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The term "modernism" itself is derived from the Latin "modo", meaning "just now". It called for the re-examination of every aspect of existence, from commerce to philosophy, with the goal of finding that which was "holding back" progress, and replacing it with new , progressive and better ways of reaching the same end. Modernists believed that by rejecting tradition they could discover radically new ways of making art, and at the same time to force the audience to take the trouble to question their own preconceptions.

It stressed freedom of expression , experimentation , radicalism and primitivism , and its disregard for conventional expectations often meant startling and alienating audiences with bizarre and unpredictable effects e. Some Modernists saw themselves as part of a revolutionary culture that also included political revolution, while others rejected conventional politics as well as artistic conventions, believing that a revolution of political consciousness had greater importance than a change in actual political structures.

Modern can mean related to current times, but it can also indicate a relationship to a particular set of ideas that, at the time of their development, were new or even experimental. The materials used to create a work of art, and the categorization of art based on the materials used for example, painting [or more specifically, watercolor], drawing, sculpture. Subject matter in visual art, often adhering to particular conventions of artistic representation, and imbued with symbolic meanings.

The perceived hue of an object, produced by the manner in which it reflects or emits light into the eye.

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Also, a substance, such as a dye, pigment, or paint, that imparts a hue. What Is Modern Art? Lateth-century artists broke with tradition to create art for the modern age. What is ModernArt? PowerPoint Slideshow. Painting Modern Life Explore how early modern artists forged new directions in painting.

Rise of the Modern City Discover the ways in which artists and architects engaged with the landscape of modern cities. Associated with urbanization and changing social mores also came smaller families and changed relationships between parents and their children. Another strong influence at this time was Marxism. Eliot and Igor Stravinsky —which rejected popular solutions to modern problems—the rise of fascism , the Great Depression , and the march to war helped to radicalise a generation.

Bertolt Brecht , W. Significant Modernist literary works continued to be created in the s and s, including further novels by Marcel Proust , Virginia Woolf , Robert Musil , and Dorothy Richardson. The American Modernist dramatist Eugene O'Neill 's career began in , but his major works appeared in the s, s and early s. Lawrence 's Lady Chatterley's Lover was privately published in , while another important landmark for the history of the modern novel came with the publication of William Faulkner 's The Sound and the Fury in In the s, in addition to further major works by Faulkner, Samuel Beckett published his first major work, the novel Murphy Then in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake appeared.

This is written in a largely idiosyncratic language , consisting of a mixture of standard English lexical items and neologistic multilingual puns and portmanteau words, which attempts to recreate the experience of sleep and dreams.

Eliot, E. Cummings , and Wallace Stevens were writing from the s until the s. While Modernist poetry in English is often viewed as an American phenomenon, with leading exponents including Ezra Pound, T. The Modernist movement continued during this period in Soviet Russia. In composer Dimitri Shostakovich 's — opera The Nose was premiered, in which he uses a montage of different styles, including folk music , popular song and atonality.

Amongst his influences was Alban Berg 's — opera Wozzeck , which "had made a tremendous impression on Shostakovich when it was staged in Leningrad. Berg's Violin Concerto was first performed in Like Shostakovich, other composers faced difficulties in this period. In Germany Arnold Schoenberg — was forced to flee to the U. Schoenberg also wrote tonal music in this period with the Suite for Strings in G major and the Chamber Symphony No.

But he too left for the US in , because of the rise of fascism in Hungary.

Modernism: WTF? An introduction to Modernism in art and literature

The quartet was first performed in January to an audience of prisoners and prison guards. In painting, during the s and the s and the Great Depression , modernism is defined by Surrealism , late Cubism , Bauhaus , De Stijl , Dada , German Expressionism , and Modernist and masterful color painters like Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard as well as the abstractions of artists like Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky which characterized the European art scene. In Germany, Max Beckmann , Otto Dix , George Grosz and others politicized their paintings, foreshadowing the coming of World War II, while in America, modernism is seen in the form of American Scene painting and the social realism and regionalism movements that contained both political and social commentary dominated the art world.

