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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 Rivera's wife'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. 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. 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.

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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. 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. 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.


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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.

Modernism in Design Reaktion Books Critical Views

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.

Modernism: the idea that just won't go away | Art and design | The Guardian

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". Tange was also an influential patron of the Metabolist movement. He said: "It was, I believe, around or at the beginning of the sixties that I began to think about what I was later to call structuralism ", [] He was influenced from an early age by the Swiss modernist, Le Corbusier , Tange gained international recognition in when he won the competition for the design of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

They wrote fiction that was more concerned with the unconscious and with aesthetics than with politics or social problems. In India, the Progressive Artists' Group was a group of modern artists , mainly based in Mumbai , India formed in Though it lacked any particular style, it synthesised Indian art with European and North America influences from the first half of the 20th Century, including Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Expressionism.

By the early s the Postmodern movement in art and architecture began to establish its position through various conceptual and intermedia formats. Postmodernism in music and literature began to take hold earlier.

Why Ian Nairn, outspoken critic of postwar modernism, is as relevant as ever

In music, postmodernism is described in one reference work, as a "term introduced in the s", [] while in British literature, The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature sees modernism "ceding its predominance to postmodernism" as early as Modernism is an encompassing label for a wide variety of cultural movements. Postmodernism is essentially a centralized movement that named itself, based on sociopolitical theory, although the term is now used in a wider sense to refer to activities from the 20th century onwards which exhibit awareness of and reinterpret the modern.

Postmodern theory asserts that the attempt to canonise Modernism "after the fact" is doomed to undisambiguable contradictions. In a narrower sense, what was Modernist was not necessarily also postmodern. Those elements of Modernism which accentuated the benefits of rationality and socio-technological progress were only Modernist.

Modernism's stress on freedom of expression , experimentation, radicalism , and primitivism disregards conventional expectations. In many art forms this often meant startling and alienating audiences with bizarre and unpredictable effects, as in the strange and disturbing combinations of motifs in Surrealism or the use of extreme dissonance and atonality in Modernist music. In literature this often involved the rejection of intelligible plots or characterization in novels, or the creation of poetry that defied clear interpretation. From , socialist realism began to oust Modernism in the Soviet Union; [] it had previously endorsed Futurism and Constructivism.

The Nazi government of Germany deemed modernism narcissistic and nonsensical, as well as "Jewish" see Antisemitism and "Negro". Accusations of "formalism" could lead to the end of a career, or worse. I can still remember the day I picked up a copy of The Language of Post Modern Architecture to find myself transfixed by its traffic-stopping first sentence. Charles Jencks, the American critic, went on to claim that the fact that 'many so-called modern architects still go around practising a trade as if it were alive can be taken as one of the great curiosities of our age, like the monarchy giving life-prolonging drugs to the Royal Company of Archers'.

Who knows what still more overheated conclusion he would have come to if he could only have known that another huge complex designed by the same architect was one day also going to come to an equally premature but far more violent end. At the time of Jencks's writing, people had already suggested that architectural modernism had run its course.

But so calmly and so matter-of-factly to write it off as dead, to dance on its grave, had a breathtaking finality. This was not like saying that Art Deco was dead, or that pink was the new black. Nobody ever saw the Jazz Age as anything more than a transient fashion. But to be a modernist was to have a point of view about everything from music to psychoanalysis. It was to take a moral stand about the 'honest' use of materials, and to believe in the designer's duty to build a better world.

If modernism was dead after shaping every detail of our everyday lives for so long, from the cars that we drove to the art in the galleries, and the typography of our postage stamps to the division of our cities into functional zones, what were we left with to provide a compass for the world? What did it matter, as Jencks later admitted to me, that he had made up the killer detail to pin the time of the blast down to the last minute.

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It was a genuinely breathtaking declaration that was intended to mark the end of something big. And, of course, Jencks was interested in trying to start something equally big, something that he called postmodernism. In Jencks's eyes, if not in everybody else's, postmodernism meant design with the wit, the emotions and the history that modernism had rejected put back into the mix.

But for others, postmodernism was even bleaker: it was modernism plus French literary theory. Since before the First World War 'modern', a word carved in steel and concrete with such apparently unarguable clarity in an impeccably severe sans-serif font, had a power like no other adjective used to denote a cultural movement. It involved using non-traditional materials and forms.

Certainly no other adjective was applied with such promiscuous abandon to almost everything, or is still able to evoke a very particular way of seeing the world. Modern Art. Modern Architecture, Modern Jazz. Modern Movement. Modern Life. And for a while in the late s 'modern' really did seem to be dead. Architects went through a kind of collective breakdown. Under the lash of the Prince of Wales, who famously suggested with singular lack of taste and judgment that, say what you like about the Luftwaffe, they did less damage to London than Britain's modern architects, they sheltered under a kind of vernacular style, or even a kind of stylistic pastiche of classicism.

The ambition to build a sunlit new world that had driven modernism for so long had apparently evaporated. You might equally well argue that 'modern' died on the day, in , that Alfred Barr and the Rockefellers captured it and put it in a museum, New York's MoMA, thereby turning a huge cultural force into a mere stylistic category. But to argue that is to risk losing yourself in a quagmire of definitions that has clouded the understanding of the modern movement from the start. One can be equated with contemporary, the other has come to mean a very particular creative approach, and is one that has alternately fascinated and repelled us.

It was only when modernism was domesticated in a pincer movement by Terence Conran and Paul Smith that Britain really took to the style, now to be found in every branch of Ikea and Pizza Express. Amazon Payment Products. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web.

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