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有关艺术理论的英语论文

时间:2015-06-14 18:15:21 来源:www.ukthesis.org 作者:英国论文网 点击联系客服: 客服:Damien
艺术理论和艺术
 
无论是作家,画家,雕塑家,音乐家,或者是摄影家,全世界的艺术家都在一直努力向人们展示着他们对世界的看法,人,甚至是宇宙本身,纵观历史,人类的创造欲望给人一种不同的视角或者再现生活,甚至连来生都已经浮出水面了,在一次次的艺术品形成的过程当中。有时它是天才的创作和复杂性的结合,充满着意义和象征。对于其他人而言,这是简单没有任何含义的东西而不是件艺术。然而当艺术作品不再是可以看看和了解的东西,它就慢慢变得重要了,原则问题已经改变,艺术从直接地了解到理论成为艺术的现代运动,你要理解它就必须知道它是基于这一项理论之上的。从来没有比这个更明显地抽象表现主义的艺术作品了。从本质上来讲,作品并不是艺术,基于理论上的艺术不能真正意义上的定义为创造性艺术。
 
On Art Theory As Art
 
Whether it be writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, or photographers, artists all over the world have striven to show people their views of the world, of people, and even of the universe itself. Throughout history the creative urge of man to present to fellow men a different perspective or representation of life-or even the afterlife-has surfaced time and time again in the form of artwork. Sometimes it comes through genius and complexity, full of meaning and symbolism. Others, it is simple and void of any clear meaning at all other than that it is art. Soon, however, there became a point when the work of art was no longer something one could just look at and understand; the principle of the matter had changed. Art leapt from viewable understanding straight into the Modern movement where theory became art, and to understand it, one must know the theory it is based upon. Never was this more apparent than in the artwork of the abstract expressionist. Essentially, artwork is not art because of theory, and art based on theory cannot be creative or truly said to be art.
 
To understand all of this, from the beginning, one must begin with the Word. That is to say, one must start with the understanding of the theory, what became known as the painted Word, behind Modern art between 1945 and 1975. Probably the clearest and easiest to understand explanation of these theories and how they progressed through Modern Art history has been written by Tom Wolfe in a book cleverly titled The Painted Word. Wolfe has written several other books including From Bauhaus to Our House and The Bonfire of the Vanities. Within the pages of The Painted Word one finds a brilliant explanation of Modern Art and the theories it is based upon as well as a summary of the most influential critics and artists of the time. In order to contemplate why Modern Art is not truly what one would call art, exploration of the Word and how it developed is an absolute necessity. The simplest way to do so is by exploring Tom Wolfe's book.#p#分页标题#e#

Wolfe explains that artists rely on the "culturati", or high society members whose thoughts and actions are under the spot light at all times, to get their work noticed. These individuals like the newest of the new because it gives them a form of social status which separates them from the rest of society, and by all means if they can understand the newest modes of fashion and discuss them intelligently, all for the better. "The Boho Dance", as Wolfe calls it, occurs because it is the "culturati"-who tend to be the museum curators, the art critics, etc.-who will decide what art is fashionable and what art is not; they tell the world which artists are the greatest and which are like children dabbling in finger paints. So all any artist could truly hope for was a member of the culturati noticing their work and hopefully supporting them and funding them. The biggest dream of an artist is to be a name, Wolfe says; to be known, popular, to become a member of "culturati" because you are the creator of the current fashion. Essentially, to be genius because those art critics and those high society members say you are genius, and the rest of society, who try to catch up so hard with the "culturati" and never quite make it, flounders to support the new craze which is usually dead and gone by the time they all grasp it.

What basically happens is that the chic of these "culturati" will put greater and greater emphasis on art theory. They do this around the 1920's and 1930's more and more simply because the art work of the Modern movement is becoming so odd. In other words, so abstract or distorted that it takes great understanding of the artist and the artwork's meaning to actually like it. But it is simply because the art was becoming so odd that the "culturati" ate it up. It was different, it was new, and if you could claim you understood it and explain how you understood it when no one else did, you were definitely chic. Essentially, Modern Art allowed the "culturati" to move even further apart from the rest of society-they could be even more unique than before because they actually liked this stuff that was strange and pointless to try to understand if you didn't know the theories it was being painted behind.
 
