Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

9.1: Introduction

  • Page ID
    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)


    By the 1970s, the United States and European nations aligned against the Soviet Union, which caused political and economic issues worldwide, and the advent of the Cold War. After World War II, many of the Eastern European countries were under the control and rule of the Soviet Union. Although the United States/European alliance and the Soviet Union were theoretically at peace, the entire period was dominated by the arms race, including nuclear armaments, proxy wars, and sociopolitical bids around the globe for world dominance. The United States focused on the potential spread of communism, a concept ruling the political discourse and conflicts in America and indiscriminate wars abroad. The space race was well underway as the United States and the Soviet Union made space exploration central in the Cold War. Part of the space race was to develop missiles capable of space travel and, more ominously, give countries the ability to launch nuclear warheads at others.

    The Chinese government, which operates under a communist ideology, provided support to North Korea and Vietnam during their respective conflicts against the United States. As a result of their efforts, China was granted a seat at the United Nations in 1971, thus receiving official recognition as a sovereign nation. Following this development, the United States shifted its focus towards diplomacy and established diplomatic relations with China in 1972 - a country that had been largely isolated from the rest of the world since the end of World War II. Concurrently, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, which marked the initial step in reducing the number of nuclear missiles in circulation.

    During this period, the Soviet Union experienced severe financial and political disintegration. When Premier Mikhail Gorbachev took office in 1985, he started the concepts of 'glasnost' or political openness and economic restructuring. The Soviet control and influence over the Eastern European countries ended, and by 1991, the Soviet Union had fallen apart. Many of the former Soviet states established forms of democratic governments. China developed solid financial ties with other countries, including the United States, expanding its manufacturing capabilities. People demanded more freedom, culminating in a million students demonstrating at Tiananmen Square in 1989. The police massacred students, and the government clamped down on their freedoms.

    As we entered the new century in 2000, the world had become a global community, and numerous nations had succeeded in building a middle class and achieving prosperity. Many countries emerged as key players in the global arena, each establishing their economic success and influence. However, some nations still struggled with persistent poverty, diseases, weak economies, and growing populations. Additionally, major powers such as China, Russia, and the United States remained locked in conflicting struggles for dominance.

    At the end of World War II, the United Nations was formed, and one of the significant elements was the establishment of a Commission on the Status of Women. The commission was the first global intergovernmental organization to focus on gender equality. In 1970, the first International Women's Year was held in Mexico to elevate the global discussion on women's rights. The Women's Bill of Rights was created as an international program to safeguard women's human rights and end discrimination against women. Decades of activism have led large numbers of women in the world can vote and have leadership positions. Different standards and treaties were established to create a movement towards equal rights for women worldwide.

    By the 1970s, the movements for women's rights were reflected in women's positions in the workplace and occupational structures. Women artists began to fight for recognition and equality and to overcome the concepts of crafts as women's work instead of artistic expressions. Younger female artists incorporated their art ideas with concepts of "race, class, forms of privilege, and gender identity and fluidity. Both feminism and feminist art continue to evolve."[1] By the end of the century, women made significant gains as identified artists. Women represented 47.4% of art directors, fine artists, animators, and 42.8% of photographers. However, only 22.2% of the architects were women in a high-paying field.[2]

    The Technology of the Video Artists

    Video art started in the late 1960s based on the availability of new technology for consumers, including videotape recorders, colored televisions, DVDs, and video cameras. From the 1970s, technology became cheaper, faster, smaller, and more powerful, allowing more creativity for artists. Small, hand-held cameras allowed artists to video record, no longer tied to the expensive 8-mm and 16-mm equipment. They could also simply remix and combine footage they shot and pre-recorded images from multiple sources. By the 1980s, editing software had become affordable for the average person. The software lets the artists program their videos, edit different scenes, and add audio. The capabilities opening for this new art form because of the advent of small, portable camera recorders formed the same revolution as the Impressionist's ability to paint outside because they had portable paint tubes. Since the 1970s, technology has been intertwined with art, the ever-expanding media bringing continual changes and experiences for artists. The 1990s technology brought the internet and the ability of people to interact, access broader audiences, and manipulate their artwork.

    Materials of the Young British Artists

    The Young British Artists became a brand name used to market Britain's new and unusual style. The movement began with students at Goldsmiths College of Art when they set up an exhibition called Freeze; the show became known for its shock tactics based on unusual materials and how they used them. The artists frequently used found objects and presented them in different ways. The artists used dead preserved animals, their furniture, food of all types, or medicines and pills. The objects were stuffed, crushed, disassembled, or combined into integrated artwork. Artists also used film and photography to create or enhance their work. Some artists went beyond the traditional view of the female body, treating the image outside of how males defined the beauty of a woman's body.

    Forms of Sculpture

    The sculpture took many forms with the advent of new technological breakthroughs in materials and the assembly of sculptures. However, one of the most basic forms became popular in this period in the form of Land Art or Environmental Art. The artist interacted with materials found in the natural environment. Land Art celebrated nature, and artists often enhanced nature with other materials, the art not based on anything except the beauty of nature. Sculptures also went beyond the single figure and made installations frequently based on social issues. Minimalism concepts were found in many forms of sculptures as technology and manufacturing capabilities allowed artists to create shapes and forms that might be considered simple, except the immense size of the installation made a dynamic impact. The ability to roll massive metal sheets, form them, and transport and install them brought stunning sculptures.

    Manga Art

    Manga artists initially used paper and pencil to draw their images. Today, many artists have moved to digital capabilities to create their work, although some artists still use traditional methods. The mangakas (manga artists) develop a storyboard to define the characters, the story, and different activities. With the storyboard, the artist makes a pencil sketch followed by inking the lines and filling in details. Some mangakas use both, using a pencil to define the layouts and panels and scanning the work with art software to add details and sophistication to their images. Digital software allows artists to add text bubbles or textures like interlaced flowers, crosshatching, or other repetitive elements. Whether the artist created images by hand or digitally, once an image is scanned, the computer allows manga artists to employ unlimited colors and effects.

    [1] Retrieved from

    [2] Retrieved from

    This page titled 9.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Deborah Gustlin & Zoe Gustlin (Open Educational Resource Initiative at Evergreen Valley College) .

    • Was this article helpful?