, with the soft wooden materials absorbing excess reverberations, actually creating a clearer and altogether more pleasing sound than expected. According to Bonsi, “Teatro Olimpico turns out to be more suitable for musical performance than speech.”10 This is because it has a low number of reverberations from the lateral direction, or the sides of the auditorium. This is a direct result of the architectural design; due to the flattened ellipsoidal shape, the longer distance between the sides of the auditorium effectively decreases the amount of lateral reverberation. Sound waves from the stage would die out before reaching the distance between the walls, thus lessening reflections. Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico was not only groundbreaking in its development from open-air to closed theater, but its design was only the starting point of what was to develop in theater auditoriums in the seventeenth century. The two most commonly constructed opera house designs in the world, the U-shaped auditorium and the horseshoeshaped auditorium, were derived from the innovative auditorium design in Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico.

Natalie Draeger graduated from Pratt in May 2014 with an M.S. in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art, Architecture, and Design and a certificate in Museum Studies. She is fascinated by the history of theaters, an interest that was sparked by her undergraduate studies in music and her travels to Italy with the Pratt in Venice Program in Summer 2013.

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WALTER SCHLECT

This paper was written for The Beginnings of Abstract Art (HA634), taught by Marsha Morton in spring 2014.

Though nearly forgotten today, Hermann Obrist has an extraordinary body of artwork that uses abstraction before its more famous manifestations in the work of 20th-century artists such as Kandinsky. Obrist immersed himself in theories from the natural sciences and vitalist philosophy that led him to working with energetic, abstract forms in his drawings, sculptures, and textiles. This is particularly evident in his essays on the state of German art and design at the end of the 19th century, in which he criticizes Germany’s pedestrian art tastes and advocates for a more organic and expressive design.

1 Hermann Obrist. Neue Möglichkeiten in der Bildenden Kunst (Leipzig: E. Diederich’s, 1903), 136.

The German Jugendstil artist Hermann Obrist (1862-1927) is vaguely remembered in the history of art as a “prophet of abstraction” due to the pioneering expressive forms that he experimented with in his textiles. Obrist intended his works to be more than just mere decoration; for him they were expressive of inner, mystical experience, similar to the paintings of later, canonized abstract artists such as Kandinsky. Obrist made his pioneering breakthrough into abstraction by applying theories and new discoveries from the natural sciences to lend vitality to his art.

2 Ibid., 134.

In 1904, a handful of essays that Obrist wrote on issues in art and design in Germany appeared in the collection Neue Möglichkeiten in der Bildenden Kunst. In these essays, Obrist writes chiefly about the need to educate artists on how to infuse their work with new form rather than recycle the same tired styles of the past and to educate the public on how to appreciate these new forms. Obrist feels exasperated by the lack of taste that Germans exhibit in all things artistic,1 despite their unmatched achievements in music and the sciences.2 To visualize this disconnect in Germany, Obrist describes a German steamship, which he considers a modern marvel and pride of Germany. In discussing its form, he raves that “everything breathes usefulness. The authenticity of the materials, the

41


was essential to contemporary theatrical practice.”9 This might explain the distinctly different ceilings above the stage and the audience.

Hermann Obrist: Prophet of Abstraction

10 Bonsi, “Acoustic Analysis,” 288.

The Teatro Olimpico’s combination of smooth and coffered ceilings, irreg ular wall surfaces, and wooden materials in the interior would have created reasonably good acoustics in the auditorium during a perfomance. The quality of acoustics in a room is also determined by the number of reverberations occurring, which affect clarity of sound. The more reverberations there are, the less clearly sound waves are perceived. Because the theater is in a closed room instead of being an outdoor space, there are more possible reverberations, which would logically decrease the clarity of sound. However, the décor of the auditorium interacts with the sound waves, with the soft wooden materials absorbing excess reverberations, actually creating a clearer and altogether more pleasing sound than expected. According to Bonsi, “Teatro Olimpico turns out to be more suitable for musical performance than speech.”10 This is because it has a low number of reverberations from the lateral direction, or the sides of the auditorium. This is a direct result of the architectural design; due to the flattened ellipsoidal shape, the longer distance between the sides of the auditorium effectively decreases the amount of lateral reverberation. Sound waves from the stage would die out before reaching the distance between the walls, thus lessening reflections. Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico was not only groundbreaking in its development from open-air to closed theater, but its design was only the starting point of what was to develop in theater auditoriums in the seventeenth century. The two most commonly constructed opera house designs in the world, the U-shaped auditorium and the horseshoeshaped auditorium, were derived from the innovative auditorium design in Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico.

Natalie Draeger graduated from Pratt in May 2014 with an M.S. in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art, Architecture, and Design and a certificate in Museum Studies. She is fascinated by the history of theaters, an interest that was sparked by her undergraduate studies in music and her travels to Italy with the Pratt in Venice Program in Summer 2013.

40

belvedere

volume 1

WALTER SCHLECT

This paper was written for The Beginnings of Abstract Art (HA634), taught by Marsha Morton in spring 2014.

Though nearly forgotten today, Hermann Obrist has an extraordinary body of artwork that uses abstraction before its more famous manifestations in the work of 20th-century artists such as Kandinsky. Obrist immersed himself in theories from the natural sciences and vitalist philosophy that led him to working with energetic, abstract forms in his drawings, sculptures, and textiles. This is particularly evident in his essays on the state of German art and design at the end of the 19th century, in which he criticizes Germany’s pedestrian art tastes and advocates for a more organic and expressive design.

1 Hermann Obrist. Neue Möglichkeiten in der Bildenden Kunst (Leipzig: E. Diederich’s, 1903), 136.

The German Jugendstil artist Hermann Obrist (1862-1927) is vaguely remembered in the history of art as a “prophet of abstraction” due to the pioneering expressive forms that he experimented with in his textiles. Obrist intended his works to be more than just mere decoration; for him they were expressive of inner, mystical experience, similar to the paintings of later, canonized abstract artists such as Kandinsky. Obrist made his pioneering breakthrough into abstraction by applying theories and new discoveries from the natural sciences to lend vitality to his art.

2 Ibid., 134.

In 1904, a handful of essays that Obrist wrote on issues in art and design in Germany appeared in the collection Neue Möglichkeiten in der Bildenden Kunst. In these essays, Obrist writes chiefly about the need to educate artists on how to infuse their work with new form rather than recycle the same tired styles of the past and to educate the public on how to appreciate these new forms. Obrist feels exasperated by the lack of taste that Germans exhibit in all things artistic,1 despite their unmatched achievements in music and the sciences.2 To visualize this disconnect in Germany, Obrist describes a German steamship, which he considers a modern marvel and pride of Germany. In discussing its form, he raves that “everything breathes usefulness. The authenticity of the materials, the

41


cleanness and smoothness of all things forms a great harmony for the eye and the intellect.”3 As soon as one enters the salon of a German steamship, however, “everything is covered in frilly Rococo, in gold, and in garish colors: we are surrounded by plush and velvet like in a variety theater.”4 This lack of taste extends far beyond the salon of a German steamship. Indeed, Obrist writes, “our public life is . . . thoroughly contaminated with the disease of bad taste, of substancelessness, of the conventional and of surface appearance in the fine arts.”5 Looking around fin-de-siècle Munich or Berlin, one saw a pastiche of recycled academic architectural styles, but nothing with the vitality that Obrist was looking for. The same held true for exhibitions of contemporary art. Obrist despairingly compares the lackluster achievements of contemporary art with the sublimity of German music: “Do we leave an exhibition at the Glaspalast in Munich beaming, like we would after Beethoven’s Fifth?”6 Obrist was a lifelong music lover, a particular fanatic, like Kandinsky, of the music of Wagner.7 Obrist wanted to find ways for art to touch people in a way that the music of Wagner and other German masters had: “How shall we give our people joy for the eye and the soul through fine arts publicly offered to them? How can we tap into them deeper [ . . . ] into the rich, deep, inner essence of human life; how can we give them the same joy, the same swing above the every day through works of fine art that they experience through music and poetry?”8 Despite the faltering of the fine arts in Germany beside the flowering of music and science, Obrist optimistically believed that creative efforts in music and the sciences had peaked and “the future belongs to the creative power in the fine arts, in architecture, in arts and crafts, sculpture, and in painting.”9 Obrist hoped to encourage this future at an experimental school for decorative art (Lehrwerkstätten für freie angewandte Kunst) that he co-founded, and would try to impress fresh, vital forms on his young students (among them the proto-abstract painter Hans Schmitthals). In Obrist’s own artistic work, he tried to advance German art by taking direct inspiration from the natural sciences, which, along with medicine, were what Obrist studied before the applied arts. If one looks at the bizarre, third-person autobiographical sketch he composed near the end of his life, called “A Happy Life,” one comes to the conclusion that the wonders of the natural world had mesmerized him throughout his childhood. Botany was of particular interest to him. Some of his most visceral memories are his first encounters with particular flowers, which can be seen in this description of family outings he took as a child while summering in the South of France:

3 Ibid., 137. “Alles atmet Zweckmäßigkeit. Die Echtheit des Materials, die Sauberkeit und Glätte aller Dinge bildet eine große Harmonie für das Auge und für den Intellekt.” My translations throughout. 4 Ibid., 138. “Alles starrt von krausem Rokoko, von Gold und aufdringlichen Farben: Plüsch und Sammet umgeben uns wie in einem Variététheater.” 5 Ibid., 136. “Unser öffentliches Leben ist, abgesehen von einigen trefflichen Ausnahmen, durchseucht von der Krankheit des schlechten Geschmackes, des Inhaltlosen, des Konventionellen und des Scheines in der bildenden Kunst.” 6 Ibid., 132. “Kehren wir aus der Ausstellung im Glaspalast zu München strahlend heim, wie nach der C-moll-Symphonie von Beethoven?” 7 Hermann Obrist, “A Happy Life,” in Hermann Obrist: Skulptur, Raum, Abstraktion um 1900, ed. Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl (Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009), 118. 8 Obrist, Neue Möglichkeiten, 135. “Wie geben wir unserem Volke durch die öffentlich ihm dargebotene bildende Kunst am meisten Freude des Auges und des Geistes; wie erschließen wir ihm ferner durch das so sichtbar gemachte Gebilde auch den reichen, tiefen, inneren Sinn des Menschenlebens; wie geben wir ihm durch Werke der bildenden Kunst dieselbe Freude, denselben Schwung über den Alltag, wie durch die Musik und die Poesie?” 9 Ibid., 167. “Die Zukunft gehört der schöpferischen Kraft in den bildenden Künsten, der Architektur, des Kunsthandwerks, der Plastik und der Malerei.”

felt upon discovering the passion flower defies all description and it has remained his favorite flower to this very day. He also discovered whole fields of flowering daffodils and red tulips in the marshy hollows by the seaside; these too sent him into raptures. Thousands of flowering oleander bushes grew in the hot sand of what was then a completely unknown part of the world. And every day, the boy was allowed to roam around to his heart’s content, to pluck tamarisks and splash in the sea, returning home—with dispensation to ride the nag—only in the evening, when millions of fireflies lit up the darkness. 10

10 Obrist, “A Happy Life,” 110. 11 Ibid., 110, 114. 12 Obrist, Neue Möglichkeiten, 45. “Statt wie Humboldt in unbekanntes Land zu dringen, mit aller Spannung, Erregung und dem Hochgefühl des Entdeckers, ziehen wir es vor, mit 300 anderen per Dampfschiff und Eisenbahn in Eile, müde und nur etwas neugierig nach Chicago zu reisen.” 13 Christoph Kockerbeck, Ernst Haeckels “Kunstformen der Natur” und ihr Einfluss auf die deutsche bildende Kunst der Jahrhundertwende: Studie zum Verhältnis von Kunst und Wissenschaften im Wilhelminischen Zeitalter (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1986), 53-54.

