Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cubist Rooster Camouflage

Reproduced above is a seemingly senseless arrangement of lines, one of many that appeared on the entertainment pages of American newspapers in 1913, in the wake of the public reaction to cubist and futurist visual art. It was the year of the Armory Show, the premier exhibition of Modern Art in the US. Four years later, when dazzle ship camouflage was adopted in 1917, the public immediately claimed that it looked like cubism, harlequin leotards, crazy quilts, and embedded figures (or "picture puzzles") like this one. When the above drawing appeared in an issue of the San Francisco Sunday Call (1913), the reader was challenged to fill in shapes within the box in such a way that a "cubo-rooster" would result. Below is the answer which appeared in the paper the following week.