Modern Art is the term describing artistic output between 1860 and 1970. It is a time of wide-scale and far-reaching changes in the Western society. Modern industrial societies, sciences and technologies developed and with them the cities grew rapidly and the relations between people changed. And then came the horrors of the world wars and the rise of two hostile blocks. It all led to what we call today Modernism.
Modernism rejects the ideologies of realism and the lingering certainty of Enlightenment as well as the idea of an omnipotent creator. Modernist acknowledge the past by using the work in new shapes to fit it into the new realities. Modernism is all about “Make it new!”
This means for the art that the traditions of the past are thrown aside and artist experiment. They want to discover new ways of seeing and fresh ideas about the nature of materials and the function of art. Things become abstract and with the spirit of the time anarchic and individual.
Hence, modern art doesn’t know one style. There is no limit to experiment or individuality and everything is allowed. As Duchamp said, art is what the artist calls art and if it is just a randomly found object freed of its function. Modern art is characterized by having no character, not one at least.
Notable artists: from van Gogh, Seurat, Gauguin, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Braque to Warhol, Lichtenstein, Johns, Rauschenberg, Christo etc. pp