As Wolfe explains, however, it isn't just the "culturati" that cause this great influence on art theory. Art critics all over the United States want, as always, to fit in with the chic of the chic and to be able to control what fashions are the craze. It is, after all, their critiques which usually control the flow of the fashion. Modern Art's foremost critical influences in the United States, as Wolfe presents in The Painted Word, are Greenberg, Rosenberg, and later, Steinberg.
 
Greenberg believed that art was heading into a final destination of "purity", and that the final destination of all that is truly art is what he called "Flatness" (Wolfe 49). Essentially what this meant was that because the painting is indeed a flat surface made to appear like a three dimensional plane by the painter, most painting was illusion. They began to conclude that the two-dimensionality of the canvas plane was what was important, not the illusion they could create on it. Greenberg seemed intense on the point of flatness-as Wolfe puts it, it became "an obsession, one might say" (50). The purity of flatness essentially came down to a style in which lines, forms, colors, and contours all are merged eloquently in such a unification with the flatness of the canvas that it is art, as pure as art can be. Until 1950 or so, most of the basic art theories originated with the ideas of Greenberg and the purity of flatness.#p#分页标题#e#
 
Out of the woodwork comes Rosenberg, who basically "came up with a higher synthesis" which more or less combined Greenberg's ideas-which seem almost chaining in their pureness-with the idea that without shattering the flatness or purity of the painting, the painter can express all the emotions he means to portray in the way he paints as opposed to line and form. Rosenberg called this solution "Action Painting", and he said that "at a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act…What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event." (qtd. in Wolfe 51) The idea of the action painter exploded in popularity, and it seemed there would at last be an end to the quest for purity.
 
And for many years abstract expressionism would be the odd end to this quest, at least that is, until young Leo Steinberg took abstract expressionism and with the help of a few other critics opened everyone's eyes to the fact that they had it all wrong. As Wolfe explains, the idea basically became that abstract expressionism betrayed the purity of flatness simply because it also could create an illusion in which the viewer could fly into. Pre-Modern art was not pure because it was an illusion the viewer could imagine walking into, and thus the flatness of the canvas plane was betrayed. With abstract expressionism, Steinberg said, one could "fly" into the swirls and splatters of paint, between the lines, into the airy planes of color and imagine soaring around the one line down the center of the piece or whatever. As Wolfe puts it mildly, "the Abstract Expressionists had been dealing in 'open atmospheric effects'…aerial 'double-dealing'" that essentially destroys the entire purity idea Greenberg and Rosenberg said was abstract expressionism. (Wolfe 78) The work of Jasper Johns is what Steinberg referred to as being pure simply because he used objects that were flat be their very nature as his subjects-flags, numbers. In essence, Steinberg blew Abstract Expressionism out of the water almost overnight. Something had finally come along to crush the pureness abstract expressionism represented and, in the end, proved it to be a sort of post-pure artform. This art became Pop Art because it used sign systems and the like as its subjects. (Wolfe 83). To make long stories short, more or less, art theory spirals at this point straight down the line from Pop Art to Op Art, and even further and further down into the ideas of reduction and minimalism and finally comes out at the end as pure art theory-words on a page in a magazine, a typed work of art that is published as art because it throws everything right out and in the end is the purest form any art can be, according to Wolfe: Art Theory. (Wolfe 109)
 
What happened is that flatness and pureness and all of the theories supported by and created by Greenberg, Rosenberg, and Steinberg all became the Word. That is, they became the one thing any viewer of any art was to know before they could appreciate the piece. One had to step over the line of realism and rationality and into the odd world the critics and artists had created to be able to understand the art finally. They had to know the "Painted Word". And so comes the conclusion to why an exploration of Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word had to occur before any understanding of why any art grounded merely in theory is no longer art, why the mere idea of art being creative is sapped away by the ingenious theories of the great men of the 1900's. What is creative are the theories all of the artwork had been created within and based upon. Theory spun the artists' brushes until the brushes could no longer create art themselves. The theory became art, and the art that would have been created through imagination and visualization became nothing, seen as existential baggage which tainted the purity of theory.#p#分页标题#e#
 
