Modernism Art Revolution

Modernism is a term used to refer to a form of art that created between the years of 1860s to 1970s. Modernism is a concept of art that was adopted by artists to act as a way of expressing their experiences of the surrounding world and therefore modernism encouraged artists to experiment more with art as a way of representing their inner thoughts and diverting away from the conventional traditional art. Modernist art can be termed a revolution due to the subtle way it empowered artists to become nonconventional and to express art in a more personal way and allowing artists to experiment with various forms. It was a period of new found freedom. Modernism revealed that art had an important role to play in the society and artists had the task of coming up with creative ways to represent the society in a complex way like it had never been represented. This paper will look at two examples of modernist art in order to emphasize on how modernism revolutionized art and how it was so strong a period.


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Rexroth’s Poetry

Rexroth was a renowned American poet during the modernist era. Particularly important was the fact that he brought new concept to poetry apart from the normally conventional writings where a poet composed pieces with hidden meanings and expected the reader to interpret. Rexroth’s poetry became controversial due to the fact that it involved the expression of ideas through the conversation between two persons at a time when poetry was viewed as texts having hidden meanings that required greater analysis from the reader and understanding of the idea that the poet wanted to put across. Gutierrez (1999) emphasized on the fact that Rexroth’s poetry became favorable with the political left wing and as a result was not famous with most politicians. However other poets like John Ransome became influential because they provided critic to the conservatives. One aspect brought out clearly in Rexroth’s poetry is that it was able to address societal issues such as politics.

This was like a revolution to art because it became a major tool with which the community could express their opinions on important issues affecting them. From his teenage years, Rexroth developed a longing for freedom and independence evidenced by the fact that by the time he was eighteen years he had started living by himself.  His parents, on the other hand, had encouraged him to pursue his interests in art and use art as a way of expressing himself. During Rexroth’s time, politics and political ideologies were very important topics. During his early years Rexroth was greatly influenced by sociological ideologies. Rexroth’s expressed his perception in more than one form of art which demonstrates the aspect of experimenting during the modernist era. In his apartment Rexroth had various paintings on his ceiling. Rexroth also experimented with other forms of art as a way of expressing his feelings towards issues such as philosophy and politics.  One outstanding aspect concerning Rexroth’s poetry was the fact that it was analytical. Young (1999) explains that Rexroth’s poetry revealed that he supported the aspect of demonstrating as a way of expressing political dissatisfaction but then advised that protests should be carried out with the clear knowledge of the possible social implications.

More specifically was the fact that Rexroth’s poetry was not just limited to the issues he experienced in his immediate surroundings, but also addressed other issues affecting other parts of the world. Rexroth was greatly influenced by the courage of two men Niccolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti who were executed despite the fact that they were innocent. Rexroth therefore criticized the system for the failure to provide justice through due process of the law. As a result, he became critic of the system for its failure to grant these two men freedom through due process. As explained Young Rexroth emphasized in his literature the extent to which he had been influenced by Niccolo and Vanzetti and even confesses that he lived by the principles of Sacco. Rexroth’s writings revealed how the politics of the society influenced his writings when in his book, “An Autobiographical Novel” he classifies politicians into Anarchists-Single-Taxers. Schopenhaureians and Nietzcheans. Rexroth’s works of art demonstrate how the period of modernism was characterized by a form of art that was bold and was even able to penetrate important aspects of the society such as politics and philosophy. According to Rexroth art is not something that individuals should not labor so much in achieving because it comes automatically when one blends with nature and begins to express the natural world around in an artistic manner.

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A Man with a Guitar by Georges Braque

The essence of modernity in art is expressed by uniqueness and the ability to be unpredictable. The painting of “A Man with a Guitar,” is a very interesting piece of art that is so abstract that it leaves the only speculation from the observer. According to Paape(2009), A Man with a Guitar expresses the aspect of art to diversify from the conventional forms emphasizing the fact that art is not gotten or inspired from a particular occurrence or place but is a combination of different cultures and the perception of different people.  The Man with A Guitar is characterized by grayness and a gloomy tone which according to Paape expresses the ability of life to be uncertain and unpredictable.

Modernist art uses the aspect of utilization of one piece to express multiple ideas. The negative view as expressed by A Man with a Guitar became popular among artists during the Great Depression and the Second World War. This outlines the fact that art was important in expressing the societal sentiments at a particular time. However art apart from just offering criticism also expressed a message of hope to the people emphasizing on the fact that things will become better. This aspect is brought out in the A Man with A Guitar expressed by the man in the background who signifies that despite the grayness and cloudiness some clarity will be achieved sooner or later. Braque in this piece of art brings out two important aspects of modernist art in the sense that he is able to emphasize the ability of art to be diverse by using one piece to express several ideas and he is also able to capture various sentiments of the society. These are characteristics of modernistic art.


Modernism was characterized by a period where artists were able to boldly express their express their feelings through various forms of art. Modernism was not just a particular occurrence but a movement that influenced various artists and different genres. An analysis of Braque’s art reveals that previously he had used impressionistic art but after coming in contact with Fauves art, he changed to fauvism that experimented with various colors to bring such aspects as emotions more intensely. Modernism art was characterized by the freedom that was expressed in various forms including indulgence in passion, forgetting previous barriers of traditional such as morals and ethics.  Art was revolutionized in a way that encouraged experimenting bringing out complex and intricate pieces.

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