Function

DEFINITION

Refers to the intended use or purpose of an object. The term is often applied to manufactured products, particularly crafts, and when discussing designs for architecture. Though sometimes said to be non-functional, art is expected to function in various ways, including: to beautify, to adorn, to express, to illustrate, to mediate, to persuade, to record, to redefine reality, to redefine art, to provide therapy, to give unselfconscious experience, to provide paradigms of order and/or chaos, and to train perception of reality. Anything that is not functional is called nonfunctional. Often the decorative qualities of a thing are considered nonfunctional.Examples: Lucas Samaras (born Greece, works in America, 1936-), left: Chair Transformation Number 12, l969-70, synthetic polymer on wood, 41 l/2 x 36 x 13 inches (105.4 x 91.4 x 33 cm); right: Chair Transformation Number 16, 1969-70, synthetic polymer on wood, 39 x 15 x 28 inches (76.2 x 38.1 x 71.1 cm); both Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. Samaras called his series of chair-sculptures transformations because each subverts the usual function of a chair.Quote: "Form ever follows function." Louis Henry Sullivan (1856-1924), U.S. architect. "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered," in Lippincott's Magazine (March 1896). References to this statement often shorten it to a simpler variant: "Form follows function." Also see advertising, basket, commercial art, communication, diagram, graph, map, pattern, and plan.

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