" Dadaism laid the foundation for Abstract Expressionism and broke the barriers of traditional art allowing more expressive freedom for the artist."

Without Expressionism, later movements would not have been accepted. After AE we can never look at classic realism the same way again. At the turn of the last century Fauvists were less concerned with what they were painting and more concerned with how they were painting it. Expressionists took this further and represented reality solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect. Cubists continued this thought process by breaking up their subjects, and reassembling them in an abstracted form to create multiple viewpoints.

Dadaism, considered by some to be anti-art, was a reaction to the atrocities of WWI. It rejected all the prevailing standards in art including classic realism. It was deliberately irrational and laid the foundation for Abstract Expressionism. After WWII, AE further broke the barriers of classic realism and allowed more expressive freedom for the artist. This raises the question: Do wars create a fractured social aesthetic or do they create a loss of social innocence in pursuit of what is real?

Regardless of the answer, it is safe to say that without Abstract Expressionism, later movements such as Installation Art, Conceptual Art, and Pop Art would not have been accepted by society.

My point is that after AE, we can never look at classic realism the same way again. Pandora's box was opened with Dadaism and can never be closed. Artists will continue trying to discover new ways to interpret and communicate reality and are content to leave classic realism to the realm of photographers.

So where do artists/painters go from here?

I do not have an answer, but perhaps we can take a clue from Kandinsky. Kandinsky taught design and painting at the Bauhaus school before WWII. He was a master of the psychology of form. Perhaps his legacy is where we begin again.

I explore the difference between the AE pursuit of the purely aesthetic and the structured discipline of design. Abstract Expressionism and design are counterpoints, and integrating them creates a dynamic process.

Rick Fichthorn also composes music.
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