Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values of realism.Arguably the most paradigmatic motive (motif) of modernism is the
rejection of tradition and its reprise, incorporation, rewriting,
recapitulation, revision and parody in new forms.Modernism
rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking and also
rejected the existence of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator God
in favor of the abstract, unconventional, largely uncertain ethic
brought on by modernity, initiated around the turn of century by rapidly
changing technology and further catalyzed by the horrific consequences
of World War I on the cultural psyche of artists.
In general, the term modernism encompasses the activities and output
of those who felt the "traditional" forms of art, architecture,
literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were
becoming outdated in the new economic, social, and political conditions
of an emerging fully industrialized world. The poet Ezra Pound's
1934 injunction to "Make it new!" was paradigmatic of the movement's
approach towards the obsolete. Another paradigmatic exhortation was
articulated by philosopher and composer Theodor Adorno,
who, in the 1940s, challenged conventional surface coherence and
appearance of harmony typical of the rationality of Enlightenment
A salient characteristic of modernism is self-consciousness. This
self-consciousness often led to experiments with form and work that
draws attention to the processes and materials used (and to the further
tendency of abstraction).
The modernist movement, at the beginning of the 20th century, marked the first time that the term "avant-garde",
with which the movement was labeled until the word "modernism"
prevailed, was used for the arts (rather than in its original military
and political context).Surrealism gained fame among the public as being the most extreme form of modernism, or "the avant-garde of modernism".
Details from Guaranty buildingA
very ornate skyscraper, an organized and ordered environment. The
supported steel structure of the building was made from terracotta
blocks, divided into 3 sections bottom to top by alternating brick
Carson Pririe Scott store in Chicago 1904Skyscrapers represent the upwardly mobile city of business and opportunity.
Fordism:Mechanised labour relations
-Coined by Antonio Gtmascie in his essay "Americanism and Fordism"
eponymous manufacturing system was designed to spew out standardized,
low-cost goods and afford workers decent enough wages to buy them. De
Grazia 2005. p. 4
Modern Times (1936) Charlie Chaplin