Shock art is contemporary art that incorporates disturbing imagery, sound or scents to create a shocking experience. It is a way to disturb "smug, complacent and hypocritical" people.  While the art form's proponents argue that it is "imbedded with social commentary" and critics dismiss it as "cultural pollution", it is an increasingly marketable art, described by one art critic in 2001 as "the safest kind of art that an artist can go into the business of making today".   But while shock art may attract curators and make headlines, Reason magazine's 2007 review of The Art Newspaper suggested that traditional art shows continue to have more popular appeal. 
While the movement has become increasingly mainstream, the roots of shock art run deep into art history; Royal Academy curator Norman Rosenthal noted in the catalog for the "shock art" exhibition Sensation in 1997 that artists have always been in the business of conquering "territory that hitherto has been taboo".  In China, which experienced an active "shock art" movement following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989,  encroachment on the taboo has led the Ministry of Culture to attempt a crackdown on the artform,  banning the use of corpses or body parts in art. 
Similarly, philosopher Stephen Hicks describes shock art as the inevitable conclusion of trends initiated in the late 19th century modernist art movement.  Traditionally, art was usually intended to be a representation of reality and a celebration of human or natural beauty, but by the late 1800s modernists began questioning the boundaries of what constituted art. "[T]he first modernists of the late 1800s set themselves systematically to the project of isolating all the elements of art and eliminating them or flying in the face of them," often by portraying the world as "fractured, decaying, horrifying, depressing, empty, and ultimately unintelligible." The "grand-daddy" of this trend was Marcel Duchamp with his 1916 work Fountain , a urinal he signed and submitted to an art show. Similar works that broke with past aesthetic traditions included Edvard Munch's The Scream (1893) or Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907). A parallel trend was "reductionism": emphasizing the basic elements of art such as colors or shapes, often in a manner that minimizes the need for artistic skill. Hicks cites White on White (1918) by Kazimir Malevich. A subsequent trend was using art as ironic or kitschy commentary: "if traditionally the art object is a special and unique artifact, then we can eliminate the art object's special status by making art works that are reproductions of excruciatingly ordinary objects", as with Andy Warhol's factory produced silk screens of consumer products. With a shift to post-modernist art in the 1970s and '80s, a preoccupation with politics, sex and scatology appears as with Piss Christ (1987) by Andres Serrano, and the performance art/punk rock musician GG Allin who became notorious for defecating on stage. "[W]e have reached a dead end: From Duchamp's Piss on art at the beginning of the century to Allin's Shit on you at the end—that is not a significant development over the course of a century."
In 1998, John Windsor in The Independent said that the work of the Young British Artists seemed tame compared with that of the "shock art" of the 1970s, including "kinky outrages" at the Nicholas Treadwell Gallery, amongst which were a "hanging, anatomically detailed leather straitjacket, complete with genitals", titled Pink Crucifixion, by Mandy Havers. 
In the United States in 2008, a court case went to trial to determine whether the fetish films of Ira Isaacs constitute shock art, as the director claims, or unlawful obscenity.  
Dada or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centres in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire. New York Dada began c. 1915, and after 1920 Dada flourished in Paris. Dadaist activities lasted until c. the mid 1920s.
Modernism is both a philosophical movement and an art movement that arose from broad transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new forms of art, philosophy, and social organization which reflected the newly emerging industrial world, including features such as urbanization, new technologies, and war. Artists attempted to depart from traditional forms of art, which they considered outdated or obsolete. The poet Ezra Pound's 1934 injunction to "Make it New" was the touchstone of the movement's approach.
Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp was a French-American painter, sculptor, chess player, and writer whose work is associated with Cubism, Dada, and conceptual art. Duchamp is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Duchamp has had an immense impact on twentieth-century and twenty first-century art, and he had a seminal influence on the development of conceptual art. By the time of World War I he had rejected the work of many of his fellow artists as "retinal" art, intended only to please the eye. Instead, Duchamp wanted to use art to serve the mind.
New materials in 20th-century art were introduced to art making from the very beginning of the century. The introduction of new materials and heretofore non-art materials helped drive change in art during the 20th century. Traditional materials and techniques were not necessarily displaced in the 20th century. Rather, they functioned alongside innovations that came with the 20th century. Such mainstays as oil-on-canvas painting, and sculpting in traditional materials continued right through the 20th century into the 21st century. Furthermore, even "traditional" materials were greatly expanded in the course of the 20th century. The number of pigments available to artists has increased both in quantity and quality, by most reckoning. New formulations for traditional materials especially the commercial availability of acrylic paint have become widely used, introducing initial issues over their stability and longevity.
A found object, or found art, is art created from undisguised, but often modified, items or products that are not normally considered materials from which art is made, often because they already have a non-art function. Pablo Picasso first publicly utilized the idea when he pasted a printed image of chair caning onto his painting titled Still Life with Chair Caning (1912). Marcel Duchamp is thought to have perfected the concept several years later when he made a series of ready-mades, consisting of completely unaltered everyday objects selected by Duchamp and designated as art. The most famous example is Fountain (1917), a standard urinal purchased from a hardware store and displayed on a pedestal, resting on its side. In its strictest sense the term "ready-made" is applied exclusively to works produced by Marcel Duchamp, who borrowed the term from the clothing industry while living in New York, and especially to works dating from 1913 to 1921.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice, Italy. It is one of the most visited attractions in Venice. The collection is housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an 18th-century palace, which was the home of the American heiress Peggy Guggenheim for three decades. She began displaying her private collection of modern artworks to the public seasonally in 1951. After her death in 1979, it passed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which opened the collection year-round from 1980.
