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Modern Abstract Art

Modern abstract art is synonymous with abstract expressionism, created during the post-World War II era in America, which also made New York the hub of modern art. The art form, coined by art critic Robert Coates in 1946, emphasized spontaneous, automatic or subconscious creation. Through this modern abstract art, an artist expressed himself with the use of form and color, without representing any actual object.

Abstract expressionism is considered to be the first American artistic movement, which gained international importance and was originally used to describe the work of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Arshile Gorky. Modern abstract art can be divided into two groups: action painting, pioneered by artists such as Pollock, de Kooning, Franz Kline and Philip Guston; and the color field painting, practiced by Mark Rothko and Kenneth Noland. While action painting stressed the physical action involved in painting, color field painting is more concerned with exploring the effects of pure color on a canvas. Although modern abstract art does not follow any conventional art regulations, abstract expressionist paintings does have some common characteristics, like the use of large canvases, emphasis on the canvas?s inherent flatness, and giving equal importance to the entire area of the canvas.

Although abstract expressionism lost its importance by the 1960s, it influenced the growth of other modern abstract forms like pop art and minimalism. Pop art emerged in the late 1950s in the UK and US, based on the themes of mass culture like advertising and comic books. The art form, also called neo-dada, was pioneered by Marcel Duchamp. Minimalism literally means stripping down an art form to its most fundamental features. In a minimalist painting, an artist uses only a limited number of colors and employs simple geometric designs. Some notable minimalist artists include Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, and Martin Puryear among others.

Modern abstract art is increasingly becoming global, and is trying to break the cultural barrier that separates high art from the public forum of the masses.

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