14 Ibid., 58. “...welche die vom intuitiven Poeten getragene und bewahrte “Einheit der Natur” zersetzt und die Natur selbst in ihre Bestandteile atomisiert hat.”

In the same autobiographical sketch, Obrist also describes his first occult experience.11 The juxtaposition of scientific and occult interests may seem odd to modern readers, but they were perfectly in tune with the German Romantic tradition, and Obrist saw no contradiction between the two. Obrist saw a role model in Alexander von Humboldt, whom he cited in his essays on art as a model of German adventurousness and ingenuity, unlike contemporary Germans. He wrote that “instead of venturing through unknown lands like Humboldt, with all the suspense, excitement and exhilaration of an explorer, we prefer to travel in a hurry to Chicago with 300 others by steamship and railway, tired and just a little bit curious.”12 To some, Humboldt’s holistic vision of the world, which saw natural phenomena as working in harmony, had long been debunked.13 Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, the year of Humboldt’s death, put forth a less harmonic but more convincing view of the natural world. Christoph Kockerbeck sees the microscope as a symbol for the history of the natural sciences in the nineteenth century, as it “replaced the ‘unity of nature’ borne and protected by intuitive poets and atomized nature itself into its components.”14 Yet things seen under the microscope did not necessarily undermine a unified worldview. An object that revealed a world of life invisible to the human eye certainly would have appealed to an artist like Obrist who experienced “visions.” These new images could also inspire the new, vital forms that Obrist constantly looked for. It is difficult not to overuse the word “vital” when describing the forms that Obrist sought in his work. Obrist indeed ascribed to a vitalist philosophy. Annika Waenerburg describes the 19th-century conception of vitalism in an essay on Obrist: Vitalism rested on the idea, or rather the existence, of an autonomous vital force. The morphology of the 19th century eventually acquired such a vitalistic stamp that plants came to be credited with ‘vitality’ as their salient characteristic—as opposed to the ‘attraction’ of cosmic phenomena, the ‘affinity’ or ‘elective affinity’ of minerals and ‘sensibility’ of animals.15

These excursions took them past cottages covered in climbing passion flowers in bloom. The excitement Hermann Obrist

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cleanness and smoothness of all things forms a great harmony for the eye and the intellect.”3 As soon as one enters the salon of a German steamship, however, “everything is covered in frilly Rococo, in gold, and in garish colors: we are surrounded by plush and velvet like in a variety theater.”4 This lack of taste extends far beyond the salon of a German steamship. Indeed, Obrist writes, “our public life is . . . thoroughly contaminated with the disease of bad taste, of substancelessness, of the conventional and of surface appearance in the fine arts.”5 Looking around fin-de-siècle Munich or Berlin, one saw a pastiche of recycled academic architectural styles, but nothing with the vitality that Obrist was looking for. The same held true for exhibitions of contemporary art. Obrist despairingly compares the lackluster achievements of contemporary art with the sublimity of German music: “Do we leave an exhibition at the Glaspalast in Munich beaming, like we would after Beethoven’s Fifth?”6 Obrist was a lifelong music lover, a particular fanatic, like Kandinsky, of the music of Wagner.7 Obrist wanted to find ways for art to touch people in a way that the music of Wagner and other German masters had: “How shall we give our people joy for the eye and the soul through fine arts publicly offered to them? How can we tap into them deeper [ . . . ] into the rich, deep, inner essence of human life; how can we give them the same joy, the same swing above the every day through works of fine art that they experience through music and poetry?”8 Despite the faltering of the fine arts in Germany beside the flowering of music and science, Obrist optimistically believed that creative efforts in music and the sciences had peaked and “the future belongs to the creative power in the fine arts, in architecture, in arts and crafts, sculpture, and in painting.”9 Obrist hoped to encourage this future at an experimental school for decorative art (Lehrwerkstätten für freie angewandte Kunst) that he co-founded, and would try to impress fresh, vital forms on his young students (among them the proto-abstract painter Hans Schmitthals). In Obrist’s own artistic work, he tried to advance German art by taking direct inspiration from the natural sciences, which, along with medicine, were what Obrist studied before the applied arts. If one looks at the bizarre, third-person autobiographical sketch he composed near the end of his life, called “A Happy Life,” one comes to the conclusion that the wonders of the natural world had mesmerized him throughout his childhood. Botany was of particular interest to him. Some of his most visceral memories are his first encounters with particular flowers, which can be seen in this description of family outings he took as a child while summering in the South of France:

3 Ibid., 137. “Alles atmet Zweckmäßigkeit. Die Echtheit des Materials, die Sauberkeit und Glätte aller Dinge bildet eine große Harmonie für das Auge und für den Intellekt.” My translations throughout. 4 Ibid., 138. “Alles starrt von krausem Rokoko, von Gold und aufdringlichen Farben: Plüsch und Sammet umgeben uns wie in einem Variététheater.” 5 Ibid., 136. “Unser öffentliches Leben ist, abgesehen von einigen trefflichen Ausnahmen, durchseucht von der Krankheit des schlechten Geschmackes, des Inhaltlosen, des Konventionellen und des Scheines in der bildenden Kunst.” 6 Ibid., 132. “Kehren wir aus der Ausstellung im Glaspalast zu München strahlend heim, wie nach der C-moll-Symphonie von Beethoven?” 7 Hermann Obrist, “A Happy Life,” in Hermann Obrist: Skulptur, Raum, Abstraktion um 1900, ed. Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl (Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009), 118. 8 Obrist, Neue Möglichkeiten, 135. “Wie geben wir unserem Volke durch die öffentlich ihm dargebotene bildende Kunst am meisten Freude des Auges und des Geistes; wie erschließen wir ihm ferner durch das so sichtbar gemachte Gebilde auch den reichen, tiefen, inneren Sinn des Menschenlebens; wie geben wir ihm durch Werke der bildenden Kunst dieselbe Freude, denselben Schwung über den Alltag, wie durch die Musik und die Poesie?” 9 Ibid., 167. “Die Zukunft gehört der schöpferischen Kraft in den bildenden Künsten, der Architektur, des Kunsthandwerks, der Plastik und der Malerei.”

felt upon discovering the passion flower defies all description and it has remained his favorite flower to this very day. He also discovered whole fields of flowering daffodils and red tulips in the marshy hollows by the seaside; these too sent him into raptures. Thousands of flowering oleander bushes grew in the hot sand of what was then a completely unknown part of the world. And every day, the boy was allowed to roam around to his heart’s content, to pluck tamarisks and splash in the sea, returning home—with dispensation to ride the nag—only in the evening, when millions of fireflies lit up the darkness. 10

10 Obrist, “A Happy Life,” 110. 11 Ibid., 110, 114. 12 Obrist, Neue Möglichkeiten, 45. “Statt wie Humboldt in unbekanntes Land zu dringen, mit aller Spannung, Erregung und dem Hochgefühl des Entdeckers, ziehen wir es vor, mit 300 anderen per Dampfschiff und Eisenbahn in Eile, müde und nur etwas neugierig nach Chicago zu reisen.” 13 Christoph Kockerbeck, Ernst Haeckels “Kunstformen der Natur” und ihr Einfluss auf die deutsche bildende Kunst der Jahrhundertwende: Studie zum Verhältnis von Kunst und Wissenschaften im Wilhelminischen Zeitalter (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1986), 53-54.

14 Ibid., 58. “...welche die vom intuitiven Poeten getragene und bewahrte “Einheit der Natur” zersetzt und die Natur selbst in ihre Bestandteile atomisiert hat.”

In the same autobiographical sketch, Obrist also describes his first occult experience.11 The juxtaposition of scientific and occult interests may seem odd to modern readers, but they were perfectly in tune with the German Romantic tradition, and Obrist saw no contradiction between the two. Obrist saw a role model in Alexander von Humboldt, whom he cited in his essays on art as a model of German adventurousness and ingenuity, unlike contemporary Germans. He wrote that “instead of venturing through unknown lands like Humboldt, with all the suspense, excitement and exhilaration of an explorer, we prefer to travel in a hurry to Chicago with 300 others by steamship and railway, tired and just a little bit curious.”12 To some, Humboldt’s holistic vision of the world, which saw natural phenomena as working in harmony, had long been debunked.13 Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, the year of Humboldt’s death, put forth a less harmonic but more convincing view of the natural world. Christoph Kockerbeck sees the microscope as a symbol for the history of the natural sciences in the nineteenth century, as it “replaced the ‘unity of nature’ borne and protected by intuitive poets and atomized nature itself into its components.”14 Yet things seen under the microscope did not necessarily undermine a unified worldview. An object that revealed a world of life invisible to the human eye certainly would have appealed to an artist like Obrist who experienced “visions.” These new images could also inspire the new, vital forms that Obrist constantly looked for. It is difficult not to overuse the word “vital” when describing the forms that Obrist sought in his work. Obrist indeed ascribed to a vitalist philosophy. Annika Waenerburg describes the 19th-century conception of vitalism in an essay on Obrist: Vitalism rested on the idea, or rather the existence, of an autonomous vital force. The morphology of the 19th century eventually acquired such a vitalistic stamp that plants came to be credited with ‘vitality’ as their salient characteristic—as opposed to the ‘attraction’ of cosmic phenomena, the ‘affinity’ or ‘elective affinity’ of minerals and ‘sensibility’ of animals.15

These excursions took them past cottages covered in climbing passion flowers in bloom. The excitement Hermann Obrist

