IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

A Conceptual World: Why the Art of the Twentieth Century is So Different From the Art of All Earlier Centuries

Listed author(s):
  • David W. Galenson

This paper surveys 31 new genres of art that were invented during the twentieth century, chronologically from collage, papier colle, and readymades through installation, performance, and earthworks. This unprecedented proliferation in art forms was a direct consequence of the dominant role of conceptual innovation in the century's art, as a series of young iconoclasts deliberately broke the conventions and rules of existing artistic practice in the process of devising new ways to express their ideas and emotions. This overview affords a more precise understanding of one conspicuous and important way in which twentieth-century art differed from that of all earlier eras. The proliferation of genres has fragmented the advanced art world. A century ago, a great painter could influence nearly all advanced artists, but today it is virtually impossible for any one artist to influence practitioners of genres as diverse as painting, video, and installation. This survey also underscores the central role of Picasso in the advanced art of the past century, as he not only created the first, and one of the most important, of the new genres, but in doing so he also provided a new model of artistic behavior that became an inspiration for many other young conceptual artists.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12499.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2006
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12499
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12499. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.