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Exhibition Dictionary

Post-Impressionism

Post-Impressionism is a predominantly French art movement that developed roughly between 1886 and 1905. Post-Impressionism emerged as a reaction against Impressionisms’ concern for the naturalistic depiction of light and color. This art movement has a broad emphasis on abstract qualities and symbolic content. It encompasses Neo-Impressionism, Symbolism, Cloisonnism, and Synthetism, along with some later Impressionist work. The movement was led by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Georges Seurat.

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism is a post-World War II art movement in American painting that was developed in New York in the 1940s. It was the first American art movement to achieve international influence—and put New York at the center of the world for Western art. Although it is true that spontaneity or the impression of spontaneity characterized many of the Abstract Expressionists’ works, most of these paintings involved careful planning, especially since their large size demanded it. Jackson Pollock’s technique of dripping paint onto a canvas laid on the floor is one that has its roots in the work of André Masson, Max Ernst, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Modernism

Modernism is a philosophical and artistic movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Among many factors that shaped the emergence of Modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed by the horror of World War I. Modernism in general includes the activities and creations of those who felt the traditional forms of art, architecture, literature, religion, philosophy, and social organization were becoming outdated in the new economic, social, and political environment of an emerging, fully industrialized world. Some popular modernist movements include Cubism, Fauvism, and Surrealism.

Pop Art

Pop Art is a movement that emerged in Britain in the mid-1950s and in the United States in the late 1950s. Pop Art presented a challenge to the traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as advertising, news, etc. Often in Pop Art, material is visually removed from its original context and isolated or combined with unrelated material. The concept of Pop Art refers not as much to the art itself as it does to the attitudes that it led to. Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are two of the most famous Pop Art artists.

Cubism

Cubism was one of the most influential visual art styles in the early twentieth century. It was invented by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in Paris between 1907 and 1914. This avant-garde art style and movement revolutionized European painting and sculpture and inspired related movements in music, literature, and architecture. In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up, and reassembled in an abstracted form. Instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from several viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Fernand Léger, and Marc Chagall are among some of the noteworthy Cubist artists.

Surrealism

Surrealism is a literary and artistic movement that began in the early 1920s. These works aimed to resolve previous contradictions of dream and reality. Surrealist works feature elements of surprise and unexpected juxtapositions. Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects, and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself in the conscious realm. André Breton is known as the founder of Surrealism and was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was, above all, a revolutionary movement. Artists whose works embody Surrealist techniques include Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and Joan Miró.

Minimalism

Minimalism in the visual arts is a style that uses serial repetition of geometric forms in industrial, fabricated objects. It began in post–World War II Western art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Minimalist methods often stayed away from traditional art media and instead used commercial materials, industrial fabrication, and techniques of manufacturing, which all eliminated the presence of the artist’s hand. This style rejected the idea that artwork should portray the personal ideas and expression of the artists. Popular Minimalists were Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Tony Smith.