Modernism stems from a philosophical transformation that impacted Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, following the end of World War I. It sought to transition from an outdated political environment with newness and experimentation, shaping the development of industrial societies and influencing the rapid growth of cities. Modernism rejected the traditional thoughts of enlightenment and realism, which was expressed in self-conscious fashions such as parodies and abstractions. Expressionism, futurism, vorticism, cubism, surrealism, and dada are art forms that all thrived during the modernist movement. Modernist architecture is sleek and minimalistic, cutting excess and focusing on the practicality of the materials used, which shaped a comprehensive and contemporary aesthetic that sought to represent stability. Steel, glass, molded plywood, and plastics are all popular mediums for modernist designs.
A prominent style and period in art that was developed in the early 1900’s and steadily spread across Western Europe and America until the 1930’s. Pieces made in this style were exhibited in Paris at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Mordernes from which the genre borrows its name. The emergence of Art Deco is most often viewed as the continuation or response to Art Nouveau, and was regarded as the antithesis to traditional art styles because its intention was to produce pieces representing luxury and elegance. Artists who were inspired by this style drew reference from styles, cultures or concepts that were often contradictory. Art Deco’s influence is visible across many art forms, from glass art to sculpture, architecture to fashion, dance to illustrative or graphic art. Art Deco, evoked a period of creation where artist attempted to go against traditional techniques, and sought out modernity and crafted pieces representative of excess, luxury and elegance. Art Deco is quoted as dying out by 1940, but its influence returned throughout the 1960’s and can still be seen in the arts, fashion and design of today.