Art imitates art

More familiar to most of you are Oscar Wilde’s words “Life imitates art.” And undoubtedly this is true for many things.

I recently watched the film 2001, for perhaps the twentieth time, and who knows if Stanley Kubrick’s vison had any impact on the invention of the iPad. There’s a scene, just before HAL goes nuts, where the two astronauts are sitting in their doomed spacecraft  while looking at screens on their desks that could very easily be digital tablets.

But art imitates art too.

Designers frequently imitate ideas originally proposed by artists and painters. We call it inspiration.

The CD cover below, for music by Béla Bartók, is clearly inspired by the art of El Lissitzy. Bartók and El Lissitzy were contemporaries: they died within 4 years of each other, and so the image on the CD cover, one that visually reinforces our understanding of the time and place the music was written—the Russian Avant Garde—is even more appropriate. That Bartók was Hungarian, not Russian is, I believe, foregiveable.

The CD cover, designer unknown.

The Unchained Theatre, designer El Lissitzky

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