In a glimpse, the 80s can be summarized by it’s interesting social movement like the business driven young-urban yuppies, of course the unforgettable fashion choices (jelly shoes, leg warmers, and mullets) consumerism mindset, which we are all too familiar with having drastic negative environmental effects, block buster movies, and the emergence of music videos. These movement characteristics could also be found in the wide world of art.
Interior design, a form of art which saw a transformative boom in the 80s. What emerged was a diverse and unique set of tastes in interior design. Think checkered vinyl flooring, glass brick walls, and shaggy carpeting from wall-to-wall (this includes the bathroom too). As with many trends, there are some hits & misses that have seen a revival in our modern lives. Our latest blog will cover which types of art movements of the 80s rose to prominence and why they might become timeless in this current period.
Although this art style dates back to an era previously, Appropriation art saw a revival once again in the 80s. It's defined as the use of pre-existing objects or images with little to no transformation or adjustments applied to the piece. This means one could take a recognizable image and apply small changes to it and call it your own. Andy Warhol for example, a well known American artist utilized this art movement to amazing heights, often combining his eye for Pop Art in the mix. Some of his classic pieces that he produced in the 80s include Camouflage Self Portrait, Orange Prince, and Grace Kelly.
This style of art has the ability to connect to humans on a level that sometimes can't be expressed through marketing means and communications. Our current day and age however, over the course of a few decades, found many regulations and legislations such as copyright, have made appropriation art obsolete, being viewed as borderline theft. The strict regulations around this practice caused a shift in decreased supply and a huge increase in demand, making these pieces incredibly valuable and becoming an instant & timeless collectable on the market.
Expressionism is an art movement defined by portraying the world entirely from a subjective perspective, which is usually distorted to evoke a type of emotion or plant a peculiar idea in someones head. Neo-Expressionism on the contrast follows the same ideas as Expressionism, however the rough handling of materials are used as a means get their message or idea across. Jean-Michel Basquiat, an American painter who is famously known and is a prime example of an artist who brought Neo-Expressionism into the realm of high-art and in front of the eyes of many art collectors.
Many of his renowned work dates throughout the 80s, and at his peak, finding a close partnership with Andy Warhol, and at the time, became the two most prominent figures of art. What made his work unique and modern from all the other artist even today, is his eye for combining Neo-expressionism’s intense aesthetic and the vibrant graffiti style, which also became a celebrated art movement in the 80s. His one of a kind style is challenging to replicate and if so, could be easily identified as a Jean-Michel Basquiat recreation.
Interior design has always played a large role when it came to what most people considered aesthetically beautiful at the time. Intense floral furniture, pastel colours, and full on mauve-everything were some of the 80s styles that you would stumble on in someones home. One particular style of design in the house that is directly associated to the 80s better than all the others is the Memphis Design.
This interior design movement that began in 1981 that spread like wildfire throughout America actually started in Milan Italy. Designer Ettore Sottsass founded the Memphis Group with other designers and architects. They questioned, avoided, and pushed the boundaries of the status quo, which at the time was all about minimalism. The Memphis design took inspirations from previous art movements like the 20s Art Deco, hints of Pop art, and the 50s kitsch interior style. What fashioned from the combination was bright colours, defined shapes, and the instantly recognizable squiggle-pattern. This playful and to some, unusual combination undoubtedly created and helped visually define the 80s period.
Laura Ashley: the floral print
A name that may not be too recognizable in every household, but her prints were sure in every household at the time. Laura Ashley, the queen of floral prints and was a major designer in the 80s. It began with the release of her first catalog in 1981, showcasing her design through furniture instead of apparel, where she first began her journey.
During this period in time, people found no boundaries when it came to making their lives a little more florally. Well into the 80s, Laura's floral prints were everywhere, and on everything. From dresses, to comforters, and drapes, also usually detailed with ruffles & lace for a very feminine look. This style of outfit was posh and clean. Feminine and delicate, which opposed the shoulder-padded power suit woman at the time. It was as though there was a different style of fashion for a different style of woman who both happened to exist in the same era. Today, florals are a mainstay during spring and summer and have even been implemented during the fall winter in fashion. When it comes to interior decorations and designs, because of their nostalgic characteristics and over-used history, it might be best left in the past.
It's no doubt that the art movement of the 80s has helped us define the era, create new and improved versions of them, as well as become a timeless piece to be appreciated. We often forget art is a reflection of the times, often having messages waiting to be discovered down the road, increasing it's value throughout history.
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