What is Contemporary Art
First things first, let’s establish something: although many people tend to think that, contemporary art is not the same as modern art, and the two terms are not interchangeable. Modern art is not that which is relevant and created in our times, it is art that emerged back in the 1880s and had a lot of qualities that went beyond what the time period could comprehend and thus qualified as modern. The modern art period lasted up until approximately 1960s and that’s that. What is contemporary art then, and can its creation overlap with the modern art period? Let’s explore several different ways to understand the idea of contemporary art.
Made after 1960s
Probably the easiest way of drawing a strict line between modern and contemporary art and in that way offering contemporary art a very straightforward definition is to utilize the date seen as the end of modern art period. However, that would not be entirely true; the period after 1960s is the time where numerous art forms, such as postmodernism, minimalism and even postconceptualism emerged, all of which are distinctly different and probably would not sit well under one roof. So yes, it is entirely possible to classify contemporary art as that created after 1960s, but there is a lot more to it than that.
Made by living artists
As yet another convenient approach to contemporary art, it could potentially be easy to classify everything created by living artists as contemporary, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It is impossible to claim that every living artist is actively trying to employ the concepts of contemporary art in their work, as some admire styles and art directions from back in the day, and their works resemble more of the Renaissance period than something created in the 2000s.
Questioning problems relevant to these days
We’re getting a lot closer to a more complex and more accurate definition of contemporary art, although it still leaves space for inaccuracies. Almost all contemporary art shares the quality of trying to take into question all that is relevant to these days, be it environmental issues, the decay of humans’ mental health, the inexplicable wish to achieve as much as possible when it comes to career and financial stability and so on. Modern day humans encounter issues of being offered too much of everything, including possibilities, and having this kind of choice leaves them confused and facing issues never seen before. A lot of artists that could be regarded as contemporary exhibit the wish to question, portray and analyze these phenomena.
Exhibiting a shift from aesthetics to concept
This is at the core of contemporary art, but it’s not the easiest explanation. While back in the day, modern art period included, pretty much all artists attempted to achieve the ultimate aesthetic quality, and how they did that was less important in comparison to the result that came out of it. The result also had a specific purpose and usually tried to achieve a certain goal. Contemporary art, on the other hand, shifts from putting more emphasis on the process than the end result. A lot of times that involves the audience and presents them with experiences they haven’t encountered before.