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Contemporary Art
Photo by Stedelijk
Museum Amsterdam, Biennale diVenezia 2015, Centre
Pompidou Paris.


Contemporary art is, in most cases, defined as art that has been and continues
to be created during our lifetime. Sounds
pretty simple, right? Well, if this was the
case, how can we explain that no other artistic definition, no other artistic category
of -isms is as confusing, and at the same
time straightforward as Contemporary
Art? The term demands respect from the
beginning and its first word, contemporary, it almost seems to suggest that you
must know what it is without having to

Here at Art
History, 1970 is the cutoff point for two reasons. First, because it
was around 1970 that the
terms “Postmodern” and
“Postmodernism” popped
up -- meaning, we must
assume, that the art world
had had its fill of Modern
Art starting right then.
Secondly, 1970 seems to be
the last bastion of easily
classified artistic movements. If you look at the
outline of Modern Art,
and compare it to the outline of Contemporary Art,
you’ll quickly notice that
there are far more entries
on the former page. This,
in spite of the fact that
Contemporary Art enjoys
far more working artists
making far more art. (It
may be that Contemporary
artists are mostly working in “movements” that
cannot be classified, due
to there being around ten
artists in any given “movement”, none of which have
shot off an email saying
that there’s a new “movement” and “could you
please tell others?”)
On a more serious note,
while it may be hard to
classify emergent movements, Contemporary art
-- collectively -- is much
more socially conscious

than any previous era has been. A whole lot
of art from the last 30 years has been connected with one issue or another: feminism,
multiculturalism, globalization, bio-engineering and AIDS awareness all come readily to
mind as subject matter.
So, there you have it. Contemporary art runs
from (roughly) 1970 until now. We won’t have
to worry about shifting an arbitrary point on
the art timeline for another decade, at least.
For many, the cut-off period, or the end of
Modern Art is marked in the year of 1970’s
and with the birth of the term Postmodern.
Towards the end of the 20th century, with the
development of technology, we see the rise of
the Video and Performance Art, alongside the

alongside the experimentation and appropriation from multiple disciplines and sources.
Long gone is the idea that the Artist is the
sole author of the work. With the development of Contemporary Art, the audience
became an integral piece in the creation of the
meaning and reflections of the created works. The process becomes important and the
variety of different approaches helps create
different categories within a category. This
escape away from the dominant definition only
strengthens the postmodern spirit.
Topics of such works,more often than not
reflect the heated issues of the contemporary
society with the aim to re-define the world
and accepted values.

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