How an Art Movement Takes Root
How an Art Movement Takes Root
We’re all familiar with the concept of prevailing trends, whether they be in fashion, music, or fine art, but how do such trends come about? Who exactly is present at an art movement’s birth, and how does it spread? Prior to the advent of the Internet, the conditions for such a diaspora were decidedly more difficult to chronicle. The birth of art movements generally involved small local viewings or galleries attended by a small circle of influential artists, where the artists could view each other’s work as well as converse over how it came into being.
Modernism, both in literature and in fine art, deliberately ignored traditional art forms in favor of cultivating abstract ideas and fantasies. While modernist writers like William Faulkner and James Joyce were busy penning such emotional classics as The Sound and the Fury and Ulysses, modernist artists like artist Pablo Picasso sought the use of other mediums and materials, tending much more toward abstraction, requiring the viewer to pay close attention in order to glean any sort of message from the piece at hand. As one might imagine, this fundamentally changed the nature of both literary and art criticism, as critics now had to parse potential messages and meaning from scant, abstract details. From approximately 1890-1940, schools of theory in fine art and literature encouraged “finding the meaning” within an artist’s or an author’s work by crafting a compelling argument based on textual and / or visual evidence. Fine art criticism as well as literary criticism began to account for the details of an author’s or artist’s life as holding possible explanations for use of (or avoidance of) specific techniques.
Modernist art gave way to post-modernism, minimalism, contemporary art, and most recently, the dawn of digital art that corresponded with the birth and proliferation of the Internet. The digital art period utilizes the Internet to its full potential in that it relies on mobile virtual galleries, such as those on Artist.com and similar online artist forums, to connect artists who are currently producing as well as put these artists in direct contact with potential patrons. In the past, selling one’s fine art involved a competition for local gallery space, in which local artists attempted to make cases for their own art inhabiting a nearby gallery’s limited display space. Digital art galleries on the Internet have reduced that local competition and made it easier than ever before to get one’s art out into the world. Yet, simultaneously, digital art has vastly increased virtual competition, meaning that many young artists who might not otherwise have tried to establish a reputation at the local gallery are trying their hand at selling their art online on the internet. In this way technology continues to shape and propel art movements and art criticism around the world.
Keywords: art movement, modernist art, art criticism, digital art, fine art