Below are our best examples of 20th century art movements that are sure to be a perfect way to start up an interesting conversation with your friends.


Photo: Joseph Beuys “I Like American and American Likes Me”

1. I like America and America likes Me: This was a performance art piece done in 1974 by Joseph Beuys. His “performance” or action was at the René Block Gallery in New York, but it actually started at the Kennedy Airport when his family wrapped him in a felt blanket and took him to the gallery in an ambulance. He then spent several days in a room with a felt blanket, a flashlight, a shepherd’s staff, copies of the Wall Street Journal, and a live coyote. The live coyote was perhaps the most interesting part of the action, and there is some debate on what the meaning of the coyote represents.


2. Silence: This was an art piece performed for the first time in 1952 and is a little mix of experimental composition and, in this writer’s opinion, installation art. The movement consisted of a man named John Cage sitting in front of a piano without playing. The “music” was the subtle environmental noises around him. This experimental piece of composition was called 4’33” (pronounced four minutes and thirty three seconds or four thirty three). It is said that this piece was an icon in post-war culture, and John Cage has been associated with art similar to Andy Warhol: it’s supposed to be a punch line about extremity. To view a performance of this piece, click here.


Photo: Hugo Ball “DaDa”

3. Sound Poetry: More specifically, the “Dada sound poets” are very interesting. Although this was a movement that was around for a while, the “Dada” phase was the most interesting and most talked about. Hugo Ball (1886-1926) claimed that he was the father of “verse ohne Worte” or “poetry without words.” In a diary entry in 1916, Ball describes the reasoning for his poetry: “the balance of vowels is weighed and distributed solely according to the values of the beginning sequence.” Hugo Ball also said that he made his outfit (pictures left) on his own for his performance. To view a video explaining more of his work and even a small performance, click here.



So, what are your thoughts? Leave them here in the comments, or you can tweet me @kateeb790