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Pollock's White Light of 1954 (fig. 29.7) eliminates all reference to recognizable objects. Lines of different widths and textures swirl through the picture space and are slashed diagonally at various points. There is an underlying chromatic organization of yellows and oranges blending with, and crisscrossed by, thick blacks and whites. 29.7 Jackson Pollock, White Light, 1954. Oil, enamel, and aluminum paint on canvas, 48¼ × 38¼ in. (122.4 × 96.9 cm). Museum of Modern Art, New York (Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection). Pollock was born in Wyoming and moved to New York in 1929. He worked for the Federal Arts Project and had his first one-man show in 1943 at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery. Pollock first exhibited paintings such as this in 1948 to a shocked public. A critic for Time magazine dubbed him "Jack the Dripper," but avant-garde critics came to his defense. Within a few years of his death, he was the most widely exhibited of all the artists of the New York school. The white, as indicated by the title, is what predominates, and the intensity of Pollock's light is everywhere present. His habit of trimming finished canvases enhances their dynamic quality, for the lines appear to move rhythmically in and out of the picture plane, unbound by either an edge or a frame, as if self-propelled"Jack the Dripper"
Pollock believed in the idea of letting things fall where they may, so if something accidently feel on his canvas it was not removed, i.e. a cigarette butt.
Color Field Painting
The small collage Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? (fig. 30.1), by the English artist Richard Hamilton (born 1922), was originally intended for reproduction on a poster. It can be considered a visual manifesto of what was to become the Pop Art movement. First exhibited in London in a 1956 show titled "This Is Tomorrow," Hamilton's collage inspired an English critic to coin the term "Pop." The muscleman in the middle of the room is a conflation of the Classical Spear Bearer (see fig. 7.14) by Polykleitos and the Medici Venus (see fig. 15.15). The giant Tootsie Pop directed toward the woman on the couch is at once a sexual, visual, and verbal pun. Advertising images occur in the sign pointing to the vacuum hose, the Ford car emblem, and the label on the tin of ham. Massmedia imagery is explicit in the tape recorder, television set, newspaper, and movie theater. The framed cover of Young Romance magazine reflects popular teenage reading of the 1950s. Despite the iconographic insistence on what was contemporary, however, Hamilton's collage contains traditional historical references. The image of a white-gloved Al Jolson on the billboard advertising The Jazz Singer recalls an earlier era of American entertainment. The oldfashioned portrait on the wall evokes an artistic past, and the silicon pinup on the couch is a plasticized version of the traditional reclining nude. Hamilton's detailed attention to the depiction of objects, especially those associated with domestic interiors, reveals his respect for fifteenthcentury Flemish painters, as well as his stated admiration for Duchamp.
were the two leading critics most closely associated with American Abstract Expressionism. In 1952 Rosenberg coined the term action painting to describe the new techniques of applying paint. For American artists, he said, the canvas became "an arena in which to act—rather than . . . a space in which to reproduce. . . . What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event." Rather than begin a painting with a preconceived image, the Abstract Expressionists approached their canvases with the idea of doing something to it. "The image," wrote Rosenberg, "would be the result of this encounter."³ Greenberg took issue with Rosenberg's assessment on the grounds that painting thus became a private myth. Because such work did not resonate with a larger cultural audience, according to Greenberg, it could not be considered art. But he was nevertheless a staunch defender of abstraction, noting that subject matter had nothing to do with intrinsic value. "The explicit comment on a historical event offered in Picasso's Guernica," he wrote in 1961, "does not make it necessarily a better or richer work than an utterly 'non-objective' painting by Mondrian."4 Greenberg described the shift in the artists' view of pictorial space as having "lost its 'inside' and become all 'outside.' " He surveyed this shift from the fourteenth century as follows: From Giotto to Courbet, the painter's first task had been to hollow out an illusion of three-dimensional space on a flat surface. One looked through this surface as through a proscenium into a stage. Modernism has rendered this stage shallower and shallower until now its backdrop has become the same as its curtain, which h
One of the more interesting personalities of twentiethcentury design was R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), philosopher, poet, architect, and engineer, as well as a cult figure among American college students. His architecture expresses his belief that the world's problems can be solved through technology. One of his first designs (1927-28) was a house he called Dymaxion, a name conflating "dynamic" and "maximum." These were key concepts for Fuller, who aimed at achieving the maximum output with the minimum energy consumption. The Dymaxion house was a prefabricated factory-assembled structure that hung from a central mast and cost no more to build than a car. A later invention was a three-wheeled Dymaxion car, but, like the house, it was never produced commercially. Buckminster Fuller is best known for the geodesic dome. It is composed of polyhedral units (from the Greek words 31.8 R. Buckminster Fuller, American Pavilion, Expo '67, Montreal, 1967. Buckminster Fuller was descended from eight generations of New England lawyers and ministers. He was expelled from Harvard twice, served in the U.S. Navy in World War I, and worked in the construction business. In 1959 he became a professor of design science at Southern Illinois University. Buckminster Fuller's abiding interest in education is revealed by his belief that all children are born geniuses. "It is my conviction from having watched a great many babies grow up," he said, "that all of humanity is born a genius and then becomes de-geniused very rapidly by unfavourable circumstances and by the frustration of all their extraordinary built-in capabilities."² poly, "many," and hedron, "side")—usually either tetrahedrons (four-sided figures) or octahedrons (eight-sided figures). The units are assembled in the shape of a sphere. This structure offers four main advantages. First, because it is a sphere, it encloses the maximum volume per unit of surface area. Second, the strength of the framework increases logarithmically in proportion to its size. This fulfills Fuller's aim of combining units to create greater strength than the units have individually. Third, the dome can be constructed of any material at very low cost. And fourth, it is easy to build. Apart from purely functional structures such as greenhouses and hangars, however, the geodesic dome has been used very little. Fuller's design for the American Pavilion at the Montreal Expo of 1967 (fig. 31.8) reveals both its utility and its curious aesthetic attraction. (The architectural principle underlying the geodesic dome is shared by a class of carbon molecules named "fullerenes," after Buckminster Fuller. They were discovered in the late 1980s, and they possess unique qualities of stability and symmetry.)
By 1977 Lloyd's of London, the international insurance market, needed new quarters. In addition to accommodating the more than five thousand people who use the building every day, the new Lloyd's had to adapt to technological advances in communications that were revolutionizing the insurance and other financial markets. The commission for the new Lloyd's building went to the firm of Richard Rogers (born 1933), an English architect who had been jointly responsible for the Pompidou Center in Paris in the 1970s. The irregular triangular space that Rogers had to work with in London was large, but not large enough to accommodate all of the underwriting staff on one floor. Rogers solved the problem in two ways. First, he created an atrium—the original central court of Etruscan and Roman houses—and wrapped all the floors around it. The atrium, an architectural feature that was widely revived in the 1970s, is a rectangle rising the entire height of the building (twelve floors) and culminating in a barrelvaulted glass and steel roof (fig. 31.12). The three lower floors form galleries around the atrium. Together, they make up the approximately 115,000 square feet (10,700 m²) where underwriters sit and negotiate terms with brokers. This solution visually unified the working areas of the building and illuminated them from above. Second, Rogers left the atrium space as flexible and open as possible by housing all the ancillary services— air-conditioning ducts, elevators, staircases, toilet facilities, and so forth—in satellite towers built apart from the main structure. At the top of the towers are boxlike "plant rooms," which dominate distant views of the building. Each room is three stories high and contains elevator motors, tanks, and an air-handling plant. On the roofs, bright yellow cradles for carrying maintenance crews are suspended from blue cranes