Why Does Modern Art Tend To Look So Abstract?

Why Does Modern Art Have Such An Abstract Appearance?

Modern Art has an abstract appearance because the artist uses imagination, materials, and techniques to reflect their vision in ways rejected from previous traditions. Modern Art looking abstract creates value because it is complex to replicate, unique in appearance and appeal. Modern Art is the artwork masters have not created therefore looks abstract and different.

Modern Art The Search For Abstraction And Novelty

What we need is abstraction and novelty. Who wants another landscape painting, right? Until this point in time, everything has already been done. All the art masters have created wonderful landscape paintings as well as most everything else. So how can artists create something new and bold? Something different to differentiate themselves from all the other artists? Well, that’s where Modern Art comes in.

By creating art that differs from traditional artwork, the artist can now be talked about and discussed. There is only so much that can be said about another landscape painting, right? Now art critics have some new to say. They can talk freely about the madman who painted the artwork. They can conjecture what the artist was thinking when the masterpiece was created. What hidden meaning there is in the artwork that is patiently waiting to be discovered years later. All hoopla adds drama and value to the art.

For example, take a closer look at Mark Rothko’s art. At this point you are probably asking were his Black and Grays interpreted as premonitions of suicide? Or were they rather continuations of his longstanding artistic themes, rather than depressive symptoms? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, but one thing is for certain, his works are different and have a unique appeal.

Inside every artist is an inner self who is driven like no other to search the ends of the globe for inspiration. The inner self strives to create, which has never been created before. This is the genuine artist, the innovator, the explorer, and the visionary.

Modern Art Abstraction And Uniqueness Equals Value

It’s very complex to paint another Jackson Pollock, right? Who can paint controlled insanity? If I am the only artist that paints in this style, my work is now worth much more. And I am the first artist with a unique style. You can’t run down to the corner art gallery and purchase controlled insanity. I am speaking at the time you can’t. Nowadays, there are many copycats, so in today’s world, it is possible to run down to the corner galley and purchase insanity.

I can purchase hundreds of ladies in the rain and landscape now and back then. But when Jackson first came out, I could not purchase artwork comprising liquid household paints splashed and poured on a canvas from all angles. Therefore, Jackson becomes the innovator who discovers a new path forward and becomes the artist all others want to imitate. As as you know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Now all that sounds very simple and easy to do. Just run down to the local hardware store and purchase a few cans of liquid paint in various colors and suddenly you become another Jackson Pollock. Well, not so fast. There is much more to art than creating something unique. I can take colors that will turn your stomach and create something modern and make it look abstract. But it may not have appeal.

It must also be appealing to be great. No matter how abstract Modern Art looks, the one thing about all great Modern Art is its appeal. And that’s the one element that is very difficult to replicate. The artist has no reference. There is no landscape to look at. The artist must create the appeal from their vision. It is much more complicated than copying what is already there in your field of view.

The Camera And Lens Influenced Modern Art’s Abstraction

If I want a beautiful image of a landscape to hang over my sofa, why should I spend thousands of dollars when I can have a perfect photograph of a landscape for a few dollars? Why even bother to create the painting when I can purchase an image before you can get your paintbrush wet with paint. I know I am exaggerating, but you get the point, right?

The lens gave all artists the ability to draw their world in perfect perspective. Every line is in a perfect place and represented just like in the real world. Paintings are so perfect it’s hardly distinguishable from the actual view. With the help of the lens, art is now perfectly represented, as if it were real. Then along came this guy named Jackson.

The ability for the masses to have perfect images printed at home of anything they want reduces the need for paintings. Now, the artist must be creative and come up with a unique product. And thus Modern Art was born. Well, sort of, but you get the picture!

I would like to see you take your camera and create a Jackson Pollock. Well, being an artist and follower of Jackson Pollock, I say artists need something to sell. Oh no, you can’t create this type of art with your camera. And the artist will be happy to sell it to you at a favorable price. After all, the artist needs money for more canvas and supplies. The artist is now back in business and has a unique abstract art product to sell.

Modern Art Recapture And Finding Inspiration To Be Abstract

Ask Mark Rothko about recapturing primitive drawings. Ask him if he searched the globe for inspiration and found Inca art? How simple can you get? Wait, don’t answer that. I know you are thinking blank canvas hung on the wall.

Rothko’s rectangular regions of color coined as “dramas” should elicit an emotional viewer response. And it worked, it does. His paintings grew tremendously in the decades after this death. Of course, I think his death had something to do with the value going up too. As you know, a dead artist is worth much more than being alive. Ha!

For example, take a closer look at Mark Rothko’s art. At this point you are probably asking were his Black and Grays interpreted as premonitions of suicide? Or were they rather continuations of his longstanding artistic themes, rather than depressive symptoms? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, but one thing is for certain, his works are different and have a unique appeal.

Many modern artists sought inspiration from sources other than their own culture and way of life. Gogan, for example, was inspired by Tahiti, the largest island in the Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, which is located in the Pacific Ocean’s middle region. Their culture and landscape piqued his interest.

Picasso is another example. In 1907, he began visiting museums in search of African antiquities. African art collections collected during colonial victories were displayed in museums. Picasso had a breakthrough when he looked at the basic masks and colors painted on wood.

The Modern Art Definition

Modern art has evolved and is associated with plenty of associations and embedded in industries across the world. And what comes to your mind as its definition of art will vary based on your experience. Art is everywhere. It’s in religion, embedded in our society, and is certainly developing.

Modern Art Evolution by Ed Shears

Abstract art employs the visual language of shape, form, color, and line to produce a composition that is free of visual cues from the outside world. From the Renaissance to the middle of the nineteenth century, Western art was based on the logic of perspective and an attempt to recreate the illusion of visible reality. Many artists felt compelled to develop a new sort of art towards the end of the nineteenth century, one that would encompass the fundamental changes in technology, science, and philosophy.

And of course, individual painters took their theoretical reasoning from a variety of sources, which mirrored social and intellectual preoccupations in many aspects of Western society at the period.

In the depiction of imagery in art, abstraction denotes a break from reality. This deviation from accurate representation can be minor, significant, or comprehensive. Abstraction exists on a scale of one to ten. Even art that strives for the utmost level might be considered abstract, at least in theory, because perfect representation is unachievable.

Artwork that takes liberties, such as changing color and form in noticeable ways, is said to be somewhat abstract. There is no trace of anything identifiable in total abstraction, right?

Signs and marks on pottery, textiles, inscriptions, and paintings on a rock all used simple, geometric, and linear forms that could have served a symbolic or ornamental purpose. Abstract art expresses itself at this level of visual significance. It is possible to appreciate the beauty without being able to read it. After all, in those days, the majority of people couldn’t read.

When compared to other types of art, modern art is sometimes difficult to understand and considered garbage. Contemporary Art gets more difficult to grasp when it deviates from traditional forms. When looking at abstract items or lines on a plane, it might be difficult to determine what the artist intended. Furthermore, some contemporary artists are frequently just clowning about.


Dickerman, L., & Affron, M. (2012). Inventing abstraction, 1910-1925: How a radical idea changed modern art. The Museum of Modern Art. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=2NNb9bUe4bIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA4&dq=Modern+Art+Abstract&ots=9yxCxt3-xX&sig=fDiLdFMyjGtdgkyeUdn5-qdNZQs#v=onepage&q=Modern%20Art%20Abstract&f=false

Arnason, H. H., & Mansfield, E. C. (2012). History of modern art. Pearson Education. https://mcdaniel.hu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/AHY-2240.pdf

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