The story of modern art begins roughly 150 years ago, when painters left their studios to try and catch nature and the quickly changing light out in plain air, only to find that they did not paint more realistically, instead they were pushed toward the fractured colors and fleeting compositions we've come to associate with the term impressionism. Once standard academy practice had been overcome, there was no holding back, and in a constant desire to pursue new roads, one style supplanted the next, always bringing different innovations: after impressionism, there followed symbolism, expressionism, futurism, surrealism, dada, abstract art, minimal, and pop. Even in post-modernism and the contemporary works of Koons, Kelley, or Wool, this modernist urge to make something new is still very much alive.
This publication concentrates on individual works, each piece breaking some amount of new ground, and with 300 featured pieces by as many artists, this means an average of two game changers for every year. Each work is accompanied by a text that places it within the larger narrative, introducing the artist and outlining the agenda. Introductions to all the important art movements give the reader a more thorough grounding in the historical developments, but most of all, it is the year-by-year succession of groundbreaking works, both classics and surprising rediscoveries, that tells the story of an art that always thrived on innovation.