From Flamethrowers to Acid Attacks, 8 Ways Artists Have Waged War on Canvas

Since the dawn of the avant-garde, artists have striven to challenge the boundaries set by conventional painting—the traditional use of oil, acrylic, tempura, and other mediums designated by the Academy as appropriate for dignified employment on canvas. Modern art, especially, unleashed an onslaught of new and unusual art processes, beginning with the Cubists’ magpie use of collage and texture-rich materials like sand and sawdust. This restless sense of innovation and nonconformity has continued apace since, leading artists to concoct increasingly unusual—and sometimes violent—ways of engaging with their canvases.

Yves Klein, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Lucio Fontana, and more.


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