What Art Movement Was In The 1960S?

The 1960s was a time of major social and political change around the world. It was also a time when the art world was changing, with new movements and styles emerging.

Checkout this video:

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism was the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence and put New York City at the center of the art world, a role formerly filled by Paris. Although the term “abstract expressionism” was first applied to American art in 1946 by the critic she had become interested in artists who, working mostly after 1940, had abandoned traditional techniques and values. These artists substituted expressive brushwork and gestural abstraction for traditional techniques.

The style is sometimes referred to as action painting because of the intense and dynamic nature of many of the paintings. Other critics called it gestural abstraction, a term that emphasizes the movement of brush and pencil across canvas rather than any logical or representational quality.

Action painting

Action painting, sometimes called gestural abstraction, is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting work often emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as an essential part of the finished work or concern of its artist.

This raw, emotive style of painting arose during the 1940s and 1950s in New York City and differed from earlier, more controlled styles of abstract painting. Famous artists associated with action painting include Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Joan Mitchell.


Neo-Dada was an art movement that emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was a reaction against the restrictions of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and sought to incorporate a more diverse range of materials and techniques. Neo-Dada artists rejected traditional aesthetic values, instead opting for an approach that was playful and often irreverent.

Pop art

Pop art is a style of art that emerged in the mid-20th century. It was characterized by its use of everyday subjects, often in commercial or popular settings. Pop art was considered a reaction against the traditional values of fine art, which often emphasized formal qualities and frowned upon any hint of commercialism.


The 1960s was a time of great social and political change, and the art world was no exception. Many different art movements emerged during this turbulent decade, but one of the most influential was minimalism.

Minimalism was a reaction against the busyness and complexity of Abstract Expressionism, the previous dominant art movement. Minimalist artists sought to simplify their work, using basic geometric shapes and neutrals colors. They believed that by stripping away all nonessential elements, they could create art that was pure and more lyrical.

Many minimalist artists were associated with the New York City art scene, but the movement quickly spread to other parts of the United States and Europe. Minimalism had a major impact on many different artistic disciplines, from painting and sculpture to architecture and design. It continues to be an influential force in the art world today.


Fluxus was a international and interdisciplinary movement of artists, musicians, poets, and dancers who responded to the palette of the new media culture of the 1960s. The name derived from a Latin word meaning “to flow,” symbolizing the continuous change and transformation characteristic of the work itself.

Fluxus artists created “events” that could be performed by anyone, anywhere, using everyday objects. These events were often timed to last no longer than 60 seconds (hence the name “60-second event”), and often resulted in surprising or humorous outcomes. For example, one event might instruct the performer to unscrew a light bulb and then screw it back in again; another might require the performer to balance a chair on his or her head.

The goal of Fluxus was not to create art for art’s sake, but rather to promote an art that was unitary, undivided, and integrated into everyday life. In this way, Fluxus artists sought to break down the barriers between high art and low art, and between art and life.


Happenings were a type of performance art that emerged in the early 1960s. They were typically experimental and irregular in nature, often involving events that took place in unconventional settings such as public parks or private homes. The focus was on the experience of the audience, who were often encouraged to participate in the events.

Notable artists associated with the Happenings movement include Allan Kaprow, Yoko Ono, and Robert Rauschenberg.

mail art

Mail art, also known as Correspondence Art, was an international movement that began in the 1960s and lasted until the late 1990s. It emerged from the Fluxus movement and was characterized by the exchange of small, often handmade, artworks through the postal system.


Photorealism is a genre of art that encompasses painting, drawing and other graphic media, in which an artist studies a photograph and then attempt to re-create it as realistically as possible in another medium. exacerbating factors—use of photographs, images and news clippings in popular media, the ubiquity of television, advertisers’ ever-increasing reliance on realism to sell products. Photorealist painters were responding to the overwhelming evidence that photography was capable of capturing much more detail than any traditional painter could hope to achieve.

Op art

Op art, short for optical art, is a type of abstract art that uses optical illusions. Op art works are often brightly colored and create the impression of movement, patterns, and hidden images. This type of artwork was popular in the 1960s but has since been embraced by artists working in a variety of media.

Scroll to Top