Postmodern art emerged as a reaction to modernism and critiqued previously held values about high culture and progress, and it dominated the latter half of the twentieth century. Postmodern art is a broad art movement comprising several new forms and artistic styles, including pop art, conceptual art, collage, installation art, video art, neo-Expressionism, appropriation, feminist art, and performance art.\nPostmodern art was preceded by modern art, a movement that extended from the late nineteenth century into the mid-twentieth century. Modernist artists tended to celebrate clarity, simplicity, and formalism, and they often promoted idealistic views about technology and society. After both World Wars, as a culture of skepticism grew in the art world, more avant-garde styles, like neo-Dada and pop art, emerged. By the 1970s, the art world was firmly in a postmodern era\nWhile dozens of art forms and styles fit under the banner of postmodern art, they tend to share a few common characteristics.\n\n- __Anti-authoritarianism__: Postmodernism rejects the idea that there is a right way to make art, and it blurs the lines between high art and low art. Postmodern artists use imagery from popular culture, creating art that commented on everyday mass media trends like comic books, advertisements, and television. \n- __Pluralism__: Postmodern works of art explore complex notions about subjective reality. In reaction to the idea that art should highlight an objective truth, postmodern art focuses on the artist’s unique perspective. Postmodernism posits that individual experience—and the individual’s interpretation of that experience—is more valuable than abstract principles from science, religion, or politics.\n- __Irony and pastiche__: Inspired by earlier art forms like cubism, surrealism, and Dada, postmodernism takes a humorous and skeptical approach to making art. Similar to earlier works, like Marcel Duchamp’s controversial readymade sculpture of a porcelain urinal called Fountain (1917), postmodern art makes a spectacle of existing objects and ideas within the culture.\nPostmodern art encompasses a long list of significant artists, including:\n\n1. __Robert Rauschenberg__: One of the first postmodern artists, Rauschenberg was a painter, sculptor, and graphic artist who pushed artistic boundaries. When Rauschenberg began working in the 1940s, artists like Jackson Pollock were dominating the art world with abstract expressionism; Rauschenberg’s *White Paintings* (1951) were simple and thought-provoking additions to that movement. Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, however, Rauschenberg moved past the limits of abstract expressionism and incorporated everyday objects into his art, creating what he called “combines” like his artwork *Rhyme* (1956), which featured a necktie on the canvas. His silkscreen paintings like *Retroactive I* (1963) incorporated press photographs, which opened up new possibilities for his art.\n2. __Andy Warhol__: Warhol began his career as a magazine and advertising illustrator and became a leading figure of the 1960s pop art scene in New York City. Combining commercial techniques with avant-garde sensibilities, he created paintings focused on mass produced goods, as with *Campbell’s Soup Cans* (1962) and *Coca-Cola* (1962). In 1964, Warhol opened an art studio called The Factory, where he created colorful portraits of celebrities like Mick Jagger, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor. Warhol experimented with filmmaking and video art later in his career. \n3. __Jasper Johns__: Jasper Johns, who worked together with Robert Rauschenberg, paved the way for neo-Dada art. In 1954, 24-year-old Johns created a hot wax painting called *Flag*, a reproduction of the American flag that was sold to the Museum of Modern Art. Rauschenberg dove deeper into reimagining everyday objects in paintings like *Target with Four Faces* (1955) and *Map* (1961) and sculptures like *Painted Bronze* (1960), which featured two beer cans cast in bronze. Johns’s innovative artworks encouraged viewers to rethink their concept of art, setting the stage for movements like pop art and minimalism. \n4. __Roy Lichtenstein__: Born in New York City, Lichtenstein was one of the most influential and controversial postmodern artists of the 1960s. Many of his paintings were sourced from comic books and advertisements, like *Popeye* (1961), *Drowning Girl* (1963), and *Whaam!* (1963). Lichtenstein used Ben-Day dots—a technique typical of cheaply-printed comic books—to create giant paintings that parodied popular culture. His work was in direct opposition to the abstract paintings from artists that preceded him, like Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. \n5. __Jeff Koons__: In the 1980s, [Koons](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/jeff-koons-artwork) gained recognition as an innovative sculptor of iconic artworks like *Michael Jackson and Bubbles* (1988) and *Rabbit* (1986), which broke auction records for the most expensive artwork when it sold for $91.1 million in 2019. Inspired by the readymades of previous artists—like Duchamp and Warhol— Koons opened his first solo gallery show in 1985 with a series called *Equilibrium*, which showcased basketballs suspended in water. His work takes postmodern art to new heights by incorporating kitsch and popular culture in unexpected ways.\nGrab the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) and plumb the depths of your creativity with the help of modern artist Jeff Koons, abstract artist Futura, and stage designer Es Devlin. Our exclusive video lessons will teach you to do things like utilize color and scale, explore the beauty in everyday objects, and so much more.\nThe postmodern art movement of the late 20th century transformed the way we understand and relate to society and art.