When his patron Nelson Rockefeller discovered that the mural included a portrait of Vladimir Lenin and other communist imagery, he fired Rivera, and the unfinished work was eventually destroyed by Rockefeller's staff. Frida Kahlo's works are often characterized by their stark portrayals of pain. Kahlo was deeply influenced by indigenous Mexican culture, which is apparent in her paintings' bright colors and dramatic symbolism.

Christian and Jewish themes are often depicted in her work as well; she combined elements of the classic religious Mexican tradition, which were often bloody and violent. Frida Kahlo's Symbolist works relate strongly to Surrealism and to the Magic Realism movement in literature.

Political activism was an important piece of David Siqueiros' life, and frequently inspired him to set aside his artistic career.

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His art was deeply rooted in the Mexican Revolution. The period from the s to the s is known as the Mexican Renaissance, and Siqueiros was active in the attempt to create an art that was at once Mexican and universal. The young Jackson Pollock attended the workshop and helped build floats for the parade. During the s radical leftist politics characterized many of the artists connected to Surrealism, including Pablo Picasso. The Germans were attacking to support the efforts of Francisco Franco to overthrow the Basque government and the Spanish Republican government.

Pablo Picasso painted his mural-sized Guernica to commemorate the horrors of the bombing.

Domestic life in a Modern world

Nighthawks is a painting by Edward Hopper that portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. It is not only Hopper's most famous painting, but one of the most recognizable in American art. The scene was inspired by a diner in Greenwich Village. Hopper began painting it immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After this event there was a large feeling of gloominess over the country, a feeling that is portrayed in the painting.

The urban street is empty outside the diner, and inside none of the three patrons is apparently looking or talking to the others but instead is lost in their own thoughts. This portrayal of modern urban life as empty or lonely is a common theme throughout Hopper's work. American Gothic is a painting by Grant Wood from Portraying a pitchfork -holding farmer and a younger woman in front of a house of Carpenter Gothic style, it is one of the most familiar images in 20th-century American art.

Art critics had favorable opinions about the painting; like Gertrude Stein and Christopher Morley , they assumed the painting was meant to be a satire of rural small-town life. The situation for artists in Europe during the s deteriorated rapidly as the Nazis' power in Germany and across Eastern Europe increased. Degenerate art was a term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany for virtually all modern art. Such art was banned on the grounds that it was un-German or Jewish Bolshevist in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to sanctions.

These included being dismissed from teaching positions, being forbidden to exhibit or to sell their art, and in some cases being forbidden to produce art entirely. Degenerate Art was also the title of an exhibition, mounted by the Nazis in Munich in The climate became so hostile for artists and art associated with modernism and abstraction that many left for the Americas. In New York City a new generation of young and exciting Modernist painters led by Arshile Gorky , Willem de Kooning , and others were just beginning to come of age.

Arshile Gorky's portrait of someone who might be Willem de Kooning is an example of the evolution of abstract expressionism from the context of figure painting, cubism and surrealism. Along with his friends de Kooning and John D. Graham , Gorky created biomorphically shaped and abstracted figurative compositions that by the s evolved into totally abstract paintings. Gorky's work seems to be a careful analysis of memory, emotion and shape, using line and color to express feeling and nature.

The term " late modernism " is also sometimes applied to Modernist works published after Basil Bunting , born in , published his most important Modernist poem Briggflatts in Samuel Beckett , who died in , has been described as a "later Modernist". The terms " minimalist " and " post-Modernist " have also been applied to his later works. Prynne born are among the writers in the second half of the 20th century who have been described as late modernists. More recently the term "late modernism" has been redefined by at least one critic and used to refer to works written after , rather than With this usage goes the idea that the ideology of modernism was significantly re-shaped by the events of World War II , especially the Holocaust and the dropping of the atom bomb.

The postwar period left the capitals of Europe in upheaval with an urgency to economically and physically rebuild and to politically regroup. In Paris the former center of European culture and the former capital of the art world the climate for art was a disaster. Important collectors, dealers, and Modernist artists, writers, and poets had fled Europe for New York and America. The surrealists and modern artists from every cultural center of Europe had fled the onslaught of the Nazis for safe haven in the United States.

