The period that encompasses modern art is a contentious issue. It is largely believed that it started in the 1860s and many believe it came to an end in the 1970s. While after this, art is generally deemed to be postmodern, Modern Art is still used as a collective term for anything produced up to the current day. Modern art is a broad term which is inclusive of many other movements such as cubism, expressionism and futurism. Perhaps all unorthodox depictions of life might be modern art, whether created today or a hundred years ago.

The aforementioned artists Marcel Duchamp, van Gogh and Francis Bacon would all fall under the genre of modern art. Subversion of the normative is a common theme among modern artworks. Instead of merely depicting something as it is, or even in a more favorable state, modern art often takes real life and transmogrifies it into something else.

This is clearly the case with something such as cubism, which takes a real-life person or object and then turns it into something which is more unusual or abstract. Many have questioned the principles of the modern art movement. One notable example of this is Marcel Duchamp’s fountain which he created in 1917. The work depicts a porcelain urinal signed with the signature ‘R Mutt’. Duchamp was originally mocked for his work and it was rejected by the Grand Central Palace in New York. However, several replicas have been made since and it is now considered one of the most prized and influential pieces of modern art in the world.

Modern and postmodern art has also fragmented the way many think about the categorization of art. If we have had modern and postmodern it begs the question of what the art being produced today should be called. With a greater number of artistic practices being utilized today, many think we should stray from this strict formality of putting art into boxes and instead just appreciate it for what it is. Categorizing art can be useful, however. Many people take an interest in a specific subtopic of art and others like to study a particular area which makes this classification useful.

Whether these rigid formalities continue to exist remains to be seen, but in the meantime, dismissing art purely on its categorization seem churlish and small-minded.