Beatrice Wood was an American artist and studio potter involved in the Avant Garde movement in the United States; she founded and edited The Blind Man and Rongwrong magazines in New York City with French artist Marcel Duchamp and writer Henri-Pierre Roché in 1917. She had earlier studied art and theater in Paris, and was working in New York as an actress. She later worked at sculpture and pottery. Wood was characterized as the "Mama of Dada".
Postmodern art is a body of art movements that sought to contradict some aspects of modernism or some aspects that emerged or developed in its aftermath. In general, movements such as intermedia, installation art, conceptual art and multimedia, particularly involving video are described as postmodern.
Andres Serrano is an American photographer and artist who has become famous through his photos of corpses and his use of feces and bodily fluids in his work, notably his controversial work Piss Christ, a red-tinged photograph of a crucifix submerged in a glass container of what was purported to be the artist's own urine. He is also notable for creating the artwork for the heavy metal band Metallica's Load and Reload albums.
Immersion is a 1987 photograph by the American artist and photographer Andres Serrano. It depicts a small plastic crucifix submerged in a small glass tank of the artist's urine. The piece was a winner of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art's "Awards in the Visual Arts" competition, which was sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a United States Government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects.
A urinal is a sanitary plumbing fixture for urination only. Urinals are often provided in public toilets for male users in Western countries. They are usually used in a standing position. Urinals can be with manual flushing, automatic flushing, or without flushing, as is the case for waterless urinals. They can be arranged as single sanitary fixtures or in a trough design without privacy walls. Urinals designed for females also exist but are rare. It is possible for females to use male urinals with a female urination device.
Fountain is a readymade sculpture by Marcel Duchamp in 1917, consisting of a porcelain urinal signed "R. Mutt". In April 1917, an ordinary piece of plumbing chosen by Duchamp was submitted for an exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, the inaugural exhibition by the Society to be staged at The Grand Central Palace in New York. In Duchamp's presentation, the urinal's orientation was altered from its usual positioning. Fountain was not rejected by the committee, since Society rules stated that all works would be accepted from artists who paid the fee, but the work was never placed in the show area. Following that removal, Fountain was photographed at Alfred Stieglitz's studio, and the photo published in The Blind Man. The original has been lost.
A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetic value. Except for "work of art", which may be used of any work regarded as art in its widest sense, including works from literature and music, these terms apply principally to tangible, physical forms of visual art:
Elsa Hildegard Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven was a German avant-garde, Dadaist artist and poet who worked for several years in Greenwich Village, New York.
Artist's Shit is a 1961 artwork by the Italian artist Piero Manzoni. The work consists of 90 tin cans, each reportedly filled with 30 grams (1.1 oz) of faeces, and measuring 4.8 by 6.5 centimetres, with a label in Italian, English, French, and German stating:
Contents 30 gr net
Produced and tinned
in May 1961
Étant donnés is Marcel Duchamp's last major artwork, which surprised the art world because it believed he had given up art for competitive chess which he had been playing for almost 25 years, following a prolific art career. He had been making work with the Surrealists when he made The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. This work is a tableau, visible only through a pair of peepholes in a wooden door, of a nude woman lying on her back with her face hidden, legs spread, holding a gas lamp in the air in one hand against a landscape backdrop.
In the visual arts, late modernism encompasses the overall production of most recent art made between the aftermath of World War II and the early years of the 21st century. The terminology often points to similarities between late modernism and post-modernism although there are differences. The predominant term for art produced since the 1950s is contemporary art. Not all art labelled as contemporary art is modernist or post-modern, and the broader term encompasses both artists who continue to work in modern and late modernist traditions, as well as artists who reject modernism for post-modernism or other reasons. Arthur Danto argues explicitly in After the End of Art that contemporaneity was the broader term, and that postmodern objects represent a subsector of the contemporary movement which replaced modernity and modernism, while other notable critics: Hilton Kramer, Robert C. Morgan, Kirk Varnedoe, Jean-François Lyotard and others have argued that postmodern objects are at best relative to modernist works.
Rick Gibson is a Canadian sculptor and artist best known for his performance works.
The Fountain Archive is a processual art project of the French conceptual artist Saâdane Afif which started in 2008/ 2009. The project includes an ongoing series of framed pages which contain one or several reproductions of the work Fountain by Marcel Duchamp. Here Afif uses the concept of the Objet trouvés and tears off the pages from different publications. For each publication and pages Afif normally makes only one piece for the Fountain Archives, which is created as a work of art.
Louise Varèse, also Louise Norton, Louise Norton-Varèse, was an American writer, editor, and translator of French literature who was involved with New York Dadaism.