American modernism

1910 - 1935

As a name for the mainstream tendency in 20th-century abstract art ‘modernism’ came into widespread usage only in the 1960s. It was applied to the Abstract Expressionists and to contemporary hard-edge painting, colour field painting and abstract sculpture, most influentially by the American critic Clement Greenberg. Its lineage was traced back to Manet as the initiator of a sequence of formal innovations, particularly those that lessened illusionism in painting and mimeticism in sculpture. Reflecting the economic and cultural ascendency of the USA and the enormous power of the New York art market, this viewpoint became orthodox internationally. It was, however, subject to subversion by Pop and Minimalist artists and to devastating criticism by conceptual, political and feminist artists and commentators. By the early 1970s it was displaced as a paradigm for most artists, although it persists in many museums, galleries and educational systems.
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© Grove Art / OUP

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Art MovementsAmerican modernism
Art MovementsAmerican modernism
Art MovementsAmerican modernism
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