Mail Art: Mail art is art which uses the postal system as a medium. The term mail art can refer to an individual message, the medium through which it is sent, or an artistic genre. Mail art is also known as postal art and is sometimes referred to as Correspondence/Mail Art (CMA). Mail artists typically exchange ephemera in the form of illustrated letters, zines, rubberstamped, decorated or illustrated envelopes, artist trading cards, postcards, artistamps, faux postage, mail-interviews, naked mail, friendship books, decos, and three-dimensional objects. An amorphous international mail art network, involving thousands of participants in over fifty countries, evolved between the 1950s and the 1990s. It was influenced by other movements, including Dada and Fluxus. One theme in mail art is that of commerce-free exchange; early mail art was, in part, a snub of gallery art, juried shows, and exclusivity in art. A saying in the mail art movement is "senders receive", meaning that one must not expect mail art to be sent to oneself unless one is also actively participating in the movement.
Massurrealism: Massurrealism is a development of surrealism that emphasizes the effect of technology and mass media on contemporary surrealist imagery. James Seehafer who is credited with coining the term in 1992 said that he was prompted to do so because he had been unable to find a simple explanation to characterise the type of work he was doing, which combined elements of surrealism and mass media, the latter consisting of technology and pop art — "a form of technology art." He had begun his work by using a shopping cart, which "represented American mass-consumerism that fuels mass-media", and then incorporated collages of colour photocopies and spray paint with the artist's traditional medium of oil paint. In 1995, he assembled a small group show near New York and found a local cyber-cafe, where he started to post material about massurrealism on internet arts news groups, inspiring some German art students to stage a massurrealist show. The next year he started his own web site, www.massurrealism.com and began to receive work from other artists, both mixed media and digitally-generated, "which is massurrealism because of its origins in strict electronics". He credits the World Wide Web with a major role in communicating massurrealism, which spread to Los Angeles, Mexico and then Europe. The differentiating factor, according to Seehafer, between surrealism and massurrealism is the foundation of the former in the early 20th century in Europe before the spread of electronic mass media. It is difficult to define the visual style of massurrealism, though a general characteristic is the use of modern technology to fuse surrealism's traditional access to the unconscious with pop art's ironic contradictions. In 2005, graffiti artist Banksy illicitly hung a rock in the British Museum showing a caveman pushing a shopping cart, which Shelley Esaak of about.com described as "a nice tribute to James Seehafer and Massurrealism." Massurrealism has been influenced by the writings and theories of Cecil Touchon, Marshall McLuhan, and Jean Baudrillard.
Medieval and Gothic Art: Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical styles in Italy. In the late 14th century, the sophisticated court style of International Gothic developed, which continued to evolve until the late 15th century. In many areas, especially Germany, Late Gothic art continued well into the 16th century, before being subsumed into Renaissance art. Primary media in the Gothic period included sculpture, panel painting, stained glass, fresco and illuminated manuscript. The earliest Gothic art was monumental sculpture, on the walls of Cathedrals and abbeys. Christian art was often typological in nature (see Medieval allegory), showing the stories of the New Testament and the Old Testament side by side. Saints' lives were often depicted. Images of the Virgin Mary changed from the Byzantine iconic form to a more human and affectionate mother, cuddling her infant, swaying from her hip, and showing the refined manners of a well-born aristocratic courtly lady. Secular art came in to its own during this period with the rise of cities, foundation of universities, increase in trade, the establishment of a money-based economy and the creation of a bourgeois class who could afford to patronize the arts and commission works resulting in a proliferation of paintings and illuminated manuscripts. Increased literacy and a growing body of secular vernacular literature encouraged the representation of secular themes in art. With the growth of cities, trade guilds were formed and artists were often required to be members of a painters' guild—as a result, because of better record keeping, more artists are known to us by name in this period than any previous; some artists were even so bold as to sign their names.
