Art Vocabulary: Discover the Art World from A to Z

Art Vocabulary: Discover the Art World from A to Z

The vocal L letter is considered to have either Semitic or Greek origin. Talking about ancient Greeks, they had a lambda sign commonly used in scientific works that we can still see today, looking up some maths and physics books. Nevertheless, L is very artistic as well! Follow its beautiful and mild sounding and learn a couple of curious art definitions and art persons.

Richard Long — an English sculptor and a bright representative of Land Art movement. Richard Long was born in Bristol, England in 1945. Just like many other artists, he started showing his creativity from the early age on, making mud pieces, drawing and painting. He was enrolled in the Bristol art school and, whoever thought, kicked out of the institution two years later. Back then, it might have disappointed Richard but now artist recalls the case ironically. ‘That was the biggest break I had in my whole life, getting thrown out of Bristol’ — he says. Long continued studying at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London, where he was strongly influenced by his teachers, Anthony Caro and Phillip King as well as his peers: e.g. George Passmore, the future member of the Gilbert & George famous duo. Saint Martin’s was a perfect free-spirited place for Richard to thrive and to set a right artistic course. Richard Long started creating his first art environmental works during the studies, thus he contributed greatly to the formation of Land Art movement. His art has always been primitive in a sense it is inseparable from nature and retrospects the origins of human civilization. The inherent feature of Long’s works are circles made of any raw materials in the open space that he chooses carefully each time. ‘I can make a circle of words, I can make a circle of stones, I can make a circle of mud with my hands on a wall, I can walk in a circle for one hundred miles’ Richard Long said in one interview over 30 years ago. Nothing has really changed ever since. The artist lives and works in Bristol and stays true to the chosen philosophy.

Landscape art (landscape painting) — artworks that depict natural scenery such as different kinds of flora, fauna, water bodies and, of course, sky. Many landscape paintings picture a breathtaking view by the means of a coherent composition and rich palette and skillful artist’s brush that’s why most people usually enjoy contemplating this kind of arts. The earliest landscapes originate from Minoan Greece around 1500 BCE, in the form of frescoes with no human figures while ancient Egyptians were first to depict hunting scenes. Landscape art was elaborated in the Greek and Roman Empire, where images were considered to be decorative — parallel to this, Chinese ink painting tradition of ‘mountain-water’, pure landscape blossomed in the other part of the world. Remarkably, the Western and Asian landscape artworks were differently valued in the homeland: it wasn’t until the 19th century that European landscape paintings obtained full recognition like portrait genre whereas in Asia pieces that celebrated the beauty of nature have always been highly appreciated. It doesn’t mean, however, there are no gorgeous landscape paintings by European artists — just think of Flemish school, artists of Renaissance and from the Romantic period. The point is, the difference between Western and Eastern landscape art is in attitude.

Lucy Lippard — a shining star of the American art scene of the 20th century, an art critic, a curator and an author of numerous books on art issues. Both graduate of Smith’s College and New York University with a degree in Arts, Lucy started her career in the library at MoMA where she spent much time archiving and searching information for curators. She went on contributing to some major art publications such as Art International and Artforum. Thus, the consolidated expertise in art theory enabled Lippard to practice curation herself, making travel exhibitions for Museum of Modern Art. She worked together with Max Ernst, Kynaston McShine, and Dan Flavin, she used to know Sol LeWitt and Robert Ryman just when they were at the night desk and a guard at MoMA correspondingly. Lucy Lippard introduced such artists as Eva Hesse and Bruce Nauman to a bigger audience and organized a dozen of high profile exhibitions that took American art world by storm. Among them are post-minimalist ‘Eccentric abstraction’, ‘Rejective Art’ that traveled thrice across US and quite a few ‘numerological’ exhibitions: e.g. ‘557,087’, ‘955,000’, ‘c. 7,500’ (yes, Lucy just loved numbers and believed such names could do real magic). Apart from that, Lucy Lippard has always been a political activist and a feminist, expressing her opinion on subjects constantly. In the book ‘Six years: the dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972’ the curator shared her unique approach to conceptual art development and thus evoked vigorous debates among the art connoisseurs, let alone the effect of her numerous feminist publications. You wonder, how Lucy would describe herself? Here is the answer firsthand: ‘I intensely dislike the word ‘critic,’ because it puts you in an antagonistic position to artists. I’ve learned everything that I know about art from artists… I see myself as an advocate and an activist and a writer’. Nothing to add, at her 82 Lucy Lippard remains a true role model for all those who want to live a brighter life full of creativity.

LACMA (short from Los Angeles County Museum of Art) — the largest art museum in the western United States that highlights the history of art over the last 6,000 years. Since you know enough about Paris Louvre, it’s time we discussed a no less interesting art institution in the other part of the world. Though no match for Louvre popularity, LACMA enjoys quite a high number of visitors each year — since 2011 the Museum has been visited by over a million people annually. LACMA collection of nearly 140,000 objects concerns numerous time periods as well as different art movements. Right now you can head to Los Angeles in order to see LACMA’s ongoing projects such as ‘Playtime’ by British installation artist Isaac Julien, Frank Stella’s ‘Selections from the Permanent Collection’ and the Museum’s variation on Bauhaus centenary ‘The Bauhaus at 100: Modern Legacies’, open till June, 2.

Mikhail Larionova prominent Russian artist and art theorist, one of the founders of Avant-Garde movement. Born in Tiraspol in 1881, young Larionov moved to the capital to study arts at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. He was lucky enough to have Valentin Serov and Isaac Levitan, masters of landscape and portrait painting among his teachers, however, because of his precocious and non-conformist nature, Mikhail was suspended thrice. His visit to Paris in 1906 completely changed the life of the young artist — Mikhail Larionov was so inspired by Impressionism, flourishing in Europe meanwhile that after practicing it a few years, he started experimenting for the purpose of finding a new artistic language. Thus, he shaped the further development of Russian arts, no more and no less. Emulating French post-impressionists and coming through tradition-based Neo-primitivism, Larionov discovered Rayonism in 1913 — the first Russian movement to be so close to abstraction. Apart from that, the artist was a founding member of the Knave of Diamonds exhibiting group (1909 – 1911) and later of even a more radical Donkey’s Tail (1912 – 1913). Discussing Mikhail Larionov, we cannot fail to mention his wife and lifelong partner, Natalia Goncharova, one of the best-known female artists for the history of Russian art. Together they paved the way for Avant-Garde and contributed to its world recognition.

Text /Julia Kryshevich/


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