Changes In Art History With Emphasis On The Mid Twentieth Century

3759 words - 15 pages

Changes in Art History with Emphasis on the Mid-Twentieth Century

Art during the mid-twentieth century contained some of the most important changes art history. These explosive times were counter-balanced with explosive popular culture.
More historical events, abrupt changes, and turbulence occurred from the end of World War II until the height of the Vietnam War than in any time period. Before this time, styles of art had lasted generations. In the 1960’s numerous important art movements were happening at the same time. There were variations on variations, movements inside of other movements. Therefore, because of the amount of independent and integrated pieces of movements and styles, a lot can be missed in a short paper. The amount that happened in these twenty-five years is enough to fill volumes, and so, this is just a brief scraping off the top of what during these times—the most tumultuous times in American History.


The 1940’s through the 1960’s were not only some of the most socially and politically volatile times in American History, but were the catalyst for the numerous changes in which occurred in American Popular culture during these and following years. Instead of experiencing the trauma which resulted after World War I’s end, post-World War II United States returned fairly easily back to everyday life. Although there were some problems converting from a wartime to a peacetime economy in the late 1940’s, Americans took on the task and entered the 1950’s on a very auspicious high note. During the time period after World War II, the United States experienced many changes. Technology was abundant and the rate at which new inventions, industries and technologies came about was at a rate never seen before. From a television in every home to the first computers and ultimately space flight, these two decades after World War II were crowded with advancements. Some of the most dramatic changes came in the field of art. What was once a single, slow road of popular culture advancement branched off into thousands of smaller, faster changing roads. Some of these “roads”, which can be seen as changing styles, or movements, in art, whipped Americans through a roller coaster of change in what they saw around them.

The End of World War II:

The major art movement taking place in the United States directly after World War II was abstract expressionism. The abstract expressionist movement “devoted itself to the principles that art is most expressive when a relationship is established between the artist and the spectator” . For the most part, abstract expressionism attracted the American public with its simple methods and spontaneous appearance and more so because it was an entirely American art movement. With most of Europe at war and in recovery during the 1940’s, Americans were left with the principal responsibility of developing art. Abstract expressionism was, therefore, the first movement to originate in the...

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