Types of Modern Art
An art movement is any type or trend in art characterized by a set of artists over a period of time, following a common theme or objective, often followed by a select group of similar artists. Some art movements are recognized as such now but there is such a wide variety in terms of style and subject matter that it is hard to categorize them. Art movements are usually described as a short term artistic style, and there is no general consensus on when and where an art movement should end; some argue that an art style never dies, even if the artists who produce it are no longer active.
During the late 19th century, during the so called ‘Foucault era’, France was one of the first countries to see the dawn of a new style of art which would become known as the ‘art Nouveau’ movement. This style was defined by its emphasis on the use of everyday objects, the use of light and shadow, and the use of the ‘historical’ in the way the work was presented. The movement continued to grow in popularity until the Second World War saw the collapse of many art movements around the world. In France, this style of art was particularly influential in the creation of a new generation of art called Impressionism.
During the 1960’s in the United States the art scene experienced a rapid expansion which would ultimately lead to the formation of the Abstract Expressionist movement. This style of art was based on the use of abstract symbols and colors and combined with various media including textiles, ceramics, photography, and the painting of photographs. The primary focus of this style of art was to use as many visual means as possible in order to create a strong visual effect. There was a strong emphasis on the use of color and form in the art and it was seen as a powerful method for communication, although critics have criticized it as being too ‘carnal’. Although the style had not been embraced in the same manner as other movements such as Expressionism, Modernism, and Cubism, it was also criticized for being too ‘imitative’techno’.
In the early 1970’s another art movement would emerge in New York called ‘Fauvism’. This style of art focused on the use of natural materials like water, sky, wood and earth in its paintings, which was often done on canvas. This style was greatly influenced by the Impressionists but there were also strong influences from the Surrealists.
In 1980, during the last years of the Abstract Expressionist era, the American abstract expressionists saw their own demise when the works they produced were rejected from many exhibitions and were considered too ‘pop-art’ by many critics and galleries. The next decade saw the rise of Pop Art and its style became popular again. It is currently being hailed as one of the most popular styles in art in America. Pop Art, though not as ‘pop’ in the sense of ‘having a limited market’ as Abstract Expressionism, has achieved a wide global appeal as well as being associated with its unique use of color, texture, and form in painting.
A final movement in modern art, the neo-impressionist style, developed from the early twentieth century and which focuses on the use of a series of recognizable objects, usually including large sculptures of abstract shapes. It was created by Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali. This style is also considered to be very popular and is often referred to as the ‘French Impressionists’. Today, some of this art movement’s most famous works include Monet’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1917), Renoir’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1908) and Edvard Munch’s Scream (1910). Much like the Impressionist style, this style is not as popular in America as it is in Europe but continues to influence many American and European artists today.