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What is Contemporary Art

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Contemporary art is the art of today, produced in the second half of the 20th century or in the 21st century, influenced by global technologically advancing world.

Contemporary art consists on a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that continue the challenging of boundaries that was already well underway in the 20th century.


It is the art produced from the 1960s or 1970s up until this very minute"; and sometimes further, especially in museum contexts, as museums which form a permanent collection of contemporary art inevitably find this aging.

Many use the formulation "Modern and Contemporary Art", which avoids this problem.


While Impressionism looks at our perception of a moment through light and color, as opposed to the attempt to reflect stark reality in Realism, Contemporary art, on the other hand, does not have one, single objective or point of view, so it can be contradictory and open-ended.

There are nonetheless several common themes that have appeared in contemporary works, such as identity politics, the body, globalization and migration, technology, contemporary society and culture, time and memory, and institutional and political critique.

One of the biggest benefits of Contemporary Art is its aesthetic value. This means that the art possesses some capacity to elicit a sense of pleasure in the viewer. Although, what is considered pleasing to the eye may vary depending on the viewer, given the wide variety of mediums and methods for this style of art there is likely to be some form that will appeal to each person.

Given its aesthetic value, contemporary artwork can also be used to decorate many different venues. Even outdoor sculpture parks can contain art and make it easily accessible for anyone to view, while it livens up the city landscape

Corporations have also integrated themselves into the contemporary art world, exhibiting contemporary art within their premises, organizing and sponsoring contemporary art awards, and building up extensive corporate collections.[19] Corporate advertisers frequently use the prestige associated with contemporary art and cool hunting to draw the attention of consumers to luxury goods.

In Britain, in the 1990s, contemporary art became a part of popular culture, with artists becoming stars, but this did not lead to a hoped-for "cultural utopia". Some critics like Julian Spalding and Donald Kuspit have suggested that skepticism, even rejection, is a legitimate and reasonable response to much contemporary art.


One of the benefits of Contemporary Art is that it allows individuals a means of personal expression. Through painting, sculpture, and performance art, anyone can express themselves in a way that will be safely observable for others. Likewise, the perspectives that are expressed are valuable for society because it gives a unique window into the minds and thoughts of the artist.

Given the fact that Contemporary Art is both personally expressive and a commentary on culture, for most viewers, it will be thought-provoking. This is indeed the reason that many people enjoy going to museums and spending time with art. It allows people the chance to be exposed to stimuli that can provoke thoughts and even emotions. For many, it can lead to new information, education, and growth.


Last but not least, this is what Andrea Rosen has said: Some contemporary painters "have absolutely no idea of what it means to be a contemporary artist" and that they "are in it for all the wrong reasons."


I leave you to your own reflection on “Contemporary Art”.

C.HABIB 2022


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