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Toward a global culture

This is the era of "isms." Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Rayonism, Orphism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and there are more. The avant-garde is unleashed in the 20th century and explores both abstraction and representation as a means to "represent" the radical changes, violence, alienation, and beauty that characterize the century. Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker of Smarthistory together with leading art historians, and our museum partners have created hundreds of short engaging conversational videos and articles, making Khan Academy one of the most accessible and extensive resources for the study of the history of art.
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Identity, the body and the subversion of Modernism
During the second half of the 20th century, colonialism was replaced by the polarized political landscape of the cold war. In wealthy nations liberation meant something entirely different as war in southeast Asia, racism and sexism, and intolerance of gays lead to unprecedented activism. Art that explored the body and the construction of identity itself asked biting questions about those harmed by the status quo and the role that art played in supporting those conventions.
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Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East

Meanwhile, European artists were also busy exploring issues of identity and the body. Gerhard Richter for example rejected the way artists branded by a particular style and creates a spectrum of work from the hyper realist to the purely abstract. In Britain, Bacon, Freud and Ofili find new power in representations of the human body far removed for the classical tradition.