The five key points that the authors are trying to communicate are:
The advent of modernisation meant that massive advances in science and technology were taking place at an alarming rate. This together with the forces of modernity, a social and cultural condition which was a response to the changes taking place around the world, challenged the mental state of the population with some people feeling exhilarated and hysterical with excitement whilst others were left feeling depressed and alienated.
New found wealth and social status coupled with a vast majority of humanity now being ruled by time and the machine, meant that there was also becoming a much more prominent division between the classes of people, with the bourgeois fearing but also needing the working class people. The working class had a shared ideology of a better life for all using the notion of a shared nation, race and culture as their catapult. This was to become known as socialism and it soon became apparent that it was very much a socialist V’s capitalist world.
The effect of modernism on the art world was only really to become apparent once the cubism movement began. Before this there was an attempt for art to be created which was ‘new’ but could also stand alongside the traditional art of the past.
The concept of expression using the notion of the self was explored, however the biggest effects of modernism on the art world were not really felt until after the First World War.
The development of a new pictoral language meant that a concern began to grow in wider social forms regarding art’s realism. Those who were unable to grasp the new pictoral language saw the art for its aesthetic value while others saw that the work remained a signifier and that its duty was to decode and maybe even change the modern world.
This conflict of opinions was rife in the respect of the cubism movement and was to continue for many years to come with cubism marking the turning point for modern art of the nineteenth century and the future of modern art in the twentieth century.
Harrison, C and Wood, P. (eds.) (1997) 'Art In Theory: 1900-90', Oxford, Blackwell, pp. 125-9.