Get Familiar With Contemporary Art - The Art of 21st Century

“The function of the contemporary artist is to crystallize the popular mythology of the times in which he lives”.

The above quote by a noted Canadian contemporary artist, Ran Andrews speaks volume of how the contemporary art is all about mirroring the present-day culture. It is the work of the artists of the 21st century and a successor of the postmodern art. One can find the glimpse of the rapidly changing landscape of cultural values, beliefs and identities in the art of contemporary artists. It does not have a uniform ideology and is a dynamic amalgamation of concepts and subjects successfully challenging the traditional age-old boundaries to create something dynamic. Its five elements are Appropriation, Time, Space, Performance and Hybridity. However, in contemporary art, expression is paramount and diversity is not only recognized but also appreciated and desired.


History of Contemporary Art

Towards the end of the 20th century, there was a remarkable shift in the way artists used to work. Even the centre of art got shifted from Paris to New York and this was a huge change in the world of art. Some artists like Dan Christensen (1942-2007), an American abstract painter and Nam June Paik (1932-2006), a South-Korean video artist, exhibit rare liberalism and debunk the traditional rules. Gradually, art became more about expression, irrespective of the material or medium used for the same.

Unlike modern art, a contemporary artist is keener on engaging his or her viewer via ideas and issues. In short, it is the most socially conscious art that the world has ever witnessed as issues like feminism, globalization, AIDS awareness, and bio-engineering have found wide expression within the same.

New Media

Contemporary artists popularize new forms of art like by fully taking advantage of the new media which includes video, computers and advanced technology. In fact, some of the great contemporary art movements are Neo-pop art, body art, projection art, computer art, etc.

Working in a wide range of mediums, contemporary art can be produced using many different working methods and processes and often integrates new technologies or unconventional materials. 

Installation by Gabriel Orozco © Gabriel Orozco

Installation by Gabriel Orozco © Gabriel Orozco

Art often blurs the boundaries between art and everyday life and purposefully blends with an environment, such as home, work, school or politics.  Or it responds to its environment  as public art, street art, environmental art.

Contemporary artists are in a position to express themselves and respond to social issues in a way that artists of the past were not able to and having and open mind goes a long way towards understanding and appreciating the art of our times.