What is Contemporary Art and How Can We Define it Today?

Contemporary Art

Art is the best way to capture the pulse of the society in which they are produced. It will successfully portray the beliefs systems, culture, traditions, and changes happening at that particular moment. Contemporary art is also doing the same. Contemporary artists will be producing art in response to a society that is diverse, multifaceted, and constantly changing.

To put it simply, contemporary art is the art that is produced by modern artists; that is the art that is made after the second half of the twentieth century. Like the art of the previous generation, contemporary art will be reflecting and comment on modern society. Starting from politics to culture and technological advancement, contemporary art will be portraying the rhythm of a  particular moment in time and period.

modern artists

While engaging with contemporary art, the audience needs to leave behind their preoccupied notion of art about its structure and aesthetic appearance. The questions like ‘Is this a good artwork?’ or ‘whether it is appealing?’ does not have any place in contemporary art. Instead, the audience may feel challenges while witnessing them. Viewers should look into what it is trying to convey or see whether it is interesting.

Much of contemporary art challenges how art is defined. They are challenging the notion of good artwork and question the rigid ways in which they are defined. This art, at times, are fighting against the formal artistic styles and movement that came before it. To understand contemporary art, we can look into some of its features.

Characteristics of Contemporary Art

Although contemporary art is an abstract idea and one cannot define it correctly, all contemporary arts share some common characteristics. They are:

Artistic innovation

Contemporary artists do not believe in aesthetic features nor do they believe in sticking to certain forms. They are very experimental and innovative. They use diverse mediums and make new art forms.

The contemporary artist has embraced artistic pluralism and hence use a variety of style and forms. They take inspiration from various styles and materials to produce art.

Contemporary Art

A meaningful concept

All contemporary art will have a motif or a concept behind them. It is not just an object to give you aesthetic pleasure, but it is communicating something to its viewers.

Various formats

In contemporary art, anything can be used to create art that was unthinkable a few decades ago. Artists may use newspaper strips to make art installations or use waste materials to convey a message.

Artists are products of their time and the culture into which they were born. Contemporary artists are also a product of the relative culture and time and their art is a response to the global environment and its changes at a particular moment in time.

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