For those who exist outside the margins of the contemporary art world, when they think of famous modern artists and famous contemporary artists, they would likely be perplexed for a couple of different reasons. For one, it seems that the only famous artists that most people have heard of are dead and gone. Among these are, of course, the most famous artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, Michaelangelo, and even Andy Warhol. While the exact meaning of the term modern may confuse those who are ignorant about the world of art and its many overlapping periods and schools, they might consider Andy Warhol one of the famous modern artists, and they would be right to do so, as he was alive during most of their lifetimes. However, others would not consider Andy Warhol to be on of the famous modern artists, nor a famous contemporary artist, because his heyday occurred back in the late sixties and the early seventies, during the post beat generation. For whatever reason, most Americans are not well educated in the areas of visual arts or the history of modern visual arts. They may not even be able to identify an abstract artist from any period of history, probably do not know the difference between modern art and contemporary art, and certainly would not be able to name any famous comtemporary artists.
The reason that Americans are ignorant when it comes to famous modern artists and contemporary artists, is that in the United States, art is considered by many to be unimportant. Americans have always been known to be a practical bunch, and a large portion of them have little interest or time to waste learning about such a fluffy, irrelevant topic as art. Ironically, however, many Americans do like that they have traditions and will argue that traditions are necessary for any culture; but, at the same time, they display little interest in the very platform that is necessary for culture and tradition. The truth is, without art, any culture would be drab, bland, and just plain boring Famous modern artists pushed the envelope and helped to bring about changes in culture that influence the lifestyles of every citizen. The influence of famous modern artists can be identified rather easily in fashion, animation, film, music, books, architecture, and all of those so called irrelevant things that everyone enjoys.