Many of those who didn't flee perished. The term " Theatre of the Absurd " is applied to plays, written primarily by Europeans, that express the belief that human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down.

V&A · What was Modernism?

Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence. Critic Martin Esslin coined the term in his essay "Theatre of the Absurd". He related these plays based on a broad theme of the Absurd, similar to the way Albert Camus uses the term in his essay, The Myth of Sisyphus. During the late s Jackson Pollock 's radical approach to painting revolutionized the potential for all contemporary art that followed him.

To some extent Pollock realized that the journey toward making a work of art was as important as the work of art itself. Like Pablo Picasso 's innovative reinventions of painting and sculpture in the early 20th century via Cubism and constructed sculpture , Pollock redefined the way art is made. His move away from easel painting and conventionality was a liberating signal to the artists of his era and to all who came after. Artists realized that Jackson Pollock's process—placing unstretched raw canvas on the floor where it could be attacked from all four sides using artistic and industrial materials; dripping and throwing linear skeins of paint; drawing, staining, and brushing; using imagery and nonimagery—essentially blasted artmaking beyond any prior boundary.

Abstract expressionism generally expanded and developed the definitions and possibilities available to artists for the creation of new works of art. The other abstract expressionists followed Pollock's breakthrough with new breakthroughs of their own. Rereadings into abstract art by art historians such as Linda Nochlin , [] Griselda Pollock [] and Catherine de Zegher [] critically show, however, that pioneering women artists who produced major innovations in modern art had been ignored by official accounts of its history.

He was best known for his semi- abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art. His forms are usually abstractions of the human figure, typically depicting mother-and-child or reclining figures, usually suggestive of the female body, apart from a phase in the s when he sculpted family groups.

His forms are generally pierced or contain hollow spaces. The last three decades of Moore's life continued in a similar vein, with several major retrospectives taking place around the world, notably a prominent exhibition in the summer of in the grounds of the Forte di Belvedere overlooking Florence. By the end of the s, there were some 40 exhibitions a year featuring his work. On the campus of the University of Chicago in December , 25 years to the minute after the team of physicists led by Enrico Fermi achieved the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, Moore's Nuclear Energy was unveiled.

The "London School" of figurative painters, including Francis Bacon — , Lucian Freud — , Frank Auerbach born , Leon Kossoff born , and Michael Andrews — , have received widespread international recognition. Francis Bacon was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, graphic and emotionally raw imagery. Bacon began painting during his early 20s but worked only sporadically until his mids. His breakthrough came with the triptych Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion which sealed his reputation as a uniquely bleak chronicler of the human condition.

These were followed by his early s modern variations of the crucifixion in the triptych format. From the mids to early s, Bacon mainly produced strikingly compassionate portraits of friends. Following the suicide of his lover George Dyer in , his art became more personal, inward-looking, and preoccupied with themes and motifs of death. During his lifetime, Bacon was equally reviled and acclaimed. Lucian Freud was a German-born British painter, known chiefly for his thickly impastoed portrait and figure paintings, who was widely considered the pre-eminent British artist of his time.

In paintings like Girl with a White Dog —52 , [] Freud put the pictorial language of traditional European painting in the service of an anti-romantic, confrontational style of portraiture that stripped bare the sitter's social facade. Ordinary people—many of them his friends—stared wide-eyed from the canvas, vulnerable to the artist's ruthless inspection.

In abstract painting during the s and s several new directions like hard-edge painting and other forms of geometric abstraction began to appear in artist studios and in radical avant-garde circles as a reaction against the subjectivism of abstract expressionism. Clement Greenberg became the voice of post-painterly abstraction when he curated an influential exhibition of new painting that toured important art museums throughout the United States in Color Field painting, hard-edge painting and lyrical abstraction [] emerged as radical new directions. By the late s however, postminimalism , process art and Arte Povera [] also emerged as revolutionary concepts and movements that encompassed both painting and sculpture, via lyrical abstraction and the postminimalist movement, and in early conceptual art.

