Junk Art – This art movement became “official” in the mid-1950’s. This was around the same time as Pop and Funk art, proving it is most durable of the 3 movements. Technically this art movement is alive and well today and showing no signs of slowing down.
Art that fits this movement is purposefully made from what is considered junk and repurposed to give it a new value. This is often seen as a comment on the wastefulness of society or the inherit subjectivity of value. The materials of this movement are often also deliberately ugly and only become works of art as a whole.
This movement is also associated with ideas associated with consumerism and waste. Artist working in this vein will often use the materials in a juxtaposition commenting on the wastefulness of society. An example of this use of juxtaposition and recontextualization would be making a fish out of lures, flaying knives, and other nautical items.
Assemblage Art – a 3-D artistic process involving putting together found objects to make works of art. This art form was invented by Pablo Picasso and got its name in the 1950’s threw the artwork of Jean Dubuffet. The goal of this process is to recontextualize the objects into a new work of art.
Pop Art – An art movement that occurred in the 1950’s that focused on consumerism and popular culture. This movement popularized the exploration of wastefulness in society and the idea of challenging the concept of what art is.
Recontextualization – to place in a different context
Louise Nevelson – Born Leah Berliawsky, Nevelson was an assemblage, abstract expressionist, and minimalist artist that was born on September 23, 1899 in Kiev, Russia. Her father immigrated to the United States, leaving his family alone. Louise Nevelson was so traumatized that she stopped talking for six months. In 1905 her father settled in Rockland, Maine and set for the rest of the family. This move was brought on by the persecution of the Jewish community by the Tsarist Russians. She changed her name in 1920 and married Charles Nevelson. After 11 years they divorced due to her discontent with the middle-class life style. Louise Nevelson studied cubist art in Munich, Germany for six months before the Nazis closed her art studies school. Her first public showing was in 1933; two years later her art work was part of an exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum. During this time Nevelson was what is often referred to as a “starving artist.” In 1967 an art show in Whitney Museum marked a turning point in her career. During her career she worked with, learned from, or knew artists such as Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi, Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Nevelson was known for her extravagant personality style and feminist ideals. This included dressing in long dresses, false eyelashes, and other strange fashion statements.
Louise Nevelson was known for using wooden (the most frequent material), plexiglass, aluminum, enamel, steel and bronze items group together and assembled in a cubist fashion painted in neutral monochromatic colors. She avoided typical carpentry to make her works of art. Her process was purely additive. Nevelson stacked objects, avoiding carving, and nailed them together.
Gabriel Dishaw – A junk artist born in Michigan; known for making junk sculptures since the mid 1990’s. His favorite objects of use are disassembled objects, such as computers, typewriters, and similar devices.
Leo Sewell – Leo Sewell is an assemblage artist from Philadelphia that made good use of the fact he grew up near a dump. Despite never receiving formal training, Leo Sewell shows a natural sense for putting together disparate objects into works of art. He has used people’s trash, garbage, and refuse for over 50 years to create over 4,000 imaginative creations that have even been as large as a 40 foot torch. Leo Sewell favors plastic, metal and wood. No matter how weird or useless the object seems Leo Sewell can use it as a part of a beautiful work of art. He fixes these materials together using a combination of nails, bolts, screwing, and welding.
Balance: The sense that a picture is visually balanced.
Symmetrical: Both sides (top and bottom, right and left, etc) of the picture are the same.
Radial: A picture balanced around a central point and that can be rotated 3 or more times and still look the same. (example to the left)
Asymmetrical Balance: A picture that is visually balanced but different on each side.
Rhythm: Similar elements or patterns that repeat (PRRAF)
Regular: A pattern that is much like a beat in music. Its continuous and always the same.
Alternating: A pattern that switches back and forth like a zig zag or a wavy line.
Progressive: A pattern type that slowing changes in shape, size or another element of art.
Random: A pattern that uses a motif or an element that ties a group of randomly organized shapes together.
Flowing: A pattern type that uses several similar marks to create a general sense. Water often has flowing rhythms. (Image to the left)
Emphasis: The place your eye is drawn to first in a picture
Point of Emphasis: A technique for emphasis that uses directional forces to “point” to a central location.
Framing: The technique for emphasis that “frames” the object or area of emphasis with some element of art.
Grouping: Putting several similar shapes or other elements close together creating emphasis
Contrast: Using an element that is different then the rest of the piece to create emphasis.
Size: Creating emphasis by making the area of emphasis the largest thing in the piece.
Clarity/Detail: A type of emphasis that uses greater detail in the areas where the point of emphasis is. The image to the right shows this because the girl has the most detail, while the background is fussy.
Movement: The sense of motion or the feel that your eye is carried around the picture, visually. This can be implied, directional (pointing) or real.
Contrast: Elements or Principles in a picture that contrast with one another. Such as white and black, rough and smooth, or bright and dull.
Harmony: Using similar elements and principles in such a way that everything in a picture “feels” like it belongs. This can be done with similar elements such as soft textures.