42

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Another possible theoretical influence on Obrist in this vitalist manner was Moritz Meurer (1839-1916). Meurer taught decorative painting at the Königliche Schule of the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin. Sabine Thümmler wrote that “[Meurer’s] works based on plant morphology illustrate how nature shapes appropriate forms on the basis of functions assigned to them [ . . . ] In teaching and in practice the natural forms presented should be abstracted, emphasizing the aspects conforming to organic laws.”16 This attention to the essence of form and how it expresses “organic laws” would have certainly appealed to Obrist. In his book of essays, Obrist discussed his dissatisfaction with the traditional pedagogic approach espoused by nearly every art academy of teaching students to draw after the human form. Why limit oneself to the human body when nature is so rich in forms? As Obrist wrote in Neue Möglichkeiten der Bildenden Kunst, “an unknown abundance of possibilities opens up before one’s very eyes, when one has learned to see plastic forms in nature, when one has learned to expand the compacted power of buds, of the curves and ribs of seeds out of their microscopic size to shapes several meters high.”17 The scientific theorist who had perhaps the greatest influence on Obrist was Ernst Haeckel, whose theoretical writings Obrist had already read as a teenager.18 Haeckel was an evolutionary biologist who put his own spin on Darwinism. Though Haeckel embraced Darwinism, he also embraced the more harmonious outlook of Alexander von Humboldt. He synthesized the two seemingly contradictory worldviews into an influential theory, which “insisted on the monistic unity of matter and spirit (energy/consciousness) as well as the inorganic and organic.”19 Haeckel believed that life originated in “non-nucleated blobs of protoplasm” that he called “monera,” which originated from the ocean under particular chemical conditions.20 As evidence of the evolution (a relation) of creatures, he pointed out the similarities of human embryos to the embryos of several other animals, among other examples.21 The idea of life forms in nature that repeat themselves, and underpinning “organic laws” to these forms, would certainly have appealed to the vitalist in Obrist. Haeckel published popular science books from 1899 to 1904 called Kunstformen der Natur, and these are of particular interest to Obrist’s formal development. The books contained drawings of many living things, including microscopic organisms and deep-sea creatures. One of Haeckel’s hopes was that these books would inspire artists to find new motifs in these previously invisible organisms.22 The color drawings that Haeckel published in affordable installments enchanted and inspired many artists, including Obrist. An obvious comparison can be made between Obrist’s Krupp fountain of 1912 and the images of mollusks from the pages of Kunstformen der Natur, in addition to numerous other direct visual quotations.

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15 Annika Waenerburg, “Vital Force as Leitmotif: Natural Processes and Design in Obrist’s Language of Forms” in Afuhs and Strobl, eds.,Hermann Obrist, 48. 16 Sabine Thümmler, “Sources of Jugendstil in Germany: facets of the renewal from nature,” Apollo, 151.459 (May 2000), 27. 17 Obrist, Neue Möglichkeiten, 158. “Eine ungeahnte Fülle von Möglichkeiten tut sich vor dem Auge dessen auf, der plastische Formen in der Natur zu sehen gelernt hat, der die gedrungene Kraft der Knospen, die Rundungen und Rippen der Samen aus ihrer mikroskopischen Kleinheit zu vergrößern gelernt hat zu meterhohen Gebilden.“ 18 Obrist, “A Happy Life,” 118. 19 Marsha Morton, “From Monera to Man: Ernst Haeckel, Darwinismus, and NineteenthCentury German Art” in The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinismus, and Visual Culture, ed. Barbara Larson and Fae Brauer (Lebanon, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2009), 62. 20 Ibid., 63.

23 Michaela Rammert-Götz, “Wege zur Abstraktion im Münchner Jugendstil,” in Freiheit der Linie: von Obrist und dem Jugendstil zu Marx, Klee und Kirchner, ed. Erich Franz (Bönen, Germany: Kettler, 2007), 54. 24 Ibid. 25 Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl, “First Principles for a Fragmented Oeuvre: An Introduction,” in Afuhs and Strobl, eds., Hermann Obrist, 24. 26 Dagmar Rinker, Der Münchner Jugendstilkünstler Hermann Obrist (1862-1927) (München: Tuduv, 2001), 23637.

27 Mary Logan, “Hermann Obrist’s Embroidered Decorations,” The Studio 9 (October 1896): 100. 28 Ibid., 102.

One probable reason that Obrist has been marginalized in the history of abstraction is that he never practiced the one form of art most synonymous with abstraction: painting. Instead, he worked in sculpture, drawings, and textiles, which demonstrate a bold use of abstract forms that predate 20th-century abstract painting. In the 1890s, Obrist designed several tapestries in Munich that were executed by Bertha Ruchet. The most famous of these textiles is the Cyclamen tapestry of 1895, more famous for the nickname Peitschenhieb (whiplash). The critic Georg Fuchs, who highly praised an 1896 exhibition of Obrist’s embroideries, gave it this nickname.23 The name is fitting as this embroidery does not resemble just any kitschy embroidery of a tranquil alpine flower that one might find hanging in a bed-and-breakfast in the Alps. Instead, it contains a snaky form bursting with energy. Michaela Rammert-Götz compares Peitschenhieb to Fantastic Muscle, a drawing from 1899, in the way that both combine forms lifted from nature, vegetal ornament, and a generous dash of the imagination.24 She hits upon what Afuhs and Strobl consider to be Obrist’s “synthetic” approach to abstraction. Rather than abstracting from a fixed object or creating something purely nonrepresentational, Obrist combines forms and ideas both natural and imagined, creating a “biomorphic” art, very different from more classical examples of abstraction.25 The expressive movement of Peitschenhieb may also have been inspired by Haeckel’s theories of the form of germinating seeds.26 The embroideries also received a rave review in London in the magazine Studio. The critic Mary Logan wrote:

21 Ibid.

His embroideries are copies of nothing, not even nature, and although, as mere needle-work, they surpass anything that has been admired in the old embroideries, they do not stop short there. He makes of embroidery a great decorative art, perhaps one of the greatest. A screen of his, a wall decoration, a panel, a rug, or a chair, is not merely a pattern, like any other, that happens to be embroidered, but something that could only be done in embroidery. 27

22 Kockerbeck, Ernst Haeckel, 73.

This kind of reception is exactly what Obrist must have had in mind. Logan has recognized the vitality of the form, which seems alive and fresh rather than a stale copy of something else. She even compares the Peitschenhieb to a fanciful hybrid: “[it] has the endless continuity of line and spring of curve of some fascinating monster orchid.”28 Obrist’s drawings take this “biomorphic” logic to an even further degree. Many are inspired by images from Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur, other popular science books that Obrist had in his personal library, and newspaper clippings of mostly natural phenomena. Afuhs and Strobl point out that anything representing the history of art is almost completely absent

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Another possible theoretical influence on Obrist in this vitalist manner was Moritz Meurer (1839-1916). Meurer taught decorative painting at the Königliche Schule of the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin. Sabine Thümmler wrote that “[Meurer’s] works based on plant morphology illustrate how nature shapes appropriate forms on the basis of functions assigned to them [ . . . ] In teaching and in practice the natural forms presented should be abstracted, emphasizing the aspects conforming to organic laws.”16 This attention to the essence of form and how it expresses “organic laws” would have certainly appealed to Obrist. In his book of essays, Obrist discussed his dissatisfaction with the traditional pedagogic approach espoused by nearly every art academy of teaching students to draw after the human form. Why limit oneself to the human body when nature is so rich in forms? As Obrist wrote in Neue Möglichkeiten der Bildenden Kunst, “an unknown abundance of possibilities opens up before one’s very eyes, when one has learned to see plastic forms in nature, when one has learned to expand the compacted power of buds, of the curves and ribs of seeds out of their microscopic size to shapes several meters high.”17 The scientific theorist who had perhaps the greatest influence on Obrist was Ernst Haeckel, whose theoretical writings Obrist had already read as a teenager.18 Haeckel was an evolutionary biologist who put his own spin on Darwinism. Though Haeckel embraced Darwinism, he also embraced the more harmonious outlook of Alexander von Humboldt. He synthesized the two seemingly contradictory worldviews into an influential theory, which “insisted on the monistic unity of matter and spirit (energy/consciousness) as well as the inorganic and organic.”19 Haeckel believed that life originated in “non-nucleated blobs of protoplasm” that he called “monera,” which originated from the ocean under particular chemical conditions.20 As evidence of the evolution (a relation) of creatures, he pointed out the similarities of human embryos to the embryos of several other animals, among other examples.21 The idea of life forms in nature that repeat themselves, and underpinning “organic laws” to these forms, would certainly have appealed to the vitalist in Obrist. Haeckel published popular science books from 1899 to 1904 called Kunstformen der Natur, and these are of particular interest to Obrist’s formal development. The books contained drawings of many living things, including microscopic organisms and deep-sea creatures. One of Haeckel’s hopes was that these books would inspire artists to find new motifs in these previously invisible organisms.22 The color drawings that Haeckel published in affordable installments enchanted and inspired many artists, including Obrist. An obvious comparison can be made between Obrist’s Krupp fountain of 1912 and the images of mollusks from the pages of Kunstformen der Natur, in addition to numerous other direct visual quotations.

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15 Annika Waenerburg, “Vital Force as Leitmotif: Natural Processes and Design in Obrist’s Language of Forms” in Afuhs and Strobl, eds.,Hermann Obrist, 48. 16 Sabine Thümmler, “Sources of Jugendstil in Germany: facets of the renewal from nature,” Apollo, 151.459 (May 2000), 27. 17 Obrist, Neue Möglichkeiten, 158. “Eine ungeahnte Fülle von Möglichkeiten tut sich vor dem Auge dessen auf, der plastische Formen in der Natur zu sehen gelernt hat, der die gedrungene Kraft der Knospen, die Rundungen und Rippen der Samen aus ihrer mikroskopischen Kleinheit zu vergrößern gelernt hat zu meterhohen Gebilden.“ 18 Obrist, “A Happy Life,” 118. 19 Marsha Morton, “From Monera to Man: Ernst Haeckel, Darwinismus, and NineteenthCentury German Art” in The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinismus, and Visual Culture, ed. Barbara Larson and Fae Brauer (Lebanon, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2009), 62. 20 Ibid., 63.

23 Michaela Rammert-Götz, “Wege zur Abstraktion im Münchner Jugendstil,” in Freiheit der Linie: von Obrist und dem Jugendstil zu Marx, Klee und Kirchner, ed. Erich Franz (Bönen, Germany: Kettler, 2007), 54. 24 Ibid. 25 Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl, “First Principles for a Fragmented Oeuvre: An Introduction,” in Afuhs and Strobl, eds., Hermann Obrist, 24. 26 Dagmar Rinker, Der Münchner Jugendstilkünstler Hermann Obrist (1862-1927) (München: Tuduv, 2001), 23637.

