From the mid-1700s to 1980 C.E., Europe and the Americas experienced rapid change and innovation. Art existed in the context of dramatic events such as industrialization, urbanization, economic upheaval, migrations, and wars. Countries and governments were re-formed; women’s and civil rights’ movements catalyzed social change.
Artists assumed new roles in society. Styles of art proliferated and often gave rise to artistic movements. Art and architecture exhibited a diversity of styles, forming an array of “isms.” Works of art took on new roles and functions in society and were experienced by audiences in new ways. Art of this era often proved challenging for audiences and patrons to immediately understand.