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.









“Protractor, Variation I” by Frank Stella at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Created in 1969 is composed of rhythmic bands of color in the shape of a protractor. This work is one of nearly 100 paintings in Stella’s Protractor series. Discover more reasons why this is a masterpiece with Franklin Sirmans, Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Protractor, Variation I by Frank Stella







Joan Mitchell’s Low Water is an abstract oil painting featuring vibrant colors, dynamic brushwork and dripping fields of paint that draw you in both physically and emotionally. Watch Eric Crosby, Director at Carnegie Museum of Art, explore what makes this a masterpiece.

Low Water by Joan Mitchell








Brasilia Grid
City planner Lùcio Costa’s graphic design for an ideal city was combined with architect Oscar Niemeyer’s artistic prowess and provocative use of concrete.

Building Brasília


brutalism grid
One might consider Brutalism as the ‘marmite’ of architectural history: it is a style that is systematically loathed and revered.

What is: brutalism?


Adolf Hitler and Adolf Ziegler inspect the installation by Willrich and Hansen of the Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, 1937
Explore the concept of ‘Degenerate Art’, a term adopted by the Nazi Party in 1920s Germany to describe art that did not conform to their ideal vision of the world.

What is: Degenerate Art?