Art History Chapters

  1. Introduction to Western Art History
  2. Art in the Ancient Middle East to 400 B.C.
  3. Art of the Hebrews and Jews, 2000 B.C. to A.D. 135
  4. Art of the Ancient Greeks, 1200 B.C. to A.D. 146
  5. Art of the Romans, 753 B.C. to A.D. 300
  6. Christian Art in the Roman Empire, 4 B.C. to A.D. 1453
  7. Art in the Early Middle Ages, A.D. 500 to 1000
  8. Art in the High and Later Middle Ages, 1000 to 1500
  9. Art of the Renaissance, 1400 to 1648
  10. Art in Early Modern Europe, 1543 to 1815
  11. Art during the Industrial Revolution, 1764 to 1914
  12. Art in the Age of Imperialism and Nationalism, 1810 to 1918
  13. Art during the InterWar Years and World War II, 1917 to 1945
  14. Art during the Early Cold War, 1945 to 1980
  15. Art during the Contemporary Era, 1980 to the Present
to Top of Page

Art History for Chapter 15:

Into the Future: The Contemporary Era, 1980 to the Present

High or fine art continued many of the trends of the previous years after World War II, with enthused reception by elites and museums, but leaving the masses often disinterested. Few people understand or appreciate abstract art or art that shocks with sexuality or crudity. Meanwhile, the divide between High and Popular culture grows ever wider, with High Art starved for purpose and support.
Given all the creativity of the past, what do artists do for the future? New technologies offer some opportunity for new forms. The growth of art in the media continued to explode, with most people in the West having easy access to film, radio, and television. The art that is channeled into video, comics, and games may have rich possibilities to connect with our Civilization.


Painting/Graphic Arts

The comic books and strips evolved into the Graphic Novel, longer creative works that combined illustration and complex story lines. The development of, first, video games and, then, the personal computer brought new forms of art in entertainment to the masses, many of whom joined in the creation of art in new ways. All of art became more accessible than at any time in history to more people through images on the internet. Here are links to useful sites on art history.



Most Western sculptures in public areas and for commemoration remained mostly in abstract forms.
marx&engels With the fall of the communism in the Soviet bloc of Eastern Europe, large amounts of social realist and abstract art glorifying the totalitarian leaders and the working class heroes were removed from public spaces. Without substantial funds for replacing the communist monuments, many public spaces remained empty, waiting to be defined by the culture of the present.



Business structures continued to dominate urban and suburban skylines. The enclosed shopping mall competed with the strip mall or the individualized “big box” store, which usually spread wide rather than tall as the now-declining department stores did once at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.
Government buildings, meanwhile, were often reduced in size and scale, due to fights about budgets and funding in most industrialized democracies. Few churches have been built lately in Western cities although the rise of mosques, some complete with minarets, have helped sparked a new culture war.


Last Updated: 17 January 2017