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and introduced the need for assistance and mechanical needs in the production of artworks.
Such changes marked a change from Modern to Post-Modern art.
The end of the 20th century saw both the evolution of Minimalism, which rejected American
Expressionism and concentrated on stripping artwork down to its most fundamental features,
and the introducion of Conceptual art, which placed importance on the idea rather than the
object of art. The final decades of the century witnessed a fusion of earlier ideas. This is
demonstrated by Damien Hirst’s exhibition of formaldehyde-encased animals, which infuses
Pop Art, Dadaism and Conceptual ideas.
Austria
In Austria the 20th century saw a localised version of the European Art Nouveau. The rejection
of the ‘pompous’ and ‘artificial’ academic arts accumulated in the Secessionist Movement
(Sezessionstil) at the turn of the century, largely made up of the students of Vienna’s Academy
of Fine Arts. The most famous of these Avant-garde artists was Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) with
his creation of an enormous 33m long gem-encrusted frieze (1902), dedicated to Beethoven. A
similar reaction was occurring in architecture at this point, where there was a search for more
natural and functional forms. A leading figure in the foundations of this movement was Otto
Wagner (1841-1918) who designed Kirche am Steinhof and the Postsparkasse (Post Office
Savings Bank) in Vienna. New technology and building materials were exploited during this
period by artists such as Joseph Hoffman (1870-1955) and Adolf Loos (1870-1933), who used
glass, newly developed steel alloys, and aluminium and rejected heavy ornamentation in
architecture such as the Michaelerplatz Building. Post war Vienna did not just restore her old
historic buildings but transformed them in a streamline and functional Modernist fashion. The
50s and 60s saw the development of a more socially conscious Austrian art. Viennese
Actionists included Hermann Nitsch, Otto Muehl and Guenther Brus all of whose work placed an
emphasis on social change. Contemporary Austrian artists include Anzinger, Schmalix,
Bohatsch and Klinkan, and contemporary architects include Haas Haus, Friedensreich
Hundertwasser and Hermann Czech.
Gustav Klimt:
The kiss
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