27 Mary Logan, “Hermann Obrist’s Embroidered Decorations,” The Studio 9 (October 1896): 100. 28 Ibid., 102.

One probable reason that Obrist has been marginalized in the history of abstraction is that he never practiced the one form of art most synonymous with abstraction: painting. Instead, he worked in sculpture, drawings, and textiles, which demonstrate a bold use of abstract forms that predate 20th-century abstract painting. In the 1890s, Obrist designed several tapestries in Munich that were executed by Bertha Ruchet. The most famous of these textiles is the Cyclamen tapestry of 1895, more famous for the nickname Peitschenhieb (whiplash). The critic Georg Fuchs, who highly praised an 1896 exhibition of Obrist’s embroideries, gave it this nickname.23 The name is fitting as this embroidery does not resemble just any kitschy embroidery of a tranquil alpine flower that one might find hanging in a bed-and-breakfast in the Alps. Instead, it contains a snaky form bursting with energy. Michaela Rammert-Götz compares Peitschenhieb to Fantastic Muscle, a drawing from 1899, in the way that both combine forms lifted from nature, vegetal ornament, and a generous dash of the imagination.24 She hits upon what Afuhs and Strobl consider to be Obrist’s “synthetic” approach to abstraction. Rather than abstracting from a fixed object or creating something purely nonrepresentational, Obrist combines forms and ideas both natural and imagined, creating a “biomorphic” art, very different from more classical examples of abstraction.25 The expressive movement of Peitschenhieb may also have been inspired by Haeckel’s theories of the form of germinating seeds.26 The embroideries also received a rave review in London in the magazine Studio. The critic Mary Logan wrote:

21 Ibid.

His embroideries are copies of nothing, not even nature, and although, as mere needle-work, they surpass anything that has been admired in the old embroideries, they do not stop short there. He makes of embroidery a great decorative art, perhaps one of the greatest. A screen of his, a wall decoration, a panel, a rug, or a chair, is not merely a pattern, like any other, that happens to be embroidered, but something that could only be done in embroidery. 27

22 Kockerbeck, Ernst Haeckel, 73.

This kind of reception is exactly what Obrist must have had in mind. Logan has recognized the vitality of the form, which seems alive and fresh rather than a stale copy of something else. She even compares the Peitschenhieb to a fanciful hybrid: “[it] has the endless continuity of line and spring of curve of some fascinating monster orchid.”28 Obrist’s drawings take this “biomorphic” logic to an even further degree. Many are inspired by images from Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur, other popular science books that Obrist had in his personal library, and newspaper clippings of mostly natural phenomena. Afuhs and Strobl point out that anything representing the history of art is almost completely absent

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from this collection of images.29 Furthermore, Obrist collected images of both biological and geological phenomena. This was true to the monistic belief that there was a unity between organic and inorganic matter.30 The way that Obrist transforms images of cliffs or volcanoes in his drawings makes the epithet “inorganic” seem a misnomer. For example, a clipping of a photograph of a cliff with vegetation hanging over it inspired Obrist to create a drawing. As Stacy Hand notes, the photograph itself already suggests some degree of liquid form (it seems like icing melting down the side of a cake), and Obrist exaggerates that aspect in his drawing.31 The flattened vegetation appears to be the background, and the “eroded” cliff seems to have transformed into fiery, dancing shapes. Obrist achieved his most mature abstract creations with sculpture. Like his drawings and embroideries, they took inspiration from organic and inorganic forms. Afuhs and Strobl suggest that his sculpture Motion (dating sometime before 1914) was inspired by an image of ice forming around a sculpture.32 This inorganic movement is infused with organic form in the finished, abstract product. Sketch for a Monument recalls one of Obrist’s essays in which he bemoaned the high quantity and poor quality of monuments in Germany.33 He used the example of a Lessing monument that had been executed in rococo style, though Lessing was the “mortal enemy of Rococo” during his lifetime.34 Obrist wrote, “How he would sarcastically jeer at himself, if he could see himself this way!”35 What would be a better monument? Obrist may have had Sketch for a Monument in mind. It uses one of Obrist’s most repeated forms, the spiral, to wind around the upward extending thrust of the sculpture. There is no clear inspiration for this work other than the vital forms taken from nature that Obrist had studied and experimented with for his entire career. It was with these forms that Obrist hoped Germany could shake off its vulgar historicisms and enter a new age of beauty and abstraction.

29 Afuhs and Strobl, “First Principles,” 26. 30 Rinker, Der Münchner Jugendstilkünstler, 236-35. 31 Stacy Hand, “Fire in Black and White: Natural History Illustrations and the Role of Perceptual Psychology in Hermann Obrist’s Work,” in Afuhs and Strobl, Hermann Obrist, 76.

Walter Schlect is from Yakima, Washington. He received his bachelor’s in German from Washington State University in 2010 and then worked two years in Austria as an English language teaching assistant. He is currently pursuing a dual master’s in History of Art and Design and Library and Information Science at Pratt, where his research has focused on the dialogue between art and design in the Central European fin-de-siècle.

32 Afuhs and Strobl, “First Principles,” 24. 33 It may date from 1898-1900, or it may have been created later; Obrist’s works are notoriously difficult to date. 34 Obrist, Neue Möglichkeiten, 151. 35 Ibid. 36 Pegg Weiss, Kandinsky in Munich: The Formative Jugendstil Years (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979). 37 Hand, “Fire in Black and White,” 89.

Just a year after Neue Möglichkeiten in der Bildenden Kunst was published, Obrist stopped teaching due to health problems. After World War I, he drifted into relative seclusion and hardly ever exhibited. In 1927, he died. At times, Obrist’s vision seems so singular that it could not have influenced anyone. However, he was a close friend to Kandinsky while Kandinsky was forming his artistic ideas in Munich,36 and Paul Klee taught at Obrist’s experimental school after Obrist had left.37 Obrist’s vitalist pedagogy and abstract forms are thus mirrored in the art and ideas of The Blue Rider in the 1910s and the Bauhaus in the 1920s, and his influence on modernism is far more critical than art historians have realized.

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from this collection of images.29 Furthermore, Obrist collected images of both biological and geological phenomena. This was true to the monistic belief that there was a unity between organic and inorganic matter.30 The way that Obrist transforms images of cliffs or volcanoes in his drawings makes the epithet “inorganic” seem a misnomer. For example, a clipping of a photograph of a cliff with vegetation hanging over it inspired Obrist to create a drawing. As Stacy Hand notes, the photograph itself already suggests some degree of liquid form (it seems like icing melting down the side of a cake), and Obrist exaggerates that aspect in his drawing.31 The flattened vegetation appears to be the background, and the “eroded” cliff seems to have transformed into fiery, dancing shapes. Obrist achieved his most mature abstract creations with sculpture. Like his drawings and embroideries, they took inspiration from organic and inorganic forms. Afuhs and Strobl suggest that his sculpture Motion (dating sometime before 1914) was inspired by an image of ice forming around a sculpture.32 This inorganic movement is infused with organic form in the finished, abstract product. Sketch for a Monument recalls one of Obrist’s essays in which he bemoaned the high quantity and poor quality of monuments in Germany.33 He used the example of a Lessing monument that had been executed in rococo style, though Lessing was the “mortal enemy of Rococo” during his lifetime.34 Obrist wrote, “How he would sarcastically jeer at himself, if he could see himself this way!”35 What would be a better monument? Obrist may have had Sketch for a Monument in mind. It uses one of Obrist’s most repeated forms, the spiral, to wind around the upward extending thrust of the sculpture. There is no clear inspiration for this work other than the vital forms taken from nature that Obrist had studied and experimented with for his entire career. It was with these forms that Obrist hoped Germany could shake off its vulgar historicisms and enter a new age of beauty and abstraction.

29 Afuhs and Strobl, “First Principles,” 26. 30 Rinker, Der Münchner Jugendstilkünstler, 236-35. 31 Stacy Hand, “Fire in Black and White: Natural History Illustrations and the Role of Perceptual Psychology in Hermann Obrist’s Work,” in Afuhs and Strobl, Hermann Obrist, 76.

Walter Schlect is from Yakima, Washington. He received his bachelor’s in German from Washington State University in 2010 and then worked two years in Austria as an English language teaching assistant. He is currently pursuing a dual master’s in History of Art and Design and Library and Information Science at Pratt, where his research has focused on the dialogue between art and design in the Central European fin-de-siècle.

32 Afuhs and Strobl, “First Principles,” 24. 33 It may date from 1898-1900, or it may have been created later; Obrist’s works are notoriously difficult to date. 34 Obrist, Neue Möglichkeiten, 151. 35 Ibid. 36 Pegg Weiss, Kandinsky in Munich: The Formative Jugendstil Years (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979). 37 Hand, “Fire in Black and White,” 89.

Just a year after Neue Möglichkeiten in der Bildenden Kunst was published, Obrist stopped teaching due to health problems. After World War I, he drifted into relative seclusion and hardly ever exhibited. In 1927, he died. At times, Obrist’s vision seems so singular that it could not have influenced anyone. However, he was a close friend to Kandinsky while Kandinsky was forming his artistic ideas in Munich,36 and Paul Klee taught at Obrist’s experimental school after Obrist had left.37 Obrist’s vitalist pedagogy and abstract forms are thus mirrored in the art and ideas of The Blue Rider in the 1910s and the Bauhaus in the 1920s, and his influence on modernism is far more critical than art historians have realized.

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American Teachers and High School

2 Rich Juzwiak. “’It’s Impossible To Be Objective’: An Interview with Frederick Wiseman,.” Gawker,. November 8, 2013,. http://gawker.com/itsimpossible-to-be-objective-aninterview-with-fr-1460976796.

ANNALISE WELTE

3 Budd Wilkins,. “Interview: Frederick Wiseman,.” Slant Magazine,. January 16, 2012,. http://www.slantmagazine. com/features/article/interviewfrederick-wiseman.

This essay examines two documentary films, American Teachers (2011) and High School (1968), which address the subject of education in America using very different methods. Filmed several decades apart, both documentaries center on issues in the American high school system. Various stylistic techniques are applied to both films in an analysis of how they impact the films’ ultimate effectiveness.

This paper was written for Documentary Film (HA517), taught by Sam Bryan in fall 2013.

Documentary films convey information in many different formats while using many different styles and techniques. To explore their effectiveness, two works sharing the similar subject of the high school experience in America will be stylistically compared and contrasted.

