Artistic Modernism: Central
- The main task of art is progress:
art is an important tool in the development of a better society,
by "perfecting" the individuals who respond to art.
- Rejection of tradition: Modernist
art is self-consciously forward-looking; art's progress requires a
break from past practices.
- Belief in scientific and
- Committed to free expression,
leading in time to the idea that artists do not reflect their
place and time. Artists are ahead of their time. As Oscar
Wilde put it in 1891, art's value "has nothing to do with
the fact that other people want what they want."
- Style matters more than content.
Exploration of one's medium makes one an artist. The attempt to
communicate content makes one a craftsman, not an artist.
- Absolute music serves the model for
all art. By purging the visual arts of clear representation, its
FORM is highlighted and it becomes universally accessible.
For an expanded discussion of these themes and their history, see
Christopher Witcombe's five-part
essay on Modernism and Visual Art
For a shorter discussion, try this essay