The artwork of the Abstract Expressionist is the best example of art gone mad by theory-not because it is the worse of the Modern movement, but rather because it is the best of the maddened arts. In abstract expressionism, the painters have yet to exterminate form and color and line entirely, as will happen later after Pop Art shatters the solidity of its pureness. It is because abstract expressionism failed in doing this entirely that we find the best examples of uncreative theory driven artwork. Also, abstract expressionism is the beginning of the great trip into "purity" and "flatness", the things which Greenberg and Rosenberg fought for as being true, untainted, art. It is only logical to choose the starting point of the spiraling art-theory-becoming-artwork process and to prove how it is not art from the beginning rather than proving how its final destination is not a creative, inspiring artform. Therefore, ever so briefly, travel into the mid-twentieth century and observe the Abstract Expressionists as they paint, and discover along the way who the most influential of them were and how they painted.
 
Probably the first true Abstract Expressionist, and the leader in the movement of abstract expressionism was Jackson Pollock. (Chiu et al. 138) Where the art of Cubism and Fauvism before Abstract Expressionism were abstractions of specific subjects and the like, abstract expressionism itself completely abolishes the idea of an actual subject. This begins with Pollock, whose work resembles the name "Action Painter" given the new art by Rosenberg-and abstract expressionism becomes synonymous with the word action-painting. Pollock was more concerned with the expression of the painting itself rather than the subject matter of the piece. (Russell 314) He would tack the canvas on the floor and dance around it with cans of paint, dribbling it on the canvas or flinging it off the brush or splattering it with powerful strokes; hence action-painting. Pollock's work generally has no subject matter other than the expressive explosion of feeling that appears on his canvases within swirls and splatters and intricate dribbles. With Pollock is the start of the purity in flatness Greenberg always referred to-in fact, Greenberg was best buds with Pollock when he first came up with the idea of flatness. (Wolfe 56) It is with Pollock as well that we see the beginning of abstract expressionism occur.
 
As Jackson Pollock marches with the Abstract Expressionists onward from the 1940's through the 1950's, other artists take their own twists and turns with abstract expressionism. There is Franz Kline, who lived from 1910 to 1962, with his expressive and bold black streaks which break up the stark white of the canvas plane into pieces of hard-edged shards, bringing to mind the idea of emboldened and enlarged Chinese characters. (Tansey and Kleiner 1099) Beyond Kline abstract expressionism moves on through Willem de Kooning, who used the action-painting style as Pollock did to create both pieces of abstract expressionism which were wrought with slashed strokes and harsh movement and other paintings of large women, distorted and abstracted by the brush strokes and colors he used. (Russell 308-311) de Kooning's work varied between the abstraction of subjects and pure abstract expressionism, but he always insisted that the figures within the work-abstract or not-must all have a likeness to eachother. (Russell 309) Aside de Kooning, and perhaps farther set apart from the action painters is Arshile Gorky, who used abstract expressionism melded with surrealism to create forms of color that melted into each other to form contours of humanoid bodies or other subjects held within a background that made it all seem so flat and daydream-like. (Schapiro 182) In Gorky's work one can actually see and understand what is meant. There is more soul and pure art in the work of Gorky than in the abstract expressionists striving for the flatness that is purity according to art theory. Unfortunately, according to the art theory that drove abstract expressionism, it would not be surprising that Gorky's work not be seen as fitting in because one might walk into the paintings, and therefore they truly are not "flat". The same thing applies to the work of Nicolas de Stael, who created "harmonious arrangements of colors and shapes" by using as models "figures, objects, and their settings". (Tansey and Kleiner 1100) Because de Stael's style created scenes that, even though were abstract in expressive brush strokes, form, and color, still did not conform to the ideas that comprised art theory of the time, his work could be seen as not fitting in because it is art rather than theory.#p#分页标题#e#
 
