What is Contemporary Art?
A reference to Contemporary Art meaning “the art of today,” more broadly includes artwork produced during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It generally defines art produced after the Modern Art movement to the present day. However, modern artwork is not just art produced during a specific time frame. This genre of art does have its own approach or style that distinguishes it from others.
Yet, this style of art is difficult to define because it includes such variety. Some argue that the basic approach and goal of Modern Art is to challenge the nature of the artwork itself. It can also make the viewer question what it is that defines art. Therefore, this style of art is not particularly uniform, and it may be more challenging to precisely describe than any other genre of art. Additionally, there are several major reasons why contemporary art is important to society, for instance, it is a means to express oneself as it is a way to provide social and cultural commentary.
What is the style of Contemporary Art?
When considering Contemporary Art, it can be difficult to define or describe any one common style. Artists approach their work in a multitude of ways. A wide array of media and materials may be used to convey a wide array of concepts, themes, and subject matter.
While artists of the past were often influenced by religion, mythology, and the demands of their paying patrons; today’s artists can be inspired by much more and the work often grows out of their own interests or expressions of self. Often the work may reflect their own culture, including current political climates and popular trends. However, with the ability to travel broadly and integrate much more than what is seen in their immediate world, art is increasingly global and diverse in its themes.
Unlike other schools of art, this school of art has no single point of view or objective. Instead, it is multi-faceted. The pieces are often reflective of the artist and so reflect a great diversity of perspectives. This makes Contemporary Art a complex examination of present-day life. Common themes that might be examined include identity, the body, technology, globalization, migration, society, culture, memory, the passage of time, and artistic critique of sociopolitical institutions.
What is the history of Contemporary Art?
Contemporary Art initially grew along with Modernism; however, it is now viewed as divergent from that school. In 1910, Roger Fry and his colleagues founded the Contemporary Art Society. At the time, this was simply a private society where artwork could be purchased for public museums. Through the 1930’s more institutions were founded with the same terminology. Scholars in the field distinguished Modern Art as a specific style that did align with a specific time period. In contrast, the contemporary style continues to progress over time, which adds to the wide variety of approaches and outcomes.
What is a Contemporary Artist?
Today, artists are as diverse as their products. In fact, the great diversity among the artists making this style of art allows for many perspectives and styles that become infused into their products. Artists can work as individuals. Many studies the arts at university or at an art institute. In doing so, they can expand their perspectives and hone their craft.
In fact, today, some art scholars and art critics argue that artists need to have been formally educated and should be working within the trained area of modern art. This allows these artists to match the general field’s historical context, no matter how diverse it may already be. Artists may then have their artwork exhibited at art galleries or museums. This art like other styles is also bought and sold through private collectors and art auctions.
There is some debate about whether self-taught artists working in the present day could be considered modern artists and whether their work might be considered Contemporary Art. The general view is that, because these artists are self-taught and may be working outside the scope of trained artists, their products should not be designated as art. Instead, some have taken to calling such art Outsider Art to denote that it was made by that outside of the field of art.
The reality is that art does occur within a historical context, one that is influenced by the field itself and many forces outside of the field. It may be possible for a self-taught artist to produce compelling art that stimulates the senses and provokes deep thinking. However, those who are interested in becoming more renowned artists are best served by obtaining an art education through a university or an art institute where they can really immerse themselves in the field.
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