I picked this book up at one of the best used bookstores I’ve ever visited, ABCD in Camden Maine (though my Great Uncle Frank Piskor, a huge bibliophile, used to say they had “New York prices.”). It’s a MoMA book from 1961, and Uncle Frank was right; it was $6.50 new, and $75 used forty years later. I’m going to let the jacket sum up Futurism for you because I would use up all of my blogging hours for the month trying to do it myself and I would not do half as good a job:
The Futurist artists…set out to create an art as exhilarating as Marinetti’s promise. They translated the kinetic rhythms and the confused, intense sensations of modern life into potent visual form, creating works of art of extraordinary emotional impact. The Futurists’ approach to art, their manifestos and demonstrations set a pattern for many art movements which followed, such as Constructivism, Dada, and Surrealism…and the sympathy between certain Futurist procedures and current endeavors is largely responsible for the growing interest in Futurism.”
-Joshua C. Taylor
The Futurists looked to the past to rebel against it than to be inspired by it, and they had a tinge of anarchy running through their movement. Alright, enough art history, think about what was going on in the 19-teens and you’ll get it. Onto the inspiration of color, shape, movement, and composed confusion:
Severini: The Boulevard 1910
Boccioni: The Street Pavers 1911
Balla: Mercury Passing Before the Sun as Seen Through a Telescope 1914
Balla: Iridescent Interpretation 1912
Balla: Girl Running on a Balcony 1912
Boccioni: Iron Man. Just Kidding! Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913
Carra: “Free-Word” Painting (Patriotic Celebration) 1914
Boccioni: The Calvary Charge 1914
Hmmm, O.K., so the late fifties/early sixties are the time of the “current endeavors” Taylor alludes to. That makes total sense when you think about the art scene in the sixties and beyond. I’m seeing a lot of inspiration here for Jim Dine and Robert Indiana and Andy Warhol. Think of whatever Cooper is hanging in his office on Mad Men, think of how the space race would have effected art the way the industrial revolution and speeding cars and airplanes did decades earlier.
It makes me wonder what kind of art will come out of this tumultuous time in history. We’ve seen the architecture, we’re seeing how the fear of a crashing plane affects design, how security concerns keep campuses from planting shrubs, how we memorialize heroes and events. How are tumultuous times and technology and all of the new ways of presenting media and communicating affecting art today? Please tell me what you think as it’s kind of blowing my mind just thinking about it at them moment.