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Pages from Munari’s Design as Art

This piece was published in The Value of Design issue of Paprika!, the Yale School of Architecture student publication.

To paraphrase Bruno Munari’s brief history of art: it’s been slowly losing “bits and pieces.” Art started with narrative, and came to instead favor “pure visuality” (Suerat). Then it lost natural representation (Kandinsky). Shades of color were eliminated next (Mondrian) until eventually paintings were single colors (Klein), then all black (Reinhardt). Finally, the picture was cut and burned (Fontana, Burri). Now what?

Artists have to find something to interest people of today, an especially difficult challenge in this age of visual distraction and media saturation. Munari talks about contemporary art of his day turning to stainless steel and seagull droppings, bits of scrap metal with solder, and live animals. He describes artists desperate for a “point of contact,” wanting “at all costs” to make the viewer participate. …


Liam Grace-Flood

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