Art Movement: Modernism Overview

Before the Modernist movement, we have the aesthetic and romantic movements.  Both these movements in art where looking for something more pure, more beautiful, something that wasn’t in the current experience of the person living in that time.  In effect, the art was providing a window into another space and/or time.

After the 1850s, there was a wave of new a challenging thoughts provided by philosophers such as Neitsche, Karl Marx, Saussure and Heidegger who sought to challenge the way of looking at the world and and to provide a new and fresh perspective in what was to become known as Structuralism.

In this wave of new thought and new ways of looking at describing the world around us, came the Modernist art movement where the main narratives could be identitified as:

– transform perception

– start from scratch

– experiment with new concepts and ideas

– produce art that challenged – no more paintings as window into other worlds, but painting the picture plane

– no monumental sculptures, but focus on form. material and space

In effect, the exploration and questioning of the real world.

As we moved into the 20th century, these ideas where further developed in cubism where the picture plane became fractured, and with Freud bringing in the idea of the unconscious mind, justifying surrealism and dadaism.  The Avante Garde had arrived, and Clement Greenberg, essayist and art critic, was to define the Modernist concept of high art (art of the enlightened mind) and low art (art of the mass produced industrialist era)

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3 responses to “Art Movement: Modernism Overview

  1. Tragically many artist have to succumb to low art in order to make money or create establishment with the hopes of gently introducing their Modernist high art . The real question is , do you die to self in order to become mainstream or do you remain organic and risk never being known. I can live with obscurity because if I’m not truly honest in my work then I’m better off losing the gift I’ve been blessed with. I have the flex ability of a day job though, so the threat of me starving is slim, thus I can snub the Kirkland canvas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that was what started off the post- modern movt from an artist perspective and why mass production and kitsch where embraced… elitist art was exclusive not inclusive. The post modern era hasn’t completed yet – still the art critic, artist, ‘industrialist’ and mass consumerism have yet to resolve themselves.

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  2. Tragically many artist have to succumb to low art in order to make money or create establishment in the hopes of gently introducing their Modernist high art . The real question is , do you die to self in order to become mainstream or do you remain organic and risk never being known. I can live with obscurity because if I’m not truly honest in my work then I’m better off losing the gift I’ve been blessed with. I have the flex ability of a day job though, so the threat of me starving is slim, thus I can snub the Kirkland canvas.

    Like

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