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Contemporary
Contemporary

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The term contemporary art generally refers to today's art. The use of the literal adjective "contemporary" to define this period in art history is partly due to the lack of any distinct or dominant school of art as recognized by artists, art historians and critics. It tends to include art made from the late 1960s to the present, or after the supposed or putative end of modern art or the Modernist period (however, artists are making "modern art" today, just as they are making art in practically all past styles or modes). Art made or performed since Modernism is also sometimes called postmodern art, but as postmodernism can refer to both a historical timeframe and an aesthetic approach, and many contemporary artists' work does not exhibit some of the key elements of the postmodern aesthetic, "contemporary" may be preferred as a more inclusive adjective.

Perhaps the most defining aspect of contemporary art is its indefinability. Prior to the late 1960s, most artwork could be categorized fairly easily into one particular medium or a specific school. Even through the 1970s and 80s, one can see certain trends such as Minimal art, Lyrical Abstraction, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Pop Art, Graffiti Art. Art after the Modern Era has transformed along with the large-scale economic, global, political, and socio-cultural change. The growing speed of the transference of ideas, money, information and culture around the globe seems to be happening within art worlds as well. Many of the boundaries and distinctions within Art have loosened.

Contemporary art should not be confused with the workings of modern art, although the trends and movements in contemporary practice may directly refer to modernism. Much of the direction of modern art involved exploring the very basis of painting, for instance, color, brush stroke, and canvas. Philosopher and art critic Arthur Danto has asserted that modernism (as well as "art history" itself) came to its end with the making of Andy Warhol's Brillo Boxes, which functioned as art yet were largely indistinguishable from their real life counterparts. These sculptures therefore marked the end of any pretense that art had some essential and objectively discernible trait that separated it from non-art objects.



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