This is the "Reference and Background Sources" page of the "Contemporary Art" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content
Library Banner Fort Lewis College link Fort Lewis College link Link to Reed Library Link to Reed Library Directory Reed Library on Facebook Reed Library Instagram Reed Library Pinterest Link to campus phone directory Link to theFort Fort Lewis College A to Z

Contemporary Art  

Last Updated: Aug 26, 2014 URL: Print Guide

Reference and Background Sources Print Page

Search Image Collections


Credo Reference Topics

Modernism/ Postmodernism

Smithson Spiral Jetty

Modernism: "term used to describe the 20th century's conscious attempt to break with the artistic traditions of the 19th century." (from Credo Reference) 

Explore more about specific examples of modernism in art  through resource "Topic pages" on Modern Art, Postimpressionism, Abstract Expressionism, and other references linked within. How is the term "modern art" different from the concept of "modernism"?

Pop Art and Minimalism are both transitional periods, utilizing forms of modern art but breaking with traditional artistic values.

Postmodernism defies definition, almost by definition. "In general, the postmodern view is cool, ironic, and accepting of the fragmentation of contemporary existence. It tends to concentrate on surfaces rather than depths, to blur the distinctions between high and low culture, and as a whole to challenge a wide variety of traditional cultural values." (from Credo Reference) That definition would actually place Pop Art in the Postmodern period. Is there a clear distinction? Find other definitions in other resources, including those in Credo Reference, that make different distinctions.  

A type of art often considered  postmodern is Conceptual Art, although it can be argued that the emphasis on surface would not apply to many conceptual works. Can you find definitions or other discussions that would fit "Conceptual Art" into a postmodern perspective?

Find additional Topic Pages or search using keywords in Credo Reference for other reference articles.


Oxford Reference

Art and Architecture Oxford Reference Online

Modernism from A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art. Given the length of the era of modern art and its scope of art movements and styles, are there types of art, such as Dada, that defy categorization as part of modernism? Why? What is another example? To expand your discussion, be sure to use additional resources listed on this page.  

Postmodernism from A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art. Start with this article to consider an additional definition of postmodern, particularly regarding "Pop Art." Does this include a definition which would place "Conceptual Art" into the category.  


Relativism of History

Any reference to time is, of course, relative, but "contemporary" by definition will continually change. Is this the case with "modernism"? Since the 1970's, the term "postmodernism" has become ubiquitous in culture studies, while "modernism" has been relegated to history by many. Are "modernism" and "postmodernism" relative terms, or has a specific meaning been assigned to them? Check out this video found through the Credo Reference "Modernism" Topic Page, where you can find more videos and other resources on the topic.


Concept Map from Credo Reference

Contact Us | John F. Reed Library | Fort Lewis College | 1000 Rim Drive | Durango, Colorado 81301 | 970-247-7270


Loading  Loading...