1 Betsy McLane, A New History of Documentary Film (New York: Continuum, 2012).

Another important facet of Wiseman’s style is his use of synchronized sound. By accompanying the primary camera with a microphone, Wiseman was able to give a more direct and enriched presentation than may be evident in earlier films. In High School, his use of typical background noises heard in schools, such as students in the hallways, enables a broader sensory experience for the viewer. Throughout the film, there are no direct interviews with subjects, nor is there any acknowledgment of the camera present in the everyday space. Each scene unfolds as it would naturally, on any other day, without evidence of filming. Neither is any individual identified by means of subtitles or other presenting factors, other than what would occur naturally, such as a teacher calling on a student and using his or her name. The scenes of High School depict students, some of their parents, and the school’s teachers and staff. Scenes depicting relationships between students and staff, both positive and negative, shed light onto the regular difficulties and struggles faced in schools, which can further resonate with viewers as universal truths. These scenes are by no means boring or perfunctory; the film’s editorial flow renders each scene relevant in its context. The film includes slightly more footage of the staff and teachers expressing their opinions rather than a focus on the students themselves. For example, one scene in the cafeteria shows only male adults eating lunch. Also shown are several conferences between parents and teachers, only one of which, very briefly, involves a student. Another scene, involving a young teacher, depicts her attempts to get the students interested in an assignment by incorporating music. The results of her assignment, however, are not included later in the film, so that the audience does not see the students’ eventual reaction or experience. The direction of High School uses the purity of day-to-day situations to delve into the functions and dysfunctions found at a typical high school. A recurring strength of the film is the impression that its subjects are not actors with scripted interactions; rather, they are the regular students and staff of an actual high school, performing their everyday tasks and functioning as usual.

Fred Wiseman began making films in the 1960s.1 In directing numerous films over a decades-long career his work has come to be known for its Cinéma Vérité/Direct style, a result of Wiseman’s editing of his film and audio footage to remove his presence as cameraman and director from the actual film. Throughout his career Wiseman focused many of his films on larger institutions, allowing the conflicts that arise naturally in these settings to produce strong statements, often without providing contextual information. Wiseman’s High School (1968) is an example of this approach in its documentation of the everyday experiences in a high school in Pennsylvania. As a director, Wiseman compares film composition to that of a novel. In an interview with Gawker, he states that “movies are based on unstaged real events, but the way they’re edited and the order in which they’re put resembles the construction of a novel or play.”2 It is very interesting to examine High School from this perspective. The authenticity of the film’s content is not questioned; rather, its choice of sequences highlights the

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flow of the exposition and its narrative, story-like quality. Avoiding direct storytelling processes, such as narration and interviews, often used in documentary films, Wiseman instead utilizes editing as his tool of choice to manipulate the sequence of events. In a 2012 interview with Slant Magazine, Wiseman elaborates, “I discover the films in the editing, and it’s in the editing that I have to figure out what the material means.”3 Wiseman’s art seems to be the process of weaving his immense collections of footage together into a comprehensive pattern that is truthful and accurate, yet still presents a point.

One scene that stands out in particular depicts a young boy with the school’s principal or some other authority figure. The young boy is anxious, as he has been given punishment for a wrongdoing he swears he

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American Teachers and High School

2 Rich Juzwiak. “’It’s Impossible To Be Objective’: An Interview with Frederick Wiseman,.” Gawker,. November 8, 2013,. http://gawker.com/itsimpossible-to-be-objective-aninterview-with-fr-1460976796.

ANNALISE WELTE

3 Budd Wilkins,. “Interview: Frederick Wiseman,.” Slant Magazine,. January 16, 2012,. http://www.slantmagazine. com/features/article/interviewfrederick-wiseman.

This essay examines two documentary films, American Teachers (2011) and High School (1968), which address the subject of education in America using very different methods. Filmed several decades apart, both documentaries center on issues in the American high school system. Various stylistic techniques are applied to both films in an analysis of how they impact the films’ ultimate effectiveness.

This paper was written for Documentary Film (HA517), taught by Sam Bryan in fall 2013.

Documentary films convey information in many different formats while using many different styles and techniques. To explore their effectiveness, two works sharing the similar subject of the high school experience in America will be stylistically compared and contrasted.

1 Betsy McLane, A New History of Documentary Film (New York: Continuum, 2012).

Another important facet of Wiseman’s style is his use of synchronized sound. By accompanying the primary camera with a microphone, Wiseman was able to give a more direct and enriched presentation than may be evident in earlier films. In High School, his use of typical background noises heard in schools, such as students in the hallways, enables a broader sensory experience for the viewer. Throughout the film, there are no direct interviews with subjects, nor is there any acknowledgment of the camera present in the everyday space. Each scene unfolds as it would naturally, on any other day, without evidence of filming. Neither is any individual identified by means of subtitles or other presenting factors, other than what would occur naturally, such as a teacher calling on a student and using his or her name. The scenes of High School depict students, some of their parents, and the school’s teachers and staff. Scenes depicting relationships between students and staff, both positive and negative, shed light onto the regular difficulties and struggles faced in schools, which can further resonate with viewers as universal truths. These scenes are by no means boring or perfunctory; the film’s editorial flow renders each scene relevant in its context. The film includes slightly more footage of the staff and teachers expressing their opinions rather than a focus on the students themselves. For example, one scene in the cafeteria shows only male adults eating lunch. Also shown are several conferences between parents and teachers, only one of which, very briefly, involves a student. Another scene, involving a young teacher, depicts her attempts to get the students interested in an assignment by incorporating music. The results of her assignment, however, are not included later in the film, so that the audience does not see the students’ eventual reaction or experience. The direction of High School uses the purity of day-to-day situations to delve into the functions and dysfunctions found at a typical high school. A recurring strength of the film is the impression that its subjects are not actors with scripted interactions; rather, they are the regular students and staff of an actual high school, performing their everyday tasks and functioning as usual.

Fred Wiseman began making films in the 1960s.1 In directing numerous films over a decades-long career his work has come to be known for its Cinéma Vérité/Direct style, a result of Wiseman’s editing of his film and audio footage to remove his presence as cameraman and director from the actual film. Throughout his career Wiseman focused many of his films on larger institutions, allowing the conflicts that arise naturally in these settings to produce strong statements, often without providing contextual information. Wiseman’s High School (1968) is an example of this approach in its documentation of the everyday experiences in a high school in Pennsylvania. As a director, Wiseman compares film composition to that of a novel. In an interview with Gawker, he states that “movies are based on unstaged real events, but the way they’re edited and the order in which they’re put resembles the construction of a novel or play.”2 It is very interesting to examine High School from this perspective. The authenticity of the film’s content is not questioned; rather, its choice of sequences highlights the

48

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flow of the exposition and its narrative, story-like quality. Avoiding direct storytelling processes, such as narration and interviews, often used in documentary films, Wiseman instead utilizes editing as his tool of choice to manipulate the sequence of events. In a 2012 interview with Slant Magazine, Wiseman elaborates, “I discover the films in the editing, and it’s in the editing that I have to figure out what the material means.”3 Wiseman’s art seems to be the process of weaving his immense collections of footage together into a comprehensive pattern that is truthful and accurate, yet still presents a point.

One scene that stands out in particular depicts a young boy with the school’s principal or some other authority figure. The young boy is anxious, as he has been given punishment for a wrongdoing he swears he

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did not commit. The principal insistently informs him that, even if he did nothing wrong, it will build his character to accept the punishment. Relatively more shocking scenes similar to this one communicate a great deal about real student-teacher relationships and discipline issues in education while providing no additional information to the viewer. While the scenes of High School focusing on the student perspective are minimal in comparison with those of adults, perhaps this editing choice can be seen as a further statement on the roles of students in comparison to those of teachers during the 1960s.

in the case of the expert opinions provided by educational professionals. Providing this information helps to create a sense of trust and open understanding throughout the film by emphasizing the connection between the speaker and audience. As interviews with four teachers are highlighted throughout the film, we grow to know their families and their students. The audience’s ability to form these connections is key to the film’s overall success. While clear differences in time period are reflected in the content between American Teacher and High School, both films successfully portray aspects of the world of high school education in a meaningful and impactful manner for the viewer.

4 “Vanessa Roth—Big Year Productions.” Vanessa Roth--Big Year Productions. Accessed 10 November 2013. http://www. bigyearprods.com/.

Directed by Vanessa Roth and Brian McGinn, American Teacher (2011) follows the stories of four teachers in different states while also providing data and statistics on the education system in America to “combine documentary storytelling with national outreach campaigns.”4 In this, the two films find a similar perspective. American Teacher incorporates contemporary studies and research data with personal interviews and testimonials on behalf of the subjects. The film also features narration by actor and celebrity Matt Damon. The interviews are edited to omit any questions by the interviewer, presenting only the responses of participants. Nor is there a sense of director involvement on-screen; the only voice heard by the viewer outside of the subjects’ is that of the narrator. This provides a more guided sense than Wiseman’s High School, yet is not overwhelming: the viewer presumes that none of the interviewees are actors and that their speech is not scripted.

Overall, I enjoyed both films very much. While using many different techniques and creating two very different works, American Teacher and High School also convey insights about education over time. I found the films very interesting to watch in conjunction with each other; the facts and figures supplied in American Teacher further inform the viewer’s ability to come to individual conclusions while simply watching classroom activity filmed objectively. It would be curious to see a film like American Teacher supplemented with data and statistical information from the 1960s setting of Wiseman’s High School.

The interviews play a very important role in American Teacher. Supplemented with recent research data and information provided by experts in education, aspects of “finger-pointing” criticism also emerge to ground the film and create a strong argument and sense of purpose. Personal interviews with the teachers, as well as with students and their family members, balance the provision of statistical data to give the film a much more personal ambiance. Combining these techniques of providing information contributes to the overall success of American Teacher as it makes the film more believable than it would otherwise be. American Teacher presents information from the same subject groups as those in High School, with the notable addition of education experts. This key difference contributes greatly to the stylistic distinctions between the two films: American Teacher takes a much more academic, analytical look at the American education system as a whole while employing some of the objectively styled techniques also used in Wiseman’s film. For example, the films share many scenes set in high school classrooms, where teachers are shown interacting with their students. Importantly, throughout both films these scenes serve more of a background role to the primary narrative, serving to set the scene in short snippets of the teachers at work. Each interview in American Teacher is accompanied by an onscreen caption identifying the speaker and his or her title. This inclusion lends credibility to the voice of the film on behalf of the viewer, especially

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Annalise Welte graduated Pratt in 2014 with a dual-degree master’s in History of Art and Design and Library and Information Science. Prior to studying at Pratt, she graduated with honors in Classics from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She has studied in Italy several times, most recently with Pratt in Venice and Pratt SILS’s Florence program in Summer 2013. Annalise wrote her master’s thesis on Armenian printed works from the Mekhitarist Order in Venice.

