Coming up with modern art terminology can be difficult for many people. While the title is simple and unambiguous, the modern interpretation is less so. Fortunately, once one traces the concept’s history and analyses its underlying concepts, it is entirely possible to comprehend what makes “contemporary.”
Contemporary art, in its most basic sense, refers to art created nowadays, such as painting, installation, sculpture, photography, performance, and video art. Despite its apparent simplicity, the nuances around this word are frequently hazy, as different people’s conceptions of “today” can vary greatly and radically. As a result, the exact beginning of the genre is still a topic of contention; nonetheless, many art historians believe the late 1960s or early 1970s to be a reasonable approximation.
Contemporary art is said to have started after Pop Art, as a reaction to previous modern art styles. Pop Art was pioneered by contemporary international artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in postwar Britain and America. It is characterised by a desire to depict popular culture and reimagine commercial objects as accessible art. While the style lasted roughly from the 1950s to the early 1970s, owing to artists like Jeff Koons, it was resurrected as Neo-Pop Art in the 1980s.
Photorealism, a parallel trend, intended to make hyperrealistic drawings and paintings, similar to how contemporary international artists working in the Pop Art style sought to aesthetically replicate items. Photographs were frequently used by photorealists, allowing them to faithfully reproduce portraits, landscapes, and other symbols. This is a style that was popularised by Chuck Close and Gerhard Richter.
Pop Art, in turn, influenced Conceptualism, which opposed the notion of art as a commodity. The idea underlying a work of art takes primacy in conceptual art. Damien Hirst, Ai Wei Wei, and Jenny Holzer are among the most well-known conceptual artists. Though it has its roots in early twentieth-century art, this experimental movement became a formal movement in the 1960s and is still an important contemporary art trend today.
Minimalism, like Conceptualism, emerged in the 1960s and is still popular today. Both movements, according to the Tate, “challenged traditional frameworks for making, disseminating, and perceiving art.” Minimalism, on the other hand, is distinguished by its simple, abstract aesthetic, which encourages viewers to respond to what they see rather than what they believe a work of art represents. Minimalist painters include Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, and Dan Flavin.
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