The phrase “modern art” has no clear definition; it is still a vague word with many possible interpretations. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering how quickly time is passing and how anything that is deemed “contemporary painting”, or “modern sculpture” now could not be in fifty years.
What is modern art?
It is customary to define Modern Art as works created roughly between the years of 1870 and 1970. Following a protracted period of dominance by academic painting with Renaissance influences, supported by the network of European Academies of Fine Art, came the “Modern age.” Additionally, “Contemporary Art” (1970 and after), whose most avant-garde varieties are often known as “Postmodern Art,” comes next. Many organizations and art critics agree with this chronology, although not all of them.
For example, the Musee National d’Art Moderne at the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Tate Modern in London both consider 1900 to be the beginning of “Modern Art.” Additionally, they do not distinguish between “modernist” and “postmodernist” works; rather, they regard them as variations of “Modern Art,” as does the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
In addition, it’s crucial to realize that art does not change suddenly but rather reflects broader (and longer) changes occurring in society while attempting to comprehend the history of art. It also conveys the artist’s perspective. A 1958 piece of art, for instance, might be categorically “postmodernist” (if the artist has a very avant-garde outlook; a good example is Yves Klein’s Nouveau Realisme); whereas a 1980 piece by a conservative artist might be seen as a relic of “Modern Art” rather than an example of “Contemporary Art,” depending on the artist.
In reality, it’s probably accurate to argue that many artistic movements, or various aesthetic movements, some ultramodern and others traditional, may coexist at any one period. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that many of these terms—such as “modern art”—were only created in retrospect, with the benefit of hindsight.
4 main themes that had the largest impact on modern art
Although “Modern Art” does not have a single distinguishing quality, it was highlighted for a variety of significant qualities, including the following:
(1) Fresh forms of art
Collage art, various assemblage techniques, kinetic art (including mobiles), many photography subgenres, animation (drawing with photography), land art or earthworks, and performance art were all pioneered by modern artists.
(2) Utilization of New Materials
Objects like newspaper slivers and other materials were adhered on paintings’ canvases by contemporary artists. Sculptors developed works of junk art using “found things,” similar to Marcel Duchamp’s “readymade.” From the most commonplace objects, such as automobiles, clocks, bags, wooden boxes, and other goods, assemblies were built.
(3) The Use of Color Expressively
Color was originally heavily used in contemporary art movements as Fauvism, Expressionism, and Color Field painting.
(4) New Methods
Jules Cheret, a poster artist, devised chromolithography, while surrealist artists produced Frottage and Decalcomania as well as automatic sketching. Action Painting was created by gesturalism artists. “Benday dots” and silkscreen printing were adopted into fine art by pop artists. New painting methods were also developed by the Neo-Impressionism, Macchiaioli, Synthetism, Cloisonnism, Gesturalism, Tachisme, Kinetic Art, Neo-Dada, and Op-Art movements and schools of contemporary art.
What were the Modern Art Origins?
A little understanding of history can help you comprehend how “modern art” got its start. The 19th century saw a great deal of development that accelerated quickly. Huge advancements in manufacturing, transportation, and technology during the Industrial Revolution (c. 1760–1860) started to have an impact on how people lived, worked, and traveled across Europe and America. As people moved from the countryside to work in urban industries, towns and cities grew and flourished. The majority of employees experienced congested and claustrophobic living circumstances as a result of these industry-driven societal changes that increased income. In turn, this increased demand for urban architecture, applied art, and design (for example, the Bauhaus School), as well as the creation of a new class of affluent businesspeople who turned into patrons of the arts. These 19th century tycoons were responsible for founding many of the top art institutions in the world.
Two further events also had a direct impact on the period’s great art. First, the collapsible tin paint tube was developed in 1841 by American painter John Rand (1801–1873). Second, significant developments in photography allowed painters to take pictures of settings that might subsequently be painted in the studio. Both of these advancements would significantly help a new school of painting that came to be derisively referred to as “Impressionism,” which would have a profound impact on how painters depicted their surroundings and so become the first major school of modernist art.
How Long Was Modern Art? What Did It Replace?
Modernism didn’t immediately disappear; rather, it was progressively eclipsed by events in the late 1960s, which saw the emergence of mass pop culture as well as anti-authoritarian challenges to established orthodoxies in both the social and political spheres and the arts. 1968 was a pivotal year because it saw the Tet Offensive, the killings of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and widespread public protests in European countries. Modernism gave way to “Contemporary Art,” which is defined as “art of the current age” as it started to seem more and more dated.
Since the word “Contemporary Art” is ambiguous on how forward-thinking the art in question is, the term “Postmodernism” is often used to refer to more recent avant-garde art. A new set of aesthetics, marked by a stronger emphasis on medium and style, is promoted by schools of “postmodernist art.” For example, they put considerably more emphasis on the artist’s ability to communicate with the audience and stress style over content (e.g., not “what,” but “how”; not “art for art’s sake,” but “style for style’s sake”).