New York Times Archive Reveals Art Trends

by Mostafa Heddaya on July 25, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.26.45 PM

The usage fashion between “contemporary” and “modern” crossed over somewhere in the mid-aughts, though the shifting meaning of “modern” makes a precise diagnosis difficult. (all screenshots via

A new web app created by the research and development wing of the New York Times allows users to create graphs tracing the appearance of individual terms or phrases in the paper over the course of its century-and-a-half history. The graphing tool, called Chronicle, is similar to the Ngram Viewer Google has offered for some time.

Here are some example graphs:

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.29.55 PM

As expected, Picasso dominates, though Warhol appears to be closing the gap. Koons and Basquiat are neck and neck through the mid-aughts, with Koons appearing to peel away.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.34.44 PM

Compared with the above graph of male artists, the y-axis here shows the relative paucity of mentions enjoyed by these prominent female artists, and a clear hierarchy among them is difficult to establish, though O’Keeffe maintains a strong presence through the present day.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.45.58 PM

Cubism: still happening! But a lot less so, of late.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.45.13 PM

Painting and sculpture: still happening! But a lot less so, of late.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.47.52 PM

The very close correlation between these two terms is interesting, with a remarkable divergence during the interwar period.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.46.44 PM

The crisis of criticism. (Or something.)

  • Get Hyperallergic in your Inbox!

    Subscribe to our email newsletter. (Daily or Weekly)

Hyperallergic welcomes comments and a lively discussion, but comments are moderated after being posted. For more details please read our comment policy.

Previous post:

Next post: