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American art : An interface with the modern art

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  1. Modern art and what it means.
  2. Witcombe notes - 18th century thikers beliefs.
  3. 19th century - exercise of artistic freedom.
  4. World War One left progressive modernism dazed and confused.
  5. Postmodernism.
  6. Postmodernism and modernism.
  7. Witcombe - postmodernism.

Throughout the history of art, different movements arise as a result of the social, political, economic, and emotional state of mind that both people and nations are experiencing at a given time. Modern art and postmodern art are no two exceptions to these circumstances and have come to be for both similar and different reasons. As with most art movements postmodern art sprung from modern art as a way for artists to express their belief that perhaps there is an alternative understanding of beliefs that seeks to revise the premises of Modernism.

[...] It is in the ideals of the Enlightenment that the roots of Modernism, and the new role of art and the artist, are to be found. Simply put, the overarching goal of Modernism, of modern art, has been the creation of a better society. As the 19th century progressed, the exercise of artistic freedom became fundamental to progressive modernism. Artists began to seek freedom not just from the rules of academic art, but from the demands of the public. Soon it was claimed that art should be produced not for the public's sake, but for art's sake. [...]


[...] The Surrealists before the war still clung to the modernist belief that their art could influence human destiny, that they could change the world. After the Second World War, however, such optimism in the future was difficult to sustain. And to make things worse, with the advent of the Cold War and the constant threat of nuclear destruction, any sort of future looked doubtful. Having rejected the past many years ago, and now with the future no longer the goal of artistic effort, many artists turned with visible distress to the present and focused their attention on contemporary popular culture. [...]

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