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What is contemporary art?