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did not commit. The principal insistently informs him that, even if he did nothing wrong, it will build his character to accept the punishment. Relatively more shocking scenes similar to this one communicate a great deal about real student-teacher relationships and discipline issues in education while providing no additional information to the viewer. While the scenes of High School focusing on the student perspective are minimal in comparison with those of adults, perhaps this editing choice can be seen as a further statement on the roles of students in comparison to those of teachers during the 1960s.

in the case of the expert opinions provided by educational professionals. Providing this information helps to create a sense of trust and open understanding throughout the film by emphasizing the connection between the speaker and audience. As interviews with four teachers are highlighted throughout the film, we grow to know their families and their students. The audience’s ability to form these connections is key to the film’s overall success. While clear differences in time period are reflected in the content between American Teacher and High School, both films successfully portray aspects of the world of high school education in a meaningful and impactful manner for the viewer.

4 “Vanessa Roth—Big Year Productions.” Vanessa Roth--Big Year Productions. Accessed 10 November 2013. http://www. bigyearprods.com/.

Directed by Vanessa Roth and Brian McGinn, American Teacher (2011) follows the stories of four teachers in different states while also providing data and statistics on the education system in America to “combine documentary storytelling with national outreach campaigns.”4 In this, the two films find a similar perspective. American Teacher incorporates contemporary studies and research data with personal interviews and testimonials on behalf of the subjects. The film also features narration by actor and celebrity Matt Damon. The interviews are edited to omit any questions by the interviewer, presenting only the responses of participants. Nor is there a sense of director involvement on-screen; the only voice heard by the viewer outside of the subjects’ is that of the narrator. This provides a more guided sense than Wiseman’s High School, yet is not overwhelming: the viewer presumes that none of the interviewees are actors and that their speech is not scripted.

Overall, I enjoyed both films very much. While using many different techniques and creating two very different works, American Teacher and High School also convey insights about education over time. I found the films very interesting to watch in conjunction with each other; the facts and figures supplied in American Teacher further inform the viewer’s ability to come to individual conclusions while simply watching classroom activity filmed objectively. It would be curious to see a film like American Teacher supplemented with data and statistical information from the 1960s setting of Wiseman’s High School.

The interviews play a very important role in American Teacher. Supplemented with recent research data and information provided by experts in education, aspects of “finger-pointing” criticism also emerge to ground the film and create a strong argument and sense of purpose. Personal interviews with the teachers, as well as with students and their family members, balance the provision of statistical data to give the film a much more personal ambiance. Combining these techniques of providing information contributes to the overall success of American Teacher as it makes the film more believable than it would otherwise be. American Teacher presents information from the same subject groups as those in High School, with the notable addition of education experts. This key difference contributes greatly to the stylistic distinctions between the two films: American Teacher takes a much more academic, analytical look at the American education system as a whole while employing some of the objectively styled techniques also used in Wiseman’s film. For example, the films share many scenes set in high school classrooms, where teachers are shown interacting with their students. Importantly, throughout both films these scenes serve more of a background role to the primary narrative, serving to set the scene in short snippets of the teachers at work. Each interview in American Teacher is accompanied by an onscreen caption identifying the speaker and his or her title. This inclusion lends credibility to the voice of the film on behalf of the viewer, especially

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Annalise Welte graduated Pratt in 2014 with a dual-degree master’s in History of Art and Design and Library and Information Science. Prior to studying at Pratt, she graduated with honors in Classics from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She has studied in Italy several times, most recently with Pratt in Venice and Pratt SILS’s Florence program in Summer 2013. Annalise wrote her master’s thesis on Armenian printed works from the Mekhitarist Order in Venice.

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Bibliographies

Outlaw, Gay and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gay Outlaw on Her Working Methods. YouTube video, 1:55. April 2010. http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=kAkRWwoJon0

Whiting, Sam. “Artist Gay Outlaw to Open 1st Solo Show in 3 Years.” SFGate, June 28, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.sfgate.com/art/article/Artist-GayOutlaw-to-open-1st-solo-show-in-3-years-366818

Outlaw, Gay and Chris Daubert. “A Conversation between Gay Outlaw and Chris Daubert.” Recording by the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento. March 26, 2011.

DISTINCTIONS OF TASTE IN 18TH-CENTURY FRANCE

Outlaw, Gay. Visiting Artist Lecture at the Oxbow School, Napa, CA. March 27, 2012. Pagel, David. “Everyday Objects, Concisely.” Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2001. Accessed May 1, 2013. http:// articles.latimes.com/2001/dec/05/entertainment/ et-pagel5 Sietsema, Robert. “A Short History of Fruitcake.” The Village Voice, November 19, 2002. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.villagevoice.com/ 2002-11-19/restaurants/a-short-history-of-fruitcake/

GAY OUTLAW’S TINNED WALL/DARK MATTER AS ANTI-MONUMENT Adriaansens, Alex and Joke Brouwers. “Alien Relationships from Public Space: A Winding Dialog with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.” In Transurbanism, edited by Joke Brouwers and Arjen Mulder, 139-160. Rotterdam: V2_Publishing/NAi Publishing, 2002. Antimodular Research. “Rafael Lozano Hemmer—Projects.” Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/projects.php Baker, Kenneth. “Art Marked by Holes, Yet Pregnant with Meaning.” SFGate, December 16, 2006. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Art-marked-by-holes-yet-pregnant-with-meaning-2482189.php Baker, Kenneth. “Dodging and Disguise in Gay Outlaw’s Artworks.” SFGate, February 14, 2009. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/ article/Dodging-and-disguise-in-Gay-Outlaw-s-artworks-3251155.php Bennett, Kim. “Gay Outlaw [artist page].” Magical-Secrets: A Printmaking Community [blog]. n.d. http:// www.magical-secrets.com/artists/outlaw

52

Castro, Jan Garden. “Gay Outlaw, Hosfelt Gallery.” Sculpture, Nov 2006, 75-76. Daubert, Chris. Gay Outlaw: The Velocity of Ideas. Sacramento, CA: The Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, 2011. Dewey, John. Art as Experience. New York: Penguin, 2005. Facing History and Ourselves. “Counter-monuments.” Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www2.facinghistory. org/campus/memorials.nsf/0/0E862768014D1FE985256E3E004F50E6 “Gay Outlaw.” Accessed May 1, 2013. http://gayoutlaw. com/Outlaw/Outlaw_Home.html Glueck, Grace. “Art in Review; ‘Personal Abstractions’.” New York Times, February 16, 2001. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/16/arts/ art-in-review-personal-abstractions.html Mahan, Nicole Leigh. “Krzysztof Wodiczko’s If You See Something…: Counter-Memory and the Role of the Artist in Post-9/11 America.” Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 2010. Morris, Barbara. “Gay Outlaw at Mills College.” Artweek 36.9 (Nov 2005), 17-18.

Small, Carol. “Confessions of the Guerilla Girls by The Guerilla Girls: ‘Women’s Work’ in Contemporary Art by Linda Yee; Arlene Raven; Michele Wallace.” Women’s Art Journal,19.2 (Autumn, 1998-Winter, 1999): 38-40.

Anton, Saul. “Style and History in Diderot and Winckelmann.” In Style in Theory: Between Literature and Philosophy, edited by Ivan Callus, James Corby, and Gloria Lauri-Lucente. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. Auslander, Leora. Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. Chu, Petra ten-Doesschate. Nineteenth-Century European Art. New York: Prentice-Hall and Abrams, 2012. DeJean, Joan E. The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual—and the Modern Home Began. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009. Diderot, Denis. Diderot Encyclopedia: The Complete Illustrations, 1762-1777. New York: Abrams, 1978.

Sommer, Danielle. “Now and When.” KQED, June 21, 2010. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.kqed.org/ arts/visualarts/article.jsp?essid=30128

Diderot, Denis, and Jean Le Rond d’ Alembert. “Menuisier en Meubles.” In Encyclopédie. Recueil de Planches, sur les Sciences, les Arts Libéraux, et les Arts Méchaniques, avec leur Explication. Paris: Briasson, 1765.

Smithson, Robert and Alison Sky. “Entropy Made Visible, Interview with Alison Sky (On Site #4, 1973).” In The Writings of Robert Smithson: Essays and Illustrations, edited by Nancy Holt,189-198. New York: New York University Press, 1979.

Diderot Et L’encyclopédie: Exposition Commémorative du deuxième Centenaire de L’encyclopédie. Bibliothèque Nationale. Paris, 1951

Steffen, Suzi. “Abstract Excessivism.” EugeneWeekly.com, February 24, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www. eugeneweekly.com/2010/07/22/visart.html

Goodman, Dena. “Enlightenment Salons: The Convergence of Female and Philosophic Ambitions.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 22, no. 3. Special Issue: The French Revolution in Culture (Spring 1989): 329-50. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2738891

Suh, Do-Ho. “The Anti-Monument.” The Walrus, October 2004. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://walrusmagazine. com/article.php?ref=2004.10-detail-korean-artist&page=

Green, Frederick C. Eighteenth-Century France: Six Essays. New York: F. Ungar Publishing Co, 1964.

Webster, Melody. “Gay Outlaw, An Artist of Any Medium.” Laney Tower, February 21, 2013. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.laneytower.com/gay-outlawan-artist-of-any-medium-1.2995603#.UYHV0iuG2SN

Bibliographies

Mercure de France. Gallica (October 1736). http://gallica. bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k63550567 Nevinson, John L. Origin and Early History of the Fashion Plate. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34472/34472h/34472-h.htm

53


Bibliographies

Outlaw, Gay and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gay Outlaw on Her Working Methods. YouTube video, 1:55. April 2010. http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=kAkRWwoJon0

Whiting, Sam. “Artist Gay Outlaw to Open 1st Solo Show in 3 Years.” SFGate, June 28, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.sfgate.com/art/article/Artist-GayOutlaw-to-open-1st-solo-show-in-3-years-366818

Outlaw, Gay and Chris Daubert. “A Conversation between Gay Outlaw and Chris Daubert.” Recording by the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento. March 26, 2011.

