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The Cover
September 1, 2004

Life Begins

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(9):1012. doi:10.1001/jama.292.9.1012

Modern art, it might be said, has as many modes as a teenager has moods, and it is often just as bewildering. Especially after World War II, when the center of the art world shifted from Paris to New York City, new terms to describe this art were introduced at a dizzying pace and in an argot often unfamiliar even to the initiated. Once the ne plus ultra of modernism, such now-familiar terms as Cubism and Fauvism splintered into as many pieces as there were artists. New terms such as minimalism, hard-edge painting, color-field painting, pop art and op art, shaped canvas painting, serial imaging, happenings, wrappings, post-painterly abstraction, hyperrealism, photorealism, and conceptualism only scratch the surface of those available. Color and line, once considered the essence of painting (although usually with emphasis on one or the other), yielded to considerations of mass and form, gesture, action, intention, scale, even the shape of the canvas. A simple piece of cloth to which oil, water, or pastel colors had once been applied to make a picture now became a collage of different materials, an assemblage of different objects.

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