How Did We Get to Contemporary Art Anyway?

My lecture at the Met today was entitled, “How Did We Get to Contemporary Art Anyway?” and featured an examination of American Modernist works of art (1905-1945). We examined works by Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth, Gaston Lachaise, Charles Sheeler, Arthur Dove and Stuart Davis to assess what was Modernism. We then examined works in the Contemporary Galleries by Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock and and Ellsworth Kelly to see how Modernism bridged the gap between Representation and Abstraction and led to Contemporary art by grasping at and exploiting essential elements of painting such as color, line and form in pared down works of art.