DISTINCTIONS OF TASTE IN 18TH-CENTURY FRANCE

Outlaw, Gay. Visiting Artist Lecture at the Oxbow School, Napa, CA. March 27, 2012. Pagel, David. “Everyday Objects, Concisely.” Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2001. Accessed May 1, 2013. http:// articles.latimes.com/2001/dec/05/entertainment/ et-pagel5 Sietsema, Robert. “A Short History of Fruitcake.” The Village Voice, November 19, 2002. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.villagevoice.com/ 2002-11-19/restaurants/a-short-history-of-fruitcake/

GAY OUTLAW’S TINNED WALL/DARK MATTER AS ANTI-MONUMENT Adriaansens, Alex and Joke Brouwers. “Alien Relationships from Public Space: A Winding Dialog with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.” In Transurbanism, edited by Joke Brouwers and Arjen Mulder, 139-160. Rotterdam: V2_Publishing/NAi Publishing, 2002. Antimodular Research. “Rafael Lozano Hemmer—Projects.” Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/projects.php Baker, Kenneth. “Art Marked by Holes, Yet Pregnant with Meaning.” SFGate, December 16, 2006. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Art-marked-by-holes-yet-pregnant-with-meaning-2482189.php Baker, Kenneth. “Dodging and Disguise in Gay Outlaw’s Artworks.” SFGate, February 14, 2009. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/ article/Dodging-and-disguise-in-Gay-Outlaw-s-artworks-3251155.php Bennett, Kim. “Gay Outlaw [artist page].” Magical-Secrets: A Printmaking Community [blog]. n.d. http:// www.magical-secrets.com/artists/outlaw

52

Castro, Jan Garden. “Gay Outlaw, Hosfelt Gallery.” Sculpture, Nov 2006, 75-76. Daubert, Chris. Gay Outlaw: The Velocity of Ideas. Sacramento, CA: The Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, 2011. Dewey, John. Art as Experience. New York: Penguin, 2005. Facing History and Ourselves. “Counter-monuments.” Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www2.facinghistory. org/campus/memorials.nsf/0/0E862768014D1FE985256E3E004F50E6 “Gay Outlaw.” Accessed May 1, 2013. http://gayoutlaw. com/Outlaw/Outlaw_Home.html Glueck, Grace. “Art in Review; ‘Personal Abstractions’.” New York Times, February 16, 2001. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/16/arts/ art-in-review-personal-abstractions.html Mahan, Nicole Leigh. “Krzysztof Wodiczko’s If You See Something…: Counter-Memory and the Role of the Artist in Post-9/11 America.” Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 2010. Morris, Barbara. “Gay Outlaw at Mills College.” Artweek 36.9 (Nov 2005), 17-18.

Small, Carol. “Confessions of the Guerilla Girls by The Guerilla Girls: ‘Women’s Work’ in Contemporary Art by Linda Yee; Arlene Raven; Michele Wallace.” Women’s Art Journal,19.2 (Autumn, 1998-Winter, 1999): 38-40.

Anton, Saul. “Style and History in Diderot and Winckelmann.” In Style in Theory: Between Literature and Philosophy, edited by Ivan Callus, James Corby, and Gloria Lauri-Lucente. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. Auslander, Leora. Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. Chu, Petra ten-Doesschate. Nineteenth-Century European Art. New York: Prentice-Hall and Abrams, 2012. DeJean, Joan E. The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual—and the Modern Home Began. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009. Diderot, Denis. Diderot Encyclopedia: The Complete Illustrations, 1762-1777. New York: Abrams, 1978.

Sommer, Danielle. “Now and When.” KQED, June 21, 2010. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.kqed.org/ arts/visualarts/article.jsp?essid=30128

Diderot, Denis, and Jean Le Rond d’ Alembert. “Menuisier en Meubles.” In Encyclopédie. Recueil de Planches, sur les Sciences, les Arts Libéraux, et les Arts Méchaniques, avec leur Explication. Paris: Briasson, 1765.

Smithson, Robert and Alison Sky. “Entropy Made Visible, Interview with Alison Sky (On Site #4, 1973).” In The Writings of Robert Smithson: Essays and Illustrations, edited by Nancy Holt,189-198. New York: New York University Press, 1979.

Diderot Et L’encyclopédie: Exposition Commémorative du deuxième Centenaire de L’encyclopédie. Bibliothèque Nationale. Paris, 1951

Steffen, Suzi. “Abstract Excessivism.” EugeneWeekly.com, February 24, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www. eugeneweekly.com/2010/07/22/visart.html

Goodman, Dena. “Enlightenment Salons: The Convergence of Female and Philosophic Ambitions.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 22, no. 3. Special Issue: The French Revolution in Culture (Spring 1989): 329-50. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2738891

Suh, Do-Ho. “The Anti-Monument.” The Walrus, October 2004. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://walrusmagazine. com/article.php?ref=2004.10-detail-korean-artist&page=

Green, Frederick C. Eighteenth-Century France: Six Essays. New York: F. Ungar Publishing Co, 1964.

Webster, Melody. “Gay Outlaw, An Artist of Any Medium.” Laney Tower, February 21, 2013. Accessed May 1, 2013. http://www.laneytower.com/gay-outlawan-artist-of-any-medium-1.2995603#.UYHV0iuG2SN

Bibliographies

Mercure de France. Gallica (October 1736). http://gallica. bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k63550567 Nevinson, John L. Origin and Early History of the Fashion Plate. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34472/34472h/34472-h.htm

53


Pile, John. A History of Interior Design. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. Schmidt, Freek H. “Expose Ignorance and Revive the ‘Bon Goût’: Foreign Architects at Jacques-François Blondel’s École des Arts.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 61, no. 1 (March 2002): 4-29. http:// www.jstor.org/stable/991809 Scott, Katie. The Rococo Interior: Decoration and Social Spaces in Early Eighteenth-Century Paris. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

BEYOND TRANSPARENCY: A DISCUSSION AROUND GLASS IN 19TH CENTURY PARIS Broude, Norma. “Outing Impressionism.” In Gustave Caillebotte and the Fashioning of Identity in Impressionist Paris, edited by Norma Broude, 117-174. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002. Fierro, Annette. The Glass State: The Technology of the Spectacle Paris 1981-1998. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. Marcus, Sharon. Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999. Pollock, Griselda. Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art. London: Routledge, 1988. Sidlauskas, Susan. “Contesting Femininity: Vuillard’s Family Pictures.” The Art Bulletin, 79, no. 1 (March 1997): 85-111. Accessed November 2, 2013. http://www. jstor.org/stable/3046231. Trachtenberg, Marvin and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Postmodernity. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.

Howard, Deborah and Moretti, Laura. The Music Room in Early Modern France and Italy: Sound, Space, and Object. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. McReynolds, Daniel. “Restoring the Teatro Olimpico: Palladio’s Contested Legacy.” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 53 (2008): 153-212. Oosting, J. Thomas. “The Teatro Olimpico Design Sources: A Rationale for the Elliptical Auditorium.” Educational Theatre Journal 22, no. 3 (Oct, 1970): 256267.

Ackerman, James S. Palladio. New York: Penguin Books, 1966. Forsyth, Michael. “Acoustics.” In Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed November 24, 2013. Forsyth, Michael. Buildings for Music: The Architect, the

belvedere

Hermann Obrist: Wegbereiter der Moderne. München: Stuck-Jugendstil-Verein, 1968. Kockerbeck, Christoph. Ernst Haeckels “Kunstformen der Natur” und ihr Einfluss auf die deutsche bildende Kunst der Jahrhundertwende: Studie zum Verhältnis von Kunst und Naturwissenschaften im Wilhelminischen Zeitalter. Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1986.

Puppi, Lionello. Andrea Palladio: The Complete Works. New York: Electa/Rizzoli, 1989. Puppi, Lionello. Breve Storia del Teatro Olimpico. Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1973.

Obrist, Hermann. Neue Möglichkeiten in der Bildenden Kunst. Leipzig: E. Diederichs, 1903.

Saunders, George. A Treatise on Theatres. London: I & J Taylor, 1790.

Rinker, Dagmar. Der Münchner Jugendstilkünstler Hermann Obrist (1862-1927). München: Tuduv, 2001.

Tidworth, Simon. Theatres: An Illustrated History. London: Pall Mall Press, 1973.

Thümmler, Sabine. “Sources of Jugendstil in Germany: facets of the renewal from nature.” Apollo 151.459 (May 2000): 25-31.

Vitruvius. On Architecture. Translated by Richard V. Schofield. New York: Penguin Books, 2009. (Illustrated later by Palladio, 1556).

“Vanessa Roth—Big Year Productions.” Vanessa Roth - Big Year Productions. Accessed 10 Nov. 2013. http://www. bigyearprods.com/ Wilkins, Budd. “Interview: Frederick Wiseman.” Slant Magazine. January 16, 2012. http://www.slantmagazine.com/features/article/interview-frederick-wiseman

Logan, Mary. “Hermann Obrist’s Embroidered Decorations.” The Studio 9 (October 1896): 96-105. Morton, Marsha. “From Monera to Man: Ernst Haeckel, Darwinismus, and Nineteenth-Century German Art.” In The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinismus, and Visual Culture, edited by Barbara Larson and Fae Brauer, 59-91. Lebanon, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Press, 2009.

Waenerburg, Annika. “Vital Force as Leitmotif: Natural Processes and Design in Obrist’s Language of Forms.” In Hermann Obrist: Skulptur, Raum, Abstraktion um 1900, edited by Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl, 44-73. Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009.

HERMANN OBRIST: PROPHET OF ABSTRACTION Afuhs, Eva and Andreas Strobl. “First Principles for a Fragmented Oeuvre: An Introduction.” In Hermann Obrist: Skulptur, Raum, Abstraktion um 1900, edited by Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl, 14-43. Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009. Rammert-Götz, Michaela. “Wege zur Abstraktion in Münchner Jugendstil.” In Freiheit der Linie: von Obrist und dem Jugendstil zu Marx, Klee und Kirchner, edited by Erich Franz. Bönen: Kettler, 2007.

VITRUVIUS AND PALLADIO: CLASSICAL BEGINNINGS

54

Musician, and the Listener from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985.

Hand, Stacy. “Fire in Black and White: Natural History Illustrations and the Role of Perceptual Psychology in Hermann Obrist’s Work.” In Hermann Obrist: Skulptur, Raum, Abstraktion um 1900, edited by Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl, 74-97. Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009.

volume 1

AMERICAN TEACHERS AND HIGH SCHOOL Filmography American Teachers. Directed by Vanessa Roth and Brian McGinn. 2011. USA High School. Directed by Frederick Wiseman. 1968. USA: Zipporah Films. Bibliography Juzwiak, Rich. “’It’s Impossible To Be Objective’: An Interview with Frederick Wiseman.” Gawker. November 8, 2013. http://gawker.com/its-impossible-to-be-objective-an-interview-with-fr-1460976796 McLane, Betsy. A New History of Documentary Film. New York: Continuum, 2012.

