Avery Court

Artists Respond to the Modern World

Avery Court installation view

Industrialized societies around the world witnessed dramatic political, social, and technological change during the first half of the twentieth century. Artists in Europe and America responded to two world wars, economic crisis, and the aftermath of these events, creating new imagery using radical techniques and even new materials.

A dialogue between European and American artists intensified during World War II when many influential artists came to the United States. A young generation of American artists emerged and New York City became an international center of the arts in the 1940s.

The art of this era that we call modern encompasses many styles and artistic movements, among them Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstraction. The concurrent rise of these new artistic approaches took place during this time of fear, doubt, and hope. Artists reacted to the world around them in different ways, some embracing utopian visions, others skeptically questioning the changing nature of cities, and some looking to the past for inspiration. Modernism was a time of intense creativity in which attitudes towards storytelling, the human body, the city, and ordinary objects were transformed. Artists Respond to the Modern World features works by noted artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Piet Mondrian, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Diego Rivera.

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