Janis mounted the exhibition in a 57th Street storefront near his gallery. The show sent shockwaves through the New York School and reverberated worldwide. This movement rejected abstract expressionism and its focus on the hermeneutic and psychological interior in favor of art that depicted and often celebrated material consumer culture, advertising, and iconography of the mass production age.

The early works of David Hockney and the works of Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi who created the groundbreaking I was a Rich Man's Plaything , are considered seminal examples in the movement. Meanwhile, in the downtown scene in New York's East Village 10th Street galleries, artists were formulating an American version of pop art. Later Leo Castelli exhibited the works of other American artists, including those of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein for most of their careers.

There is a connection between the radical works of Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray , the rebellious Dadaists with a sense of humor, and pop artists like Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein, whose paintings reproduce the look of Ben-Day dots , a technique used in commercial reproduction. Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music , wherein artists intend to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all nonessential forms, features, or concepts.

Minimalism is any design or style wherein the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect. As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post—World War II Western art, most strongly with American visual arts in the s and early s. By the early s minimalism emerged as an abstract movement in art with roots in the geometric abstraction of Kazimir Malevich , [] the Bauhaus and Piet Mondrian that rejected the idea of relational and subjective painting, the complexity of abstract expressionist surfaces, and the emotional zeitgeist and polemics present in the arena of action painting.

Minimalism argued that extreme simplicity could capture all of the sublime representation needed in art. Minimalism is variously construed either as a precursor to postmodernism , or as a postmodern movement itself. In the latter perspective, early minimalism yielded advanced Modernist works, but the movement partially abandoned this direction when some artists like Robert Morris changed direction in favor of the anti-form movement. Hal Foster, in his essay The Crux of Minimalism , [] examines the extent to which Donald Judd and Robert Morris both acknowledge and exceed Greenbergian Modernism in their published definitions of minimalism.

The terms have expanded to encompass a movement in music that features such repetition and iteration as those of the compositions of La Monte Young , Terry Riley , Steve Reich , Philip Glass , and John Adams. Minimalist compositions are sometimes known as systems music. The term "minimalist" often colloquially refers to anything that is spare or stripped to its essentials.

It has also been used to describe the plays and novels of Samuel Beckett , the films of Robert Bresson , the stories of Raymond Carver , and the automobile designs of Colin Chapman. In the late s Robert Pincus-Witten [] coined the term " postminimalism " to describe minimalist-derived art which had content and contextual overtones that minimalism rejected. Since then, many artists have embraced minimal or postminimal styles, and the label "Postmodern" has been attached to them. Related to abstract expressionism was the emergence of combining manufactured items with artist materials, moving away from previous conventions of painting and sculpture.

The work of Robert Rauschenberg exemplifies this trend. His "combines" of the s were forerunners of pop art and installation art , and used assemblages of large physical objects, including stuffed animals, birds and commercial photographs. Creating new conventions of art-making, they made acceptable in serious contemporary art circles the radical inclusion in their works of unlikely materials.

Another pioneer of collage was Joseph Cornell , whose more intimately scaled works were seen as radical because of both his personal iconography and his use of found objects. In the early 20th century Marcel Duchamp submitted for exhibition a urinal as a sculpture. He referred to his work as " readymades ".

Fountain was a urinal signed with the pseudonym "R. Mutt", the exhibition of which shocked the art world in This and Duchamp's other works are generally labelled as Dada. Duchamp can be seen as a precursor to conceptual art, other famous examples being John Cage 's 4'33" , which is four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence, and Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing.

What was Modernism?

Many conceptual works take the position that art is the result of the viewer viewing an object or act as art, not of the intrinsic qualities of the work itself. In choosing "an ordinary article of life" and creating "a new thought for that object" Duchamp invited onlookers to view Fountain as a sculpture. Marcel Duchamp famously gave up "art" in favor of chess. Avant-garde composer David Tudor created a piece, Reunion , written jointly with Lowell Cross, that features a chess game in which each move triggers a lighting effect or projection.