Metaphysical painting: Italian art movement, Pittura Metafisica. Created by Giorgio de Chirico and the former Futurist, Carlo Carra, in the north Italian city of Ferrara. Using a realist style, they painted dream-like views of the arcaded squares typical of such Italian cities. The squares are unnaturally empty, and in them objects and statues are brought together in strange juxtapositions. The artists thus created a visionary world of the mind, beyond physical reality, hence the name. Strictly speaking the movement only lasted the six months or so of 1917 that De Chirico and Carra worked together, De Chirico changing his style the following year. However the term is generally applied to all De Chirico's work from about 1911 when he first developed what became known as Pittura Metafisica. His The Uncertainty of the Poet of 1913 is a quintessential example of the style. Pittura Metafisica was also highly influential, most importantly on the development of the dream-like, or oneiric, kind of Surrealist painting, particularly that of Ernst. (Source: Tate Gallery)
Mexican Realism: Term describing the revival of large scale mural painting in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. The three principal artists were José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Rivera is usually considered the chief figure. All three were committed to left-wing ideas in the politically turbulent Mexico of the period and their painting reflects this. Siqueiros in particular pursued an active career in politics, suffering several periods of imprisonment for his activities. Their use of large-scale mural painting in or on public buildings was intended to convey social and political messages to the public. In order to make their work as accessible as possible they all worked in basically realist styles but with distinctively personal differences - Orozco has elements of Surrealism, Siqueiros is vehemently expressionist, for example. The movement can be said to begin with the murals by Rivera for the Mexican National Preparatory School and the Ministry of Education, executed between 1923 and 1928. Orozco and Siqueiros worked with him on the first of these. The Mexican Muralists carried out a number of major works in the USA which helped bring them to wide attention and had some influence on the Abstract Expressionists. Notable among these are Rivera's 1932-3 murals in the Detroit Institute of Arts depicting the Ford automobile plant (extant), and at the Rockefeller Center, New York (destroyed on Rockefeller's orders after a press scandal when a portrait of Lenin was noticed in the mural); Orozco's The Epic of American Civilisation at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire and his Prometheus at Pomona College California (both extant); and Siqueiros's 1932 Tropical America in Los Angeles. This attack on American imperialism in Mexico was painted over some time after it was made, but is now undergoing restoration. (Source: Tate Gallery)
Mezzotint: Mezzotint is a printmaking process of the intaglio family, technically a drypoint method. It was the first tonal method to be used, enabling half-tones to be produced without using line- or dot-based techniques like hatching, cross-hatching or stipple. Mezzotint achieves tonality by roughening the plate with thousands of little dots made by a metal tool with small teeth, called a "rocker." In printing, the tiny pits in the plate hold the ink when the face of the plate is wiped clean. A high level of quality and richness in the print can be achieved.
Minimal Art: Minimal Art emerged as a movement in the 1950s and continued through the Sixties and Seventies. It is a term used to describe paintings and sculpture that thrive on simplicity in both content and form, and seek to remove any sign of personal expressivity. The aim of Minimalism is to allow the viewer to experience the work more intensely without the distractions of composition, theme and so on. There are examples of the Minimalist theory being exercised as early as the 18th century when Goethe constructed an Altar of Good Fortune made simply of a stone sphere and cube. But the 20th century sees the movement come into its own. From the 1920s artists such as Malevich and Duchamp produced works in the Minimalist vein but the movement is known chiefly by its American exponents such as Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Ellsworth Kelly and Donald Judd who reacted against Abstract Expressionism in their stark canvases, sculptures and installations. Minimal Art is related to a number of other movements such as Conceptual Art in the way the finished work exists merely to convey a theory, Pop Art in their shared fascination with the impersonal and Land Art in the construction of simple shapes. Minimal Art proved highly successful and has been enormously influential on the development of art in the 20th century.
Monotype: A unique image printed from a polished plate, such as glass, metal, painted with ink but not a permanent printing matrix. A monotype impression is generally unique, though a second, lighter impression from the painted printing element can sometimes be made.