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

1

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 About.com 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

with the development of technology, we
see the rise of the Video and Performance
Art, alongside the experimentation and appropriation from multiple disciplines and
sources. At the same time, we also see the
rise of the theory and philosophy research into the term Postmodern and the dominance of the present, where the focus is
on what we have in front of us, and that’s
what demands the knowledge into the latest trends. Long gone is the idea that the
Artist is the sole author of the work. Now,
this is the time when everything starts to
build up and form this eclectic and diverse
Contemporary art.
2


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