View Full Version : modernism

04 April 2005, 12:27 AM
Hello all,

I have to write an essay about modernist and post-modernist cultural theory and practice(history of graphic design). where would be the best place to look to find the infos? I've already tried google, but most of them doesnt seem to make senses to me. Its the first time i have to look into modernism.
Also, whats the difference between the two?

Any help will be REMEMBER.

04 April 2005, 12:30 AM
I'm thinking that the library would be the best place to start... my hometown community library had an entire section (like 5000 books) devoted to art and art history.

04 April 2005, 12:47 AM
Hi Thinkart,

It has been several years since my Art History class, but I believe 'Modernism' embodies the movements traced to the likes of Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, Modrian, Kadinsky, Klee, early Picasso and so-on. 'Post-modernisn' is linked to those artists after WW2, such as Pollack, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Basquiat and Kiefer.

If you want to read a good book about Post-Modernism, try reading Thomas Wolfe's 'The Painted Word'.

04 April 2005, 02:08 AM
(outline info) Modern Industry popularized the use of art. You can use this at will.

One aspect about the modernism and art is that in modern times the daily use of products and goods connects us with some form of art in one way or another. Modern people desire beautifully designed good. This is due to the presentation of packaging design graphics, product design graphics, media design graphics and of course in the design of merchandise. This modern taste for easily available artistically designed goods has lead to the invention of machines like industrial printing presses. The industrialization of ink and paint pigment sciences,the mass production of ornate cloths, the industrialization of the casting processes lead to replication of craft works, metalworking, glass materials and many other artistically designed common everyday products. Art inmodern times has become a prevalent part of our every day lives do to industrial movements in one direction for another.

In the past craftsmen and women created artistically designed goods and decorative art. Today industries create artistically designed goods and decorative designs.

Even the computer art age owes it's existence to the computer based publishing industries that claimed and refined cg graphics for print. Later on the TV and film media industries incorporated cg graphics. And here we are at CGtalk today because of all of this making our own cg art. With all of the fancy machines and computers industries still need the artist that have existed since the first man and women laid their brush to the canvas to drive the process.

I hope this helps. And do what the others said, go to your library and catalog some more resources. Check out books on the 60's and 70's use of art in designs during those periods. And of course, check out the art deco period at the start of the 20th century. Depending on where you live, in urban areas such as in the UK London, US in New York, Miami or L.A. you can just go around with your digital camera and get some shots of the modern art that you will find in books.

Modern art is my all time favorite as it's all around us and we can make it whatever we choose it to be. Even if it just ends up as a good screen saver that nobody sees but us.

This would make a good CGtalk challenge topic.

Here is a good link-

I'm not even in class and I'm having fun with this.

04 April 2005, 11:50 AM
thanks for the useful infos. and ja, thanks for taking time to write all that, thats well written. Do you write alot? how did you learnt to write?

I have to say that this forum rocks.

04 April 2005, 01:10 PM
Ah, the memories... We spent about a year studying this stuff at uni. :)

For modernism, do some searches on the Bauhaus. That was one of the epicenters of the modernist design movement. As far as art, also check out Futurism (Marinetti), Constructivism (Rodchenko, Malevich, Lissitsky), De Stijl (Mondrian), Cubism (Picasso, Braque), Dada and Surrealism (Dali, Magritte, Duchamp), since they're all once big inbred happy family that can fall under the banner of Modernism.

Wikipedia ( on any of those key words should give you a good overview and starting point for your research.


Andrew W
04 April 2005, 01:20 PM
As I remember Stam, Burgoyne and Flitterman-Lewis's "New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics - Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and Beyond" was pretty good on the basics, though obviously with a bias toward the moving image. That's published by Routledge. I'd also urge you strongly to read John Berger's "Ways of Seeing", published by Penguin. The other must read book would be Robert Hughes' "The Shock of the New".

Hope they help a bit.


04 April 2005, 02:50 PM
thanks for the useful infos. and ja, thanks for taking time to write all that, thats well written. Do you write alot? how did you learnt to write?

I have to say that this forum rocks.

Thanks, I write a bit. Reading lots of books and web content can help you to examine writing styles. In high school my teacher advised me to write a journal of my weekly activities and this was very helpful also. I find that communicating in web forums online is very helpful in developing writing skills as your words are exposed to the public and you can get direct feedback about what you write about. Writing is a form of communication just like talking but it can be more powerful than a conversation because you create records of every detail as to what was mentioned. This allows many others to experience your words and thoughts later on.

Giving tips to others about stuff that I have learned is what I enjoy to do. And I think that it encourages them to do the same also. On CGtalk we can see this process in action and everybody wins in the end.

Have fun with your assignment!

04 April 2005, 04:01 PM
Modernism by Charles Harrison.
It's none to long but it's competent. And is in fact used at art schools in classes art history.

Looks like this:

04 April 2005, 06:09 PM
it may sound bizarre, but Terry Eagleton's book 'Literary Theory' is one of the best books I've ever read to explain 'theory' in general. You will find that most of the chapters are applicable to visual arts although, of course, its all about literature. Eagleton writes because HE WANTS YOU TO UNDERSTAND HIM, not because he's trying to impress you.

read it anyway :)

04 April 2005, 05:24 AM
"Age of the Avante-Garde"
by Hilton Kramer
this book is a very lucid summary of the artists of these periods. His work is much easier to follow than many other art critics.

"Other Criteria"
by Leo Steinberg
this is another powerful, but clear and easy to understand book.

I am not sure of thier current availability, but if they are available definitely check them out


04 April 2005, 06:59 PM
Have you check in libraries or bookstores? :D

04 April 2005, 09:22 PM
Modernism is a broad term. For an essay you don't really need much, but to address the historical background, cultural influence, and main figures throughout it history. If the essay is about the history of Modern Graphic design, then you have a different topic to deal with. Now, if Post Modernism need to be included, it is not an essay anymore. This is a research by itself.

Just a basic start, look for this link

You have to remember though, Modernism with capital M is different than "modernism". The former refers to the revolutionary movement in human thinking started by Nietzsche (the German Philosopher) and the father of Modernism. Freud is another giant figure in the history of Modernism. Le Corbusier (architect) is one of the greatest Modernists in Architecture, Kandinsky in Arts, and so on.

Good luck in your search,


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