Modernism Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old modernism quotes, modernism sayings, and modernism proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


Don't bother about being modern. Unfortunately it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid.     

Salvador Dali

Perpetual modernism is the measure of merit in every work of art.     

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Modern paintings often seem to have been made quickly, by comparison with the paintings of earlier centuries, and that seems to give us the license to look at them quickly - to consume them and move on.     

James Elkins

Modernism in architecture went hand in hand with socialist and fascist projects to rid old Europe of its hierarchical past     

Roger Scruton

Modernism is the protein of our cultural imagination.     

Robert Hughes

A lot of modernism does seem to come out of a fear of being thought an ordinary storyteller. So they tell it backwards and they tell it in the present tense and they cut loose the pages and shuffle them around - all that kind of stuff.     

Philip Pullman

The modern mind is in complete disarray. Knowledge has stretched itself to the point where neither the world nor our intelligence can find any foot-hold. It is a fact that we are suffering from nihilism.     

Albert Camus

Modernism has a reputation for being a forbidding phenomenon: its visual arts disconcertingly non-representational, its literary efforts devoid of the consolations of plot and character - even its films, it's argued, fall well short of that true desideratum: entertainment.     

Will Self

Post-modernism is modernism with the optimism taken out.     

Robert Hewison

Modernism may be seen as an attempt to reconstruct the world in the absence of God.     

Bryan Appleyard

Modernism is about space. Postmodernism is about communication. You should do what turns you on.     

Robert Venturi

Modernism in other arts brought extreme difficulty. In poetry, the characteristic difficulty imported under the name of modernism was obscurity. But obscurity could just as easily be a quality of metrical as of free verse.     

James Fenton

Modernism is typically defined as the condition that begins when people realize God is truly dead, and we are therefore on our own.     

Phillip E. Johnson

In modern life nothing produces such an effect as a good platitude. It makes the whole world kin.     

Oscar Wilde

Modernism was influenced by what they call a primativist ethic.     

Theaster Gates

Modernism, rebelling against the ornament of the 19th century, limited the vocabulary of the designer. Modernism emphasized straight lines, eliminating the expressive S curve. This made it harder to communicate emotions through design.     

Eva Zeisel

Modernism released us from the constraints of everything that had gone before with a euphoric sense of freedom.     

Arthur Erickson

Modernity exists in the form of a desire to wipe out whatever came earlier, in the hope of reaching at least a point that could be called a true present, a point of origin that marks a new departure.     

Paul de Man

Modernism', as a label, has currency in the arts, architecture, planning, landscape, politics, theology, cultural history and elsewhere.     

Tom Turne