A Multimedia Piece Dedicated to Cubism

“The New York Times,” created a news package last week about philanthropist Leonard A. Lauder’s promise to give the Metropolitan Museum of Art his collection of 78 Cubist paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

Cubism was a revolutionary style of modern art developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques in Paris between 1907 and 1914. The term “cubism,” originated from a French art critic Louis Vauxcelles who described “geometric forms,” in the abstract works as “cubes.”

According to the museum’s website cubist painters were against the “inherited concept,” that art naturally should copy nature or that they should adopt traditional techniques such as perspective and modeling. These artists wanted to emphasize “the two dimensionality of the canvas,” which led them to reduce and fracture objects into geometric forms.

Lauder’s collection is said to be valued at more than one billion dollars, and it puts him in a class with “cornerstone contributors,” like Michael C. Rockefeller and Robert Lehman. According to scholars, the collection is “among the world’s greatest and is as good as, if not better than,” Cubist artwork in institutions like the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Together the art pieces tell the story of a movement that “revolutionized modern art,” and filled a gap in the Metropolitan Museum. The museum director Thomas P. Campbell said that the collection is “something museum directors only dream about,” and in “one fell swoop,” the museum was put at the forefront of early 2oth-century art.

The news package is complemented by an interesting multimedia piece. Emily Braun supplies audio for eight different paintings included in Lauder’s collection. She offers a more in-depth look at these paintings that do not make their way into the text piece.

The first painting she highlights is “Tress at L’e Staque,” and how the cubist movement came to fruition. In this painting Braque started “breaking down traditional linear perspective, and light/dark modeling.” We learn how Picasso and Braque began to collaborate together, especially in Picasso’s “The Scallop Shell,” which was an “inside cubist joke,” that referred to groundbreaking inventions being forged by the two painters.

The multimedia elements of the story act as a timeline that lay out the cubist movement in detail. These audio recordings explain why the eight paintings she selected are significant, and how they relate to the creation of cubism. Braun discusses the stylistic elements of the paintings and why these paintings are considered an expression of cubism.

I think this is a great news package because the text and the multimedia pieces are completely different but they work well and are effective. The text is directed more towards Lauder’s promise to give the Metropolitan Museum of Arts and why it is important for them to receive this collection. The artistic movement itself is addressed through the audio recordings and allows the readers to gain an understanding of the cubist movement. I think it is very effective because the text informs the readers while the multimedia elements leave the readers wanting more.

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