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An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, (usually a few months, years or decades) or, at least, with the heyday of the movement defined within a number of years. Art movements were especially important in modern art, when each consecutive movement was considered as a new avant-garde.


According to theories associated with modernism and the concept of postmodernism, art movements are especially important during the period of time corresponding to modern art.[1] The period of time called "modern art" is posited to have changed approximately half-way through the 20th century and art made afterward is generally called contemporary art. Postmodernism in visual art begins and functions as a parallel to late modernism[2] and refers to that period after the "modern" period called contemporary art.[3] The postmodern period began during late modernism (which is a contemporary continuation of modernism), and according to some theorists postmodernism ended in the 21st century.[4][5] During the period of time corresponding to "modern art" each consecutive movement was often considered a new avant-garde.[4]

Also during the period of time referred to as "modern art" each movement was seen corresponding to a somewhat grandiose rethinking of all that came before it, concerning the visual arts. Generally there was a commonality of visual style linking the works and artists included in an art movement. Verbal expression and explanation of movements has come from the artists themselves, sometimes in the form of an art manifesto,[6][7] and sometimes from art critics and others who may explain their understanding of the meaning of the new art then being produced.

In the visual arts, many artists, theorists, art critics, art collectors, art dealers and others mindful of the unbroken continuation of modernism and the continuation of modern art even into the contemporary era, ascribe to and welcome new philosophies of art as they appear.[8][9] Postmodernist theorists posit that the idea of art movements are no longer as applicable, or no longer as discernible, as the notion of art movements had been before the postmodern era.[10][11] There are many theorists however who doubt as to whether or not such an era was actually a fact;[4] or just a passing fad.[5][12]

The term refers to tendencies in visual art, novel ideas and architecture, and sometimes literature. In music it is more common to speak about genres and styles instead. See also cultural movement, a term with a broader connotation.

As the names of many art movements use the -ism suffix (for example cubism and futurism), they are sometimes referred to as isms.

19th- and 20th-century art movements[edit]

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]




Arshile Gorky, The Liver is the Cock's Comb (1944), oil on canvas, 7314 × 98" (186 × 249 cm) Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. Gorky was an Armenian-born American painter who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism. De Kooning said: "I met a lot of artists — but then I met Gorky... He had an extraordinary gift for hitting the nail on the head; remarkable. So I immediately attached myself to him and we became very good friends."[14]


21st century[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Man of his words: Pepe Karmel on Kirk Varnedoe — Passages – Critical Essay Artforum, Nov, 2003 by Pepe Karmel
  2. ^ The Originality of the Avant Garde and Other Modernist Myths Rosalind E. Krauss, Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (July 9, 1986), Part I, Modernist Myths, pp.8–171
  3. ^ The Citadel of Modernism Falls to Deconstructionists, – 1992 critical essay, The Triumph of Modernism, 2006, Hilton Kramer, pp 218–221.
  4. ^ a b c Post-Modernism: The New Classicism in Art and Architecture Charles Jencks
  5. ^ a b William R. Everdell, The First Moderns: Profiles in the Origins of Twentieth-century Thought, University of Chicago Press, 1997, p4. ISBN 0-226-22480-5
  6. ^ "Poetry of the Revolution. Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes" introduction, Martin Puchner Retrieved April 4, 2006
  7. ^ "Looking at Artists' Manifestos, 1945–1965", Stephen B. Petersen Retrieved April 4, 2006
  8. ^ Clement Greenberg: Modernism and Postmodernism, seventh paragraph of the essay. URL accessed on June 15, 2006
  9. ^ Clement Greenberg: Modernism and Postmodernism, William Dobell Memorial Lecture, Sydney, Australia, Oct 31, 1979, Arts 54, No.6 (February 1980). His final essay on modernism] Retrieved October 26, 2011
  10. ^ Ideas About Art, Desmond, Kathleen K. [1] John Wiley & Sons, 2011, p.148
  11. ^ International postmodernism: theory and literary practice, Bertens, Hans [2], Routledge, 1997, p.236
  12. ^ Alan Kirby, The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond
  13. ^ National Gallery of Art
  14. ^ Willem de Kooning (1969) by Thomas B. Hess

External links[edit]

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399 news items

Guardian Liberty Voice

Guardian Liberty Voice
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:07:30 -0700

Photorealism was a major American art movement of the 1970s. It consisted of painters who used photography as their subject matter and sculptors who recreated the human body with mastery. The significant trend of the period has frequently been ...
Peninsula On-line
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:07:29 -0700

DOHA: Doha will be the first city in the Gulf to join 46 cities around the world for the international art movement, Wallpeople. For the public art collaborative project, a wall has been put up at Katara where every one is welcome to post their photos ...
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:00:09 -0700

Zurich was the birthplace of the Dada movement and its opposition to the cultural values its artists believed had led to the First World War. It all began at the city's Cabaret Voltaire in February 1916. Switzerland was a neutral country during the ...

Colorado Public Radio

Colorado Public Radio
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 06:18:45 -0700

This repurposing of everyday objects became a trademark of the Pop Art movement in America. To get at the why behind this movement, Danielle Stephens, a modern and contemporary art teacher at the Denver Art Museum (DAM), cites art critic Henry ...
ABC Local
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:22:38 -0700

Larter's work combined his early European influences with the emerging contemporary pop art movement. Using hypodermic syringes to create some pieces, his bold style and methods pushed towards the boundary of abstract and challenged perceived ...
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:02:01 -0700

Fascist Fat Bastard 5 hours ago. A decent illustration of the pretentiousness of the Art world trying to tell the ignorant masses what is "good" and what isn't. See also the Abstract art movement. "Art" that can be reproduced by someone without talent ...

Boston Globe

Boston Globe
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 09:39:02 -0700

He tried a portrait, in painted wood, of Jackie Kennedy (“Untitled (Mrs. J.F.K.)”) that bore all the marks of the incipient Pop Art movement. But what really had Langlais's attention was not the slick surfaces or deadpan charm that evoked the media ...

Western Morning News

Western Morning News
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:00:00 -0700

An old Etonian, and a student of Guildhall School of Art and St Peter's Loft School in St Ives, his coming of age was at a time when the post-war avant garde art movement in Penwith was at its height. Almost inevitably he was influenced by the leading ...

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