The great American modern artists of the early 20th century like Joseph Stella, Marsden Hartley, Max Weber, and Georgia O’Keeffe represented a basic departure from the then dominant Ashcan School of artists in New York City. From the social consciousness that animated the work of the Ashcan School, the American modernists brought to America and developed a new school of abstract modernism. The American modernist drew upon the techniques and styles of the European avant-garde, Cubism, Dadaism, Expressionism, Futurism, Fauvism. The coming out party for American modernism was the famous New York Armory show in 2013 that was both widely praised and widely condemned as a departure from existing assumptions of what constituted fine art.
While the Ashcan painters embraced the gritty realities of social realism, of workers, cityscapes, and boxers, the abstractionist followed a different path. (Jon, 1995) In a world of accelerating social change they left realism behind, and found new freedoms in expressionist art through the portrayal of essences, of social criticism through design and form and distorted geometries. They drew on the new freedom from the world of Picasso, Matisse, and Cezanne and pushed the boundaries from realism to pure abstraction. Joseph Stella’s “Battle of Light: Coney Island Portrait” shows the dizzying swirls and blocks of colors that you’d associate with ferris wheels, roller coasters and amusement park lights. cultural import to America that interests me is Anime, Japanese animation, and related Manga comics. Anime has taken animation into directions of social commentary and compelling art in film and video games. Anime is a powerful opportunity for artistic expression and social and cultural commentary. I enjoy very much watching the. Anime highly stylized costume performances of people and reading Manga style graphic novels.
- Jon, Dennis Michael (1995). “Early Modernism in America: Art for a New Century.” Minneapolis Institute of Art. Retrieved from http://www.artsconnected.org/resource/93998/early-modernism-in-america-art-for-a-new-century