Post-War and Pure Painting
After World War II, the United States took the lead in the formation of a vigorous new art movement. A group of progressive artists known as the New York School developed Abstract Expressionism, a revolutionary way of painting. They broke away from standard techniques and subject matter, and they made large-scale works that were reflections of their own feelings. They used an abstract vocabulary that, in turn, everyone could bring their own meanings to be considered. These artists valued pure emotion, spontaneity and improvisation, and they thought that the physical process of painting was very important. They placed an emphasis on dynamic, energetic gestures.
As the influence of Abstract Expressionism lessened in the 1960s, a vast variety of new movements and styles came to the art world. For example, Op Artists created the impression of movement by using optical illusions. Many artists followed no movement and practiced styles that were uniquely their own.