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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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899 news items

Index On Censorship

Index On Censorship
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 01:06:35 -0700

Like Sami, Bahia Shehab — an art historian and graphic designer — was also very much a part of the street art movement that emerged and developed after the 2011 revolution. Her trademark “no” stencils, spray painted on the walls of Mohamed Mahmoud ...
Journal and Courier
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:55:14 -0700

Conceptional art of what Aaron Bumgarner plans to paint around the Village and Levy area of West Lafayette. (Photo: Aaron Bumgarner ). 353 CONNECTTWEETLINKEDIN 1 COMMENTEMAILMORE. Two local artists will turn a boarded-up West Lafayette ...

The Daily Star

Washington Post
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:44:58 -0700

Emigdio Vasquez, whose bold use of color, exacting brush skills and uncanny ability to capture everyday people in dramatic moments made him one of the most influential pioneers of the Chicano art movement, died Aug. 9 at an assisted-living home in ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 12:46:19 -0700

This exhibition, according to a release from NGMA, aims to showcase 'Revivalism', an art movement started by Abanindranath Tagore in the early 1900 and artists of the Bengal School. It shows the change from the pre-Independence era to modern times.
Leicester Mercury
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 01:15:00 -0700

An exhibition showcasing half-a-century of an art movement pioneered at De Montfort University has been a huge hit. DMU was a leading centre for systems and computer art when it was Leicester Polytechnic and many of the artists featured in the ...
Portland Daily Sun
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 16:48:45 -0700

Lucy Lippard will speak at the Portland Museum of Art Tuesday night for the 2014 Leonard and Merle Nelson Social Justice Fund Lecture. The internationally known art writer, social activist and curator will talk about her life and work. Lippard began ...
Wicked Local Cambridge
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:29:19 -0700

City Councilor Nadeem Mazen is turning his campaign bus into a pop-up art venue on wheels. The Magic School Busk — a 1988 international diesel school bus that has become its own work of art as community members paint and adorn the exterior — will ...


Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:30:00 -0700

The mural represented the community hosting the event, blending a tradition of creativity with current forms for a new art movement. While the first-ever Southeast L.A. Art Walk in Bell took nine weeks to plan, the event was a long time in coming. A ...

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