There is one other painter during abstract expressionism who contributed a lot to the art theories of Greenberg specifically, and who created his works at precisely the same time frame as the other painters mentioned above. His name is Barnett Newman, and he was part of a style referred to as Post-Painterly Abstraction, a sort of subsetting of abstract expressionism. Along with him, among the "color-field" painters, as they were also called, was Mark Rothko. The general idea of the color-fielders was to paint huge fields of color on large canvases and divide them or meld them into fields of another color. Rothko liked to meld the color fields on the canvas, blurring the separation of the colors, whereas Newman used thin dividing lines to separate the huge color blocks he painted-sometimes fields of different colors, sometimes the same color. (Russell 323) These Post-Painterly Abstraction painters are the extreme of Greenberg's idea of a perfectly pure painting. Though it is perhaps not meant to portray the art theory of the time-Newman was attempting to express his feelings regarding "the tragic condition of modern life" and the general fight for survival human beings endure-Newman's work portrays an utterly uncreative artform. He attempted to use the art theory of the day-flatness, flatness!-to express something so incredibly complex and full of power that the fields of color divided by what he referred to as "zips" could not possibly get the message across by themselves alone. It could be said that Pollock better expressed these ideas than Newman's attempts.
 
The problems Newman's work faces-like most of the forced uncreativeness of the abstract expressionists aiming to please critics and their theories as well as themselves-can easily be seen in his painting "Ulysses" at the Menil Collection gallery in Houston, Texas. Painted in 1952, Newman created it in the middle of the abstract expressionism art and the Greenbergian and Rosenbergian art theories that were hot as blazing suns at the time. Attempting to find the purest form to express his thoughts on the canvas, Newman uses the art theory-or the art theory uses him-and creates the huge color-field paintings that both stifle the true creativity he was expressing and void out any meaning he meant to convey in the purity. "Ulysses" is about twelve feet in height and roughly three and a half to four feet wide. The right side of the painting, for about a foot, is a dark navy blue while the complete left-hand side is a lighter dull blue. Between the two colors, a thin white line separates them, nearly smeared over by the blue in some places, almost ghostly in its harshness. The brushstrokes of the piece suggest utter lack of creativity, starting at the bottom as wide back-and-forth strokes and ending at the top with hurried groupings as if he wanted to be done with it. "Ulysses" is very easy to get lost in due to its vastness, and it seems like it could start the viewer on an internal quest of self, as if they were in the painting and could find themselves within if they only looked hard enough. The simplicity is calm and benevolent though the entire creative aspect is lost somewhere within the color fields, and it leaves one to wonder if Newman was painting or constructing something to be seen as art. It seems more the later-a construction of art theory personified in the artist's expression of thought. In the end, the final analysis is that, though it seems to enrapture the viewer by the simplicity of its pureness, there is a complete lack of creativity on the part of the artist. "Ulysses" remains mysterious and Newman remains aloof as a creator of art. He is more a constructor in his abstract expressionism than the creative genius one usually associates with brilliant artists.#p#分页标题#e#
 
What all of this boils down to is that the wondrous aspect of the Painted Word, the convergence of art theory into art as opposed to being drawn from it, created a vacuum of creativity on the artist's part, whether or not it was intentional. One could see works of art similar to Pollock within their own family-the famed artist, their three-year-old nephew, his medium finger paint and construction paper. Essentially, art that became the art theory essentially built itself into the uncreative wasteland of the harsh finerity of logical reason and thought-because a canvas is flat creative illusion upon the canvas is no longer the chic thing to explore; now explore the flatness and throw everything to the wind. It all became a complex paint-by-numbers, with Greenberg and Rosenberg passing out the rules and the artists fighting to fit what creativity they could into the stringent guidelines given them. The true artists that came out of abstract expressionism were those who defied the two-dimensionality of flatness and expressed what they wanted to through the paintbrush creatively-de Stael and Gorky, to name two. Art that is visualized within the creative imagination before being placed on canvas as opposed to being slapped on according to guidelines the Painted Word created is the true free form of art. Art theory, creative and impressive as it is, can never truly be the art it aspires to.
 
Works Cited
 
Chiu, Tony, et al. Seven Centuries of Art. Alexandria: Time Life Books, 1970.
Russell, John. The Meanings of Modern Art. New York: Harper and Row, 1981.
Schapiro, Meyer. Modern Art: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. New York: George
Braziller, Inc., 1978.
Tansey, Richard G. and Fred S. Kleiner. Gardner's Art Through the Ages, Tenth Edition.
Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1996.
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