To read the text, click here.
This text briefly explores the meaning and uses of fine art, or more so, the loss of use for fine art, and how it has become useful once again through the Dada and Pop movements. Hamilton begins by explaining , arts use was the ‘pictorial recording of visual facts’, until the invention of photography which then became the default medium for recording visual facts.
Without a use, decoration became one of art’s few remaining functions. Below is a painting by Van Gogh in 1889 (Impressionism).
Hamilton then goes on to say ‘some painters are now agog at the ability…to project… the classic themes of artistic vision and to express them in a poetic language’, he compares the Playboy ‘Playmate of the month’ pin-up as the contemporary equivalent of the odalisque (female slave) in painting.
Not only was art not ‘useful’ anymore, but social comment was left to TV and the comic strip.
Cinema took over story telling roll.
Then along came two art movements; Dadaism and Futurism which re-introduced opinions on society through art. Dada’s purpose was to ridicule what its participants considered to be the meaninglessness of the modern world.
The above photo depicts Hausmann’s view of war-driven society within his artwork ‘Mechanical Head’
Futurists had a much more positive way of dealing with society, demanding change rather than undermining the views of society as the Dadaists did.
Hamilton finally goes on to say how Pop Art is the son of Dada in the way that it rebels against society as Dadaism did.
So in conclusion, Hamilton has suggested that Fine Art’s use was lost with the dawn of photography, but now in the age of Pop, a new purpose is found by making statements on society and in this case popular culture. This explains the essay title ‘For the Finest Art, Try Pop’.