Modernism , the idealistic search for truth, gave way in the latter half of the 20th century to a realization of its unattainability. Theodor W. Adorno said in 1970, "It is now taken for granted that nothing which concerns art can be taken for granted any more: neither art itself, nor art in relationship to the whole, nor even the right of art to exist."  Relativism was accepted as an unavoidable truth, which led to the period of contemporary art and postmodern criticism , where cultures of the world and of history are seen as changing forms, which can be appreciated and drawn from only with skepticism and irony. Furthermore, the separation of cultures is increasingly blurred and some argue it is now more appropriate to think in terms of a global culture, rather than of regional ones.
Postmodernism reflects a widespread disillusionment with life, as well as the power of existing value-systems and/or technology to effect beneficial change. As a result, authority, expertise, knowledge and eminence of achievement has become discredited. Artists are now far more wary about "big ideas" (. all 'progress' is good). Most important, "Modernist art" was seen not only as elitist but also as white, male-dominated and uninterested in minorities. Which is why postmodernism champions art by Third World, Feminist and Minority artists. However, critics say that - despite its supposed "rejection" of big ideas - the postmodern movement seems to have lots of big ideas of its own. Examples include: "all types of art are equally valid"; "art can be made out of anything"; "the democratization of art is a good thing" (how about the democratization of brain surgery?).