Art Terminology

SIGNIFICANT FORM

Term coined by art critic Clive Bell in 1914 to describe the idea that the form of an artwork or forms within an artwork can be expressive, even if largely or completely divorced from a recognizable reality. Clive Bell’s theory of significant form was explained in his book Art published in 1914. He begins the …

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SIMULACRUM

A term from Greek Platonic philosophy that meant a copy of a copy of an ideal form.

SIMULTANISM

Term invented by artist Robert Delaunay to describe the abstract painting developed by him and his wife Sonia Delaunay from about 1910. The term simultanism is derived from the theories of Michel Eugène Chevreul whose book of colour theory De la loi du contraste simultanée des couleurs (On the law of the simultaneous contrast of …

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SITE-SPECIFIC

The term site-specific refers to a work of art designed specifically for a particular location and that has an interrelationship with the location. As a site-specific work of art is designed for a specific location, if removed from that location it loses all or a substantial part of its meaning. The term site-specific is often …

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SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL

Revolutionary alliance of European avant-garde artists, writers and poets formed at a conference in Italy in 1957 (as Internationale Situationiste or IS). The IS developed a critique of capitalism based on a mixture of Marxism and surrealism. Leading figure of the movement Guy Debord identified consumer society as the Society of the Spectacle in his …

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