Modernisms: 1900-1980

This period witnessed divergent ideologies and terrible global conflicts: WWI and the collapse of the great empires, Totalitarianism, the Holocaust, the dismantling of colonialism, WWII and the Cold War. It was also a time of unprecedented growth in global population, wealth, and communication and it was a period that saw great gains in human rights. Art of the 20th century is full of experimentation, the “isms” of Modernism: Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism and the later Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Minimalism to name just a few as artists sought to reflect a world that was being radically transformed.









George Grosz, Remembering, 1937, oil on canvas, 71.2 x 91.76 cm (Minneapolis Institute of Art, © Estate of George Grosz)
Nazi violence forced many artists and intellectuals to leave Germany in the 1930s, and like Grosz, many came to the United States.

George Grosz, Remembering


Ku Klux Klan robe, c. 1928 (The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford)
Artifacts like this are key for reminding us of a history of racism that is all too easy to forget.

Connecticut Klan robe








Ruth Asawa, Untitled, c. 1958, iron wire, 219.7 × 81.3 × 81.3 cm Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Taking cues from Mexican basket-weaving, Asawa creates diaphanous abstract forms from woven wire.

Ruth Asawa, Untitled