If you ask a layman what contemporary art is, you will definitely get a generalized understanding and definition of the art form. But if you ask artists in specific, the response is anyways going to be different and detailed. But, to keep it short, contemporary art is all about now and us. Anything that relates to our existence is contemporary, and an art form that helps us to portray our being is called contemporary art.
However, there is another important thing to consider and remember while understanding contemporary art, according to Peter Max. That’s nothing but the relativity of the art form in different ages. What is contemporary to a teenager will never be contemporary to an eighty-year-old man. It is the absolute sense of being in the present which is the real essence of contemporary art. But is contemporary art different from Modern art? Or, are they just the two opposite sides of the same coin?
Fighting the Tug of War Contemporary Art vs. Modern Art
It is not that difficult to distinguish between modern and contemporary art.
- Any art form that the Impressionists consider it’s theirs, and dates from the first decade of the 20th century till 1960s is Modern art.
- And an art form from the 1970s till the very last minute is contemporary.
There’s been a storm on many social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter regarding the relevance and overlapping time period of modern and contemporary art. However, if you notice closely, you will find that 1970s is the period which overlaps the time period for both the art forms. There is a distinguishable reason for this – since it is the 1970s when Postmodernism started to pop up, each and every creative form found a change in it.
However, artists have been very proactive about contemporary art, even though classification is difficult at times. The reason being pretty simple, contemporary art has always been much more socially conscious than any other art form that ever existed. Speak of issues such as feminism, socialism, engineering dialect, globalization, and you will never find a single topic missing.
But, modern art on the contrary is the genre where the artists only felt free to:
- Truthfully speak out their inner vision
- Give some space to the vision and express them in words
- Finally make real life images as object and do away with romanticism
- Ideate new thoughts and depict them on the canvas
Modern art, according to Peter Max, is the trend that could easily do away with the traditional forms, and bring in anything new it could be. Also, technology went to a complete new level which left its impression on modern art. Even if there are many debates on this, but it is the father-daughter relationship that modern and contemporary art shares between the both.
The more you start living in the popular culture, the better you understand contemporary art, for its all about living in the present moment.