World War II, with the devastation it unleashed on all dimensions of life, set the stage for the second half of the 20th century. Nuclear war became a real threat and affected the geopolitical balance of power and the nature of international conflict. In the 1940's the center of the Western art world shifted from Paris to New York. The relative economic stability of the United States was a major factor in the shifting of the center of art to New York and helps explain the predominance of American artists in world art markets. The art produced often shocked the public and reflected a challenge to old values as modernism and the avant-garde prevailed. The later 20th century saw the production of art that reflects artists' reactions to a social, political, cultural, and psychologically changing world as they challenged the very nature of Art itself!
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