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American Art Movements

These are the important American movements, styles, tendencies, groups, and schools that we currently cover. More are on the way!

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American: 47 of 91 Total Movements
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Started: 1943

Ended: Late 1965

A tendency among mainly New York painters committed to an expressive art of profound emotion and universal themes, Abstract Expressionism embraces the spacial breakthroughs of Jackson Pollock, color field painting of Mark Rothko, as well as the gestural abstraction of Willem de Kooning.

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Started: 1900

Ended: 1945

Art Deco was an eclectic style that flourished in the 1920s and '30s and influenced art, architecture and design. It blended a love of modernity - expressed through geometric shapes and streamlined forms - with references to the classical past and to exotic locations.

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Started: 1890

Ended: 1905

Art Nouveau was a movement that swept through the decorative arts and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Artists drew inspiration from both organic and geometric forms, evolving elegant designs that united flowing, natural forms with more angular contours.

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Started: 1900

Ended: 1915

The Ashcan Realist artists painted in a more naturalistic and socially-engaged manner than their early American avant-garde peers.

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Started: 1933

Ended: 1957

Black Mountain College was an experimental school founded in the middle of the twentieth century on the principles of balancing academics, arts, and manual labor within a democratic, communal society and influnced many important artists.

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Started: 1961

Ended: 1980

Many Performance artists used their bodies as the subjects, and the objects of their art and thereby expressed their distinctive views in the newly liberated social, political, and sexual climate of the 1960s. From different actions involving the body, to acts of physical endurance, tattoos, and even extreme forms of bodily mutilation are all included in the loose movement of Body art.

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Started: Late 1940s

Ended: Mid 1960s

A tendency within Abstract Expressionism, distinct from gestural abstraction, color field painting is characterized by large fields of color and an absence of any figurative motifs, and often expresses a yearning for transcendence and the infinite.

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Started: Mid 1960s

The practice of Conceptual art became popular after the 1960s and presented people with an idea about art, which was more significant than the completion of a tangible and traditional work of 'art'. The aim was to create a concept that obliged people to consider the nature of art itself, and decide for themselves whether what was present was a work of art.

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Started: 1960

Ended: Early 1970s

Contemporary Realism emerged in direct defiance to the immense popularity of New York's, postwar Abstract Expressionism. The loose group focused on a return to a straightforward, figurative representation of life.

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Started: 1916

Ended: 1924

Dada emerged in the early twentieth century as a literary and artistic movement that celebrated random chance, readymade artworks, and outragous performances. Its practitioners, including Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, and Marcel Duchamp, scorned bourgeois conventions of high culture, especially the appreciation for artistic intention and skill.

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Started: 1919

Ended: 1960s

This ground-breaking practice of photography was inspired by Dada's improvisational practices and the Surrealist's foray into the unconscious, dream, and fantasy realms. Many artists contributed various works that ultimately stretched the possibilities of the medium.

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Started: 1965

In the digital age, artists would grasp its progressive technologies for their own creative output including television, computers, a/v software, and the internet. Beginning in the 1960s, artists and innovators have expanded art into new, and sometimes virtual, worlds.

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Started: 1960s

Earth art, or Land art, a term coined by artist Robert Smithson, refers to artworks from the 1960s and '70s that employed land and other natural elements. It is typical of a time when artists rejected the traditional art object, expanded definitions of sculpture, and sought to move art outside the conventional art world structure of galleries and museums.

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Started: 1960s

Feminist art emerged in the 1960s and '70s to explore questions of sex, power, the body, and the ways in which gender categories structure how we see and understand the world. Developing at the same time as many new media strategies, feminist art frequently involves text, installation, and performance elements.

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Started: 1959

Ended: 1978

Fluxus was an international network of "intermedia" artists of the 1960s who worked in fields ranging from music to performance to the visual arts. Taking their name from the Latin "to flow," Fluxus artists adopted an often anarchic and satirical approach to conventional forms of art, and their ideas paved the way for Conceptual art.

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Started: 1958

Ended: Early 1970s

The term "happening" was coined by artist Allan Kaprow in 1957 to decribe an art event, often staged or pre-scripted, that requires active participation from an audience to come to full fruition.

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Started: 1959

Ended: Early 1970s

Hard-edge painting, emerging in the 1950s and 60s, departs from the gesture and scrawl of Abstract Expressionism to favor blocks of color with well-defined edges.

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Started: 1826

Ended: 1870

The Hudson River School was a nineteenth century American art movement that celebrated the wilderness and great outdoors. The Hudson River School artists were influenced by the Romantics, using dramatic scenes of nature to express the American ideals of their time: discovery and exploration.

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Started: 1872

Ended: 1892

Impressionism emerged in the mid-nineteent century in opposition to the finished style of academic painting. It often depicted scenes of daily life, and used painterly strokes and shifting color areas to capture the effects of light and atmosphere.

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Started: 1970s

Installation art is a genre of contemporary art-making in which two- and three-dimensional materials are used to transform a particular site into an immersive space for the visitor. Installations may include sculptural, found, sound-based, and performance elements, and can be permanent or ephemeral.

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American: 47 of 91 Total Movements

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