Industrial Art for Sale
Industrial artworks feature design, construction, technology, machines, architecture, and more. Discover the definition and history of industrial art, and explore our curators' selection of industrial artwork from the LUMAS portfolio.
What is industrial art?
The industrial in art encompasses a wide array of styles and subject matter. In contemporary art, it commonly includes machines or sites of industrial production as subject matter, as well as collage art and other pastiche works which feature industrial elements like screws or wiring as part of their physical makeup.
Artworks in industrial style are today sometimes registered as a subgenre of retro art. And this is not entirely incorrect. In part, industrial art has been a retrospective view onto fantasies of exposed gears and clockwork realities which are believed to have existed at one time, and which are now believed to have been overcome in the forward march of mechanical progress. But industrial art has also been futuristic, focused on qualities of speed, strength, and intelligence which are seen to be embodied in technological advancements. To a great extent, then, industrial style art is always deeply bound up with feelings about time and progress.
Industrial Art Past and Present
In a sense, industrial art is as old as industry itself. Metaphors of mechanization, and anxieties about the displacement of the human by machines animated the art and literature of the 19th century. Especially towards the end of the 19th century, industrial art first began to reflect some of the associations which to this day have proven to be most durable: handicraft, the manipulation of glass, metal, and wood. Featured in paintings as well as photographic and illustrated art, the industrial was associated especially with social movements which advocated the creative empowerment of the working classes, and the harnessing of crafts which held out the promise of reestablishing culture on the basis of earlier social forms. With their focus on social conditions and the "objective" (as opposed to the abstract), these trends were strongly bound up with realism in art.
Over the next several decades, the industrial element in art acquired wider associations. Futurists were attracted by the power and dynamism of the machine, seeing in it a locomotive force which could be co-opted by humankind. The designers, artists, and theorists of Bauhaus art sought to unify the futurism of machines, the abstract forms disclosed in technological progress and scientific inquiry, and the even functionalism of ergonomic design into a utopian paradigm of natural and industrial design. Later, artists and designers of minimalist art and mid-century modern art produced on a mass scale objects and artworks containing simple forms and patterns, part of a vision of bringing humanity into closer harmony with both nature and machinic efficiency.
In major trends of the second half of the 20th century, industrial art became bound up with artistic movements which drew on reproducibility, not firstly as a threat to authenticity, but instead as a productive force. Translated into the idiom of authorship, it gave the artist the possibility of hiding behind a mask. Andy Warhol's legendary pop art studio, for example, was called "The Factory", nodding to the perils and promises perceived by forerunners and contemporaries in the artworld who saw the factory as the original incarnation of modernity's ailments.
Especially in the latter decades of the 20th century, with the rise of fashion photography and of product photography as an artform in itself, along with increasing favorability towards the industrial as an aesthetic, industrial art began to come into its own. Today, it is featured in paintings, photographs, and digital creations, encompassing everything from automotive paintings to aviation photography.
Decorating with Industrial Art
Industrial art prints and photographs are a stylish and sophisticated interior design choice. Black and white and abstract industrial motifs can bring a design element into your home, harmonizing a given space by displaying a work of art which represents a concept for a given room.