Art Movement Terms

Art Nouveau is a wonderful art style that is a mix of practical function and curvy form. The name means ‘New Art’ so it makes perfect sense that its popularity peaked at the end of the 19th century. … If ‘new’ and ‘the 1890s’ don’t jive with you, then, well, you are a normal person. What I don’t understand is why the people living at the time thought Nouveau was an appropriate label. Did they not think ahead?

To be fair, most art movements have more fitting (read: descriptive) names: Cubism, Impressionism, Minimalism, Photorealism. Even a ridiculous name like Dadaism works. But then along came the Modernist movement and everyone was left scratching their heads. Maybe not immediately, mind you, since the term ‘modern’ applied for a little while. Inexplicably, it came time to modernize Modernism and what did we get? Postmodernism.

Is that it? Are we left to tacking on an extra ‘Post’ prefix every 20 years now? Post-Postmod? Is there no better solution?

It’s too bad we used up Futurism in the 1920s because that term could really bail us out today.