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Nineteen forty-five marked a historical moment in the figurative arts, with new trends related to changes in the cultural climate caused in large part by the war. This book presents an in-depth overview of the arts from the postwar period in Europe and the United States to today, from analysis of the pictorial languages of the leading masters of the second half of the 20th century, including the avant-gardes of the 1950s, to consideration of the trends that have inaugurated the third millennium, breaking the traditional borders between painting and sculpture.
In the immediate postwar period, a situation strongly marked by the tragedies of war, Europe and the United States entered a period in art marked by upheavals and the creations of highly original personalities. The international art scene came to be populated by generations of anti-conventional underground artists who explored new territories in artistic communication. These artists pushed past the social realism and abstract art of preceding decades to adopt daring new expressive languages that swept over the traditional borders between painting and sculpture. From postwar existential tension came Art informel along with abstract expressionism, leading to the definitive break with tradition. There are then Lucio Fontana's poetics, Mark Rothko's use of color, Andy Warhol's serial images and pop art, leading to the most recent developments in the postmodern avant-gardes.
Contemporary art has become the site of cultural exchanges during our time, with global materials and contexts. External space has itself become part of art, leading to such extremes as Land Art. "Postmodern Art," with more than 400 color images, explores the currents, themes, and names that are part of the artistic heritage of today, from Art Informel to New Dada to body and video art. Its sixteen chapters present painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects with their most important works, many of them results of the close identification between art and life.
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