Some people would think that art and popular music have no combined points of reference and that each is a completely separate unit, with each subject trying to achieve several different goals. However, my intentions are to prove that this is not true. I believe that they have linked many times in the past particularly during the creation of the Dada movement in 1916.
Hugo Ball composed sound poems and performed them at ‘Cabaret Voltaire’, a club he opened that consisted of an artist’s club, exhibition room, pub, and theater all rolled into one’, it showed several styles of artistic performances. He believed others like him were ‘interested not only in enjoying their independence but also giving proof of it’. On July 23rd, 1916 Hugo Ball recited his sound poem ‘Karawane’. It contained seventeen lines of text, which have no meaning but was successful for the resonance of the tone and in the manner it was performed. The visual version is also congratulated for the several styles of the font used to decipher different emotions. For example, ‘a sort of undulatory motion is produced by the alternative use of italics and roman type, while the left column produces a soothing effect’. Cabaret Voltaire and founder Hugo Ball were the main creators of the Dada movement in Zurich 1917. The Dada movement is believed to be the co-founder of contemporary art. ‘Contemporary art as we know it could not have come into existence without Dada’. It was breaking down and merging the differences between the several art forms as a response to World War 1.
Richard Huelsenbeck was a close friend of Hugo Ball, who also recited on the 30th March at Cabaret Voltaire and was also associated with the Dada movement. Although he believed Dada needed to be stronger and more political and in 1919 set up his own club, Club Dada in Berlin. He was regarded as ‘arrogant, and that’s how he looks. His nostrils vibrate, his eyebrows are arched’, and was not liked by the public. His work and several of the Club Dada creators were ‘more political than the other Dada-groups’ they released convincing magazines to illustrate their beliefs through photomontages and manifestos. His works include ‘The end of the world’ and ‘Don Inigo de Loyola’, which were more obviously political than that of Hugo Ball.
Louis Armstrong was one of the first jazz musicians to experiment with his vocal techniques. By improvising the originally composed music, and creating sound on the spot, he created skat singing. He is still well known as one of the greatest jazz musicians today for his ‘spontaneity, and amazingly quick, inventive musical mind’. I believe this is a good example of the kind of performances that would be shown at the Cabaret Voltaire, although he did not.
Jazz music played a big role in Mondrian’s work both as ‘jazz music and modern art depend on a great deal of improvisation’. Like jazz where an artist will never play the same thing twice, Mondrian also would rely on instinct and natural ability to present his work.
The sixties was a massive decade for both art and music, with great pieces of work being produced by both the fine arts and the performance arts. The Beatles are one of the main well-known music group that connects art to music, as most of the members were artists before creating the band. Also, Stuart Sutcliffe, a previous bass player for the Beatles, dropped out and started doing art.
The Beatles revolver album was released on the 5th of august 1966 which reached number 1 in both the UK and the USA. The cover illustration was created by German-born bassist and artist Klaus Voormann. The image is mainly a simplistic line drawing but also using very recognizable aspects of each member of the band. It is also done in a collage style where a lot of images are placed in between them which consist of more detailed images of characters taken by Robert Whitaker. It was stated to be a part of the phycodellic era, you also perceive this sense from the other albums that they have done in the sixties, by the way in which the surrealist art comes through.
John Lennon enjoyed experimentation with sound along with artist and wife Yoko Ono. They would create tape loops and use the technique ‘Musique Concrete’, a technology that allowed tapes to be cut and edited. Musique Concrete is defined as ‘a music like art form composed directly on the magnetic tape by the electronic manipulation, distortion, or transformation of natural sounds and noises, as of musical instruments or rain’. The Piece ‘Revolution 9’ appeared on The White Album released in 1968. ‘This was made by layering tape loops over the basic rhythm of revolution’. Lennon called it ‘The music of the future’ and whilst it was loved by many people who appreciated and understood sound art, it was also hated, particularly by producer George Martin who ‘tried to keep it off the album’.
Another example of a more modern link is the punk scene, which was said to have two causes. The first being a response to the environment and current trends, the second coming out of art schools. Malcolm Mclaren stated that he was responsible for ‘starting the Punk movement in Britain’ and was also heavily involved in forming The Sex Pistols, and became their manager. The Sex Pistols were the first Punk band in Britain and formed the punk scene, along with the fashion and political values that came with it.
Graffiti is part of the hip hop culture that has been split up into various different art forms such as Graffiti, Writing, Dj-ing, MC-ing and break dancing. There is a very close culture between graffiti art and some of the big hip hop artists such as Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and The Game
Graffiti has also been used on a wide range of album covers which shows a direct link from art to music such as Blur, a Britpop band who have used more than one of Banksy’s piece of artwork. This album Think Tank has been said that it inspired some of Blur’s music. They have also used Banksy artwork on another cover, Crazy Beat, which was taken from one of Bansky’s original artworks.
I feel the use of experimenting and combining all of the creative fields is expanding and artists and musicians will continue to use the creative minds of each other in both fields in the future.