Duchamp and Cage played the game at the work's premier. Both used images of ordinary objects, or the objects themselves, in their work, while retaining the abstraction and painterly gestures of high Modernism. During the late s and s artists with a wide range of interests began to push the boundaries of contemporary art. Groups like The Living Theatre with Julian Beck and Judith Malina collaborated with sculptors and painters creating environments, radically changing the relationship between audience and performer, especially in their piece Paradise Now.

Park Place Gallery was a center for musical performances by electronic composers Steve Reich , Philip Glass , and other notable performance artists including Joan Jonas. These performances were intended as works of a new art form combining sculpture, dance, and music or sound, often with audience participation.

They were characterized by the reductive philosophies of minimalism and the spontaneous improvisation and expressivity of abstract expressionism. Images of Schneeman's performances of pieces meant to shock are occasionally used to illustrate these kinds of art, and she is often seen photographed while performing her piece Interior Scroll.

However, the images of her performing this piece are illustrating precisely what performance art is not. In performance art, the performance itself is the medium. Other media cannot illustrate performance art. Performance art is performed, not captured. By its nature performance is momentary and evanescent, which is part of the point of the medium as art. Representations of performance art in other media, whether by image, video, narrative or otherwise, select certain points of view in space or time or otherwise involve the inherent limitations of each medium, and which therefore cannot truly illustrate the medium of performance as art.

During the same period, various avant-garde artists created Happenings , mysterious and often spontaneous and unscripted gatherings of artists and their friends and relatives in various specified locations, often incorporating exercises in absurdity, physicality, costuming, spontaneous nudity , and various random or seemingly disconnected acts.

Another trend in art which has been associated with the term postmodern is the use of a number of different media together. Intermedia is a term coined by Dick Higgins and meant to convey new art forms along the lines of Fluxus , concrete poetry , found objects , performance art , and computer art. Higgins was the publisher of the Something Else Press , a concrete poet married to artist Alison Knowles and an admirer of Marcel Duchamp.

Ihab Hassan includes "Intermedia, the fusion of forms, the confusion of realms," in his list of the characteristics of postmodern art. While the theory of combining multiple arts into one art is quite old, and has been revived periodically, the postmodern manifestation is often in combination with performance art, where the dramatic subtext is removed, and what is left is the specific statements of the artist in question or the conceptual statement of their action.

Fluxus was named and loosely organized in by George Maciunas — , a Lithuanian-born American artist. Many of his students were artists working in other media with little or no background in music. Fluxus encouraged a do-it-yourself aesthetic and valued simplicity over complexity. Like Dada before it, Fluxus included a strong current of anti-commercialism and an anti-art sensibility, disparaging the conventional market-driven art world in favor of an artist-centered creative practice.

Fluxus artists preferred to work with whatever materials were at hand, and either created their own work or collaborated in the creation process with their colleagues. Andreas Huyssen criticises attempts to claim Fluxus for Postmodernism as "either the master-code of postmodernism or the ultimately unrepresentable art movement—as it were, postmodernism's sublime. It did not represent a major advance in the development of artistic strategies, though it did express a rebellion against "the administered culture of the s, in which a moderate, domesticated modernism served as ideological prop to the Cold War.

The continuation of abstract expressionism , color field painting , lyrical abstraction , geometric abstraction , minimalism , abstract illusionism , process art , pop art , postminimalism , and other late 20th-century Modernist movements in both painting and sculpture continued through the first decade of the 21st century and constitute radical new directions in those mediums.

Peter Kalliney suggests that,"Modernist concepts, especially aesthetic autonomy, were fundamental to the literature of decolonization in anglophone Africa. The terms "modernism" and "modernist", according to scholar William J. Tyler, "have only recently become part of the standard discourse in English on modern Japanese literature and doubts concerning their authenticity vis-a-vis Western European modernism remain". However, "scholars in the visual and fine arts, architecture, and poetry readily embraced " modanizumu " as a key concept for describing and analyzing Japanese culture in the s and s".

This journal was "part of an ' art for art's sake ' movement, influenced by European Cubism, Expressionism, Dada, and other modernist styles".