Art History 2 – Modernism and Postmodernism


Modernism and Postmodernism were both extremely important and viable movements that helped push ideas and art culture a whole. “Modernism was based on using rational, logical means to gain knowledge while postmodernism denied the application of logical thinking. Rather, the thinking during the postmodern era was based on unscientific, irrational thought process, as a reaction to modernism”[1]. The main difference is that Modernism artist wanted to express the world around them while Postmodernism artis really push the definition of art in the world. Allowing art to become what it is today.

Modernism deals with art created roughly between the 1860s and 1970s resulting from the Industrial Revolution. Chartered by embracing new ideas and forgetting with old ideas. During this time artist were influenced by new technologies and ideas that weren’t available before this time such as the automobile, airplanes, or telephone. With this rapid increase in “manufacturing, transportation, and technology profoundly affected the social, economic, and cultural conditions of life in Western Europe, North America, and eventually the world.”[2]

Pre Modernism art was strongly influenced by religious or mythological screens. People were now traveling the world and observing new images that lead to new ideas. Modernism artist are known for using different ideas and methods that were very different from those used in the passed. As a result artist felt they no longer had to adhere to strict conventions that went into creating paintings, sculptures, music, architecture and other forms of art. With the creation of photography painters had to now find a way to do what photography could not. With artist no longer afraid to go against traditions art began to become anything you can get away with. Modernist artist have a more avant-garde view of art, which explored new ideas and unusual techniques. Art to most Modernist becomes an expression of an individual vision[3]. A great artist from this time was Vincent Van Gogh a modernist artist that loved creating art depicting everyday life and whatever he came in contact with[4]. After the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud Modernist artist were now beginning to explore symbolism and the “dream state” to depict subjective experiences.

Postmodern art is a body of art from around 1960st that pushes the idea of art it self. During this time art began to take new forms and mediums that blurred the distinction between art from different classes. Postmodern artist have more of a since of the present that modernism artist did not. This since of the present is seen throughout many of Andy Warhol works. Works from this time required the viewer to give their own interpretation of what they are viewing. Postmodernism critics believed that “newness was exhausted because of the decease of new ideas.”2. Many believed that the next progression in art is to borrow from other ideas to create. Postmodernist artist no longer seek entirely new means of creating art because they feel modernism exhausted all ideas.


Modern art was a necessary step in the evolution of art. Without modern art the world would have never evolved as a culture and would have remained closed minded. During te 1800s and up to the mid 1900s it was very expensive to be an artist. The wealthy were normally the ones who did pre modernist art during that time. Painting, sculptures, and other forms or art only gave views a view into the wealthy lifestyle. Now with modernism not just the wealthy but the common man can now traveling and were now expressing their lives through art. Modernist art reached is peak with abstract expressionism artist such Aslee Krasner and Jackson Pollock. Krasner was a key transitional figure within abstraction, which connected early-twentieth-century art with the new ideas of postwar America[5]. Expressing different feelings and emotions within there painting while only using shapes, patterns, color, and thickness of lines. If it weren’t for artists like these I don’t believe we would be where we are as a culture in art right now. Some would be afraid to be different and express themselves through art. Modernism and Postmodernism were both extremely important in the evolution of art because the both explored ideas and methods that helped others define what art really is.



[1]“ Difference between Modernism and Post modernism”200-2014

[2] MoMA,”Modern Art?”

[3] Megan Gambino, “Ask an Expert: What is the Difference Between Modern and Postmodern Art?” Published September 2011.

[4]Web Site Design by Net Impact“ Vincent van Gogh Paintings “ Copyright 2002-2013

[5] “Lee Krasner” The Art Story Foundation 2014


About collinabussey

Name: Collin A. Bussey Graphic Designer / Wed Designer / Animator / Director Gender: Male Age: 22 Founder of Successful Brand Clothing
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