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***Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most programs are currently taking place virtually. If you need help accessing a virtual program, contact us at www.wrl.org/ask.*** 

Looking at modern art can often be challenging. It always raises questions, even amongst the most knowledgeable viewers: what is an abstract painting “of”? How do you determine if something is “good”? A close look at the history of modern and contemporary art, dating from the late 1800s through the present day, demonstrates that the changes that occurred, chiefly that art became more abstract, were not arbitrary but rather developed along deliberate paths. Artists were not working in a vacuum but were responding to changes in technology like the development of photography, cultural moments like the industrial revolution, WWI and WWII, and rising globalism, as well as the artists and movements that preceded them. Using works from VMFA’s collection, this chronological telling of important moments in modern art provides the context in which to answer questions like those above.

Emily Smith earned a BA in English with a minor in art history and an MA in art history, both from the University of Virginia. She is currently the director of 1708 Gallery in Richmond.

This program is a part of the Centuries of Art series, brought to you in partnership by Williamsburg Regional Library, the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Pre-register for this meeting: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hmkgjBO4TLGMG2mokabruw

Check out the upcoming Centuries of Art programs:

Check out these resources on Abstract Art from WRL