Bibliographies

55


Pile, John. A History of Interior Design. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. Schmidt, Freek H. “Expose Ignorance and Revive the ‘Bon Goût’: Foreign Architects at Jacques-François Blondel’s École des Arts.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 61, no. 1 (March 2002): 4-29. http:// www.jstor.org/stable/991809 Scott, Katie. The Rococo Interior: Decoration and Social Spaces in Early Eighteenth-Century Paris. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

BEYOND TRANSPARENCY: A DISCUSSION AROUND GLASS IN 19TH CENTURY PARIS Broude, Norma. “Outing Impressionism.” In Gustave Caillebotte and the Fashioning of Identity in Impressionist Paris, edited by Norma Broude, 117-174. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002. Fierro, Annette. The Glass State: The Technology of the Spectacle Paris 1981-1998. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. Marcus, Sharon. Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999. Pollock, Griselda. Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art. London: Routledge, 1988. Sidlauskas, Susan. “Contesting Femininity: Vuillard’s Family Pictures.” The Art Bulletin, 79, no. 1 (March 1997): 85-111. Accessed November 2, 2013. http://www. jstor.org/stable/3046231. Trachtenberg, Marvin and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Postmodernity. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.

Howard, Deborah and Moretti, Laura. The Music Room in Early Modern France and Italy: Sound, Space, and Object. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. McReynolds, Daniel. “Restoring the Teatro Olimpico: Palladio’s Contested Legacy.” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 53 (2008): 153-212. Oosting, J. Thomas. “The Teatro Olimpico Design Sources: A Rationale for the Elliptical Auditorium.” Educational Theatre Journal 22, no. 3 (Oct, 1970): 256267.

Ackerman, James S. Palladio. New York: Penguin Books, 1966. Forsyth, Michael. “Acoustics.” In Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed November 24, 2013. Forsyth, Michael. Buildings for Music: The Architect, the

belvedere

Hermann Obrist: Wegbereiter der Moderne. München: Stuck-Jugendstil-Verein, 1968. Kockerbeck, Christoph. Ernst Haeckels “Kunstformen der Natur” und ihr Einfluss auf die deutsche bildende Kunst der Jahrhundertwende: Studie zum Verhältnis von Kunst und Naturwissenschaften im Wilhelminischen Zeitalter. Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1986.

Puppi, Lionello. Andrea Palladio: The Complete Works. New York: Electa/Rizzoli, 1989. Puppi, Lionello. Breve Storia del Teatro Olimpico. Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1973.

Obrist, Hermann. Neue Möglichkeiten in der Bildenden Kunst. Leipzig: E. Diederichs, 1903.

Saunders, George. A Treatise on Theatres. London: I & J Taylor, 1790.

Rinker, Dagmar. Der Münchner Jugendstilkünstler Hermann Obrist (1862-1927). München: Tuduv, 2001.

Tidworth, Simon. Theatres: An Illustrated History. London: Pall Mall Press, 1973.

Thümmler, Sabine. “Sources of Jugendstil in Germany: facets of the renewal from nature.” Apollo 151.459 (May 2000): 25-31.

Vitruvius. On Architecture. Translated by Richard V. Schofield. New York: Penguin Books, 2009. (Illustrated later by Palladio, 1556).

“Vanessa Roth—Big Year Productions.” Vanessa Roth - Big Year Productions. Accessed 10 Nov. 2013. http://www. bigyearprods.com/ Wilkins, Budd. “Interview: Frederick Wiseman.” Slant Magazine. January 16, 2012. http://www.slantmagazine.com/features/article/interview-frederick-wiseman

Logan, Mary. “Hermann Obrist’s Embroidered Decorations.” The Studio 9 (October 1896): 96-105. Morton, Marsha. “From Monera to Man: Ernst Haeckel, Darwinismus, and Nineteenth-Century German Art.” In The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinismus, and Visual Culture, edited by Barbara Larson and Fae Brauer, 59-91. Lebanon, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Press, 2009.

Waenerburg, Annika. “Vital Force as Leitmotif: Natural Processes and Design in Obrist’s Language of Forms.” In Hermann Obrist: Skulptur, Raum, Abstraktion um 1900, edited by Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl, 44-73. Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009.

HERMANN OBRIST: PROPHET OF ABSTRACTION Afuhs, Eva and Andreas Strobl. “First Principles for a Fragmented Oeuvre: An Introduction.” In Hermann Obrist: Skulptur, Raum, Abstraktion um 1900, edited by Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl, 14-43. Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009. Rammert-Götz, Michaela. “Wege zur Abstraktion in Münchner Jugendstil.” In Freiheit der Linie: von Obrist und dem Jugendstil zu Marx, Klee und Kirchner, edited by Erich Franz. Bönen: Kettler, 2007.

VITRUVIUS AND PALLADIO: CLASSICAL BEGINNINGS

54

Musician, and the Listener from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985.

Hand, Stacy. “Fire in Black and White: Natural History Illustrations and the Role of Perceptual Psychology in Hermann Obrist’s Work.” In Hermann Obrist: Skulptur, Raum, Abstraktion um 1900, edited by Eva Afuhs and Andreas Strobl, 74-97. Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009.

volume 1

AMERICAN TEACHERS AND HIGH SCHOOL Filmography American Teachers. Directed by Vanessa Roth and Brian McGinn. 2011. USA High School. Directed by Frederick Wiseman. 1968. USA: Zipporah Films. Bibliography Juzwiak, Rich. “’It’s Impossible To Be Objective’: An Interview with Frederick Wiseman.” Gawker. November 8, 2013. http://gawker.com/its-impossible-to-be-objective-an-interview-with-fr-1460976796 McLane, Betsy. A New History of Documentary Film. New York: Continuum, 2012.

Bibliographies

55


Editors

Ashley Kelleher Ashley is a M.S. History of Art and Design/M.S. Library and Information Science candidate from Kitchener Waterloo, Ontario. She graduated with honors from Queen’s University with a B.A.H. in Art History and Art Conservation studies, and worked in museum and archival collections before moving to Brooklyn to attend Pratt Institute in August 2012. During summer 2013 she studied abroad with the Pratt SILS’s London and Florence Summer Schools and had a total blast. Her master’s thesis will address the current contribution of neuroaesthetics to art historical methodologies. Katherina Fostano Katherina is a dual-degree candidate at Pratt Institute pursuing a master’s in both Art History and Library and Information Science. Prior to attending Pratt, she graduated with honors from Florida Atlantic University with a B.A. in Art History. Through her art historical research, she tries to expound how constructed ideas were communicated through the visual arts in order to instruct or elicit moral reform from the masses. Her master’s thesis will focus on the graphic satire and visual propaganda used during the Protestant Reformation. Katherina has worked at The Cloisters Museum and Garden as an archival intern and as a digitization intern at the Metropolitan Museum Libraries. Diana Bowers Diana completed a dual master’s degree in Art History and Library Science in fall 2014. She also completed an advanced certificate in Archives. Diana wrote her master’s thesis on the woodcut illustrations in the various editions of the 15th-century chronicle Fasciculus temporum. She currently works as the archivist for the Ray Johnson Estate. Anthony Vazquez Anthony completed his B.F.A. in Art History in May 2014. He came to study in Brooklyn from his home in sunny Miami, Florida. He studied abroad with the Pratt in Venice program and worked as the program’s undergraduate office assistant. Anthony wrote an undergraduate thesis on Gordon Matta-Clark’s films, performances, and interventions in New York City.

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Editors

Ashley Kelleher Ashley is a M.S. History of Art and Design/M.S. Library and Information Science candidate from Kitchener Waterloo, Ontario. She graduated with honors from Queen’s University with a B.A.H. in Art History and Art Conservation studies, and worked in museum and archival collections before moving to Brooklyn to attend Pratt Institute in August 2012. During summer 2013 she studied abroad with the Pratt SILS’s London and Florence Summer Schools and had a total blast. Her master’s thesis will address the current contribution of neuroaesthetics to art historical methodologies. Katherina Fostano Katherina is a dual-degree candidate at Pratt Institute pursuing a master’s in both Art History and Library and Information Science. Prior to attending Pratt, she graduated with honors from Florida Atlantic University with a B.A. in Art History. Through her art historical research, she tries to expound how constructed ideas were communicated through the visual arts in order to instruct or elicit moral reform from the masses. Her master’s thesis will focus on the graphic satire and visual propaganda used during the Protestant Reformation. Katherina has worked at The Cloisters Museum and Garden as an archival intern and as a digitization intern at the Metropolitan Museum Libraries. Diana Bowers Diana completed a dual master’s degree in Art History and Library Science in fall 2014. She also completed an advanced certificate in Archives. Diana wrote her master’s thesis on the woodcut illustrations in the various editions of the 15th-century chronicle Fasciculus temporum. She currently works as the archivist for the Ray Johnson Estate. Anthony Vazquez Anthony completed his B.F.A. in Art History in May 2014. He came to study in Brooklyn from his home in sunny Miami, Florida. He studied abroad with the Pratt in Venice program and worked as the program’s undergraduate office assistant. Anthony wrote an undergraduate thesis on Gordon Matta-Clark’s films, performances, and interventions in New York City.

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belvedere

volume 1


Founding Editors A. Kelleher D. Bowers K. Fostano A. Vasquez Pratt Journal of Art and Design History would like to thank our contributors to this inaugural volume for their time, advice, and generous support given toward bringing this project to life. Start-up Advisement Jill Song Gayle Rodda Kurtz Dorothea Dietrich Faculty Advisement Eva DĂ­az Dorothy Shepard Dorothea Dietrich Additional Advisement Mark Kremer, Editor in Chief, Pratt Journal of Architecture Faculty Editors Dorothea Dietrich Dorothy Shepard Published with the help of Pratt Institute Creative Services Pratt History of Art and Design Student Association Pratt Institute Student Government Association Alex Ullman, Assistant Director of Student Involvement Special Thanks to Department of History of Art and Design Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences Special thanks to Dean Andrew Barnes, Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, whose endorsement on behalf of the School has made possible this inaugural volume of belvedere. Publishing Information TK February 2015 Cover Art Caroline Absher Made for HA551: Manuscripts: Their Making and Decoration, taught by Dorothy Shepard in Spring 2014


i belvedere volume 1

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Spring 2015 Vol. 1

Pratt Journal of Art and Design History

belvedere Pratt Journal of Art and Design History is an annual review showcasing work produced by students of History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

Profile for Pratt Institute

belvedere | Journal of Art and Design History Vol. 1  

Monohon, Adam "Phoenix: Xu Bing at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine" Vasquez, Anthony "Sculpture Undone, 1955-1972: Alina Szapocz...

belvedere | Journal of Art and Design History Vol. 1  

Monohon, Adam "Phoenix: Xu Bing at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine" Vasquez, Anthony "Sculpture Undone, 1955-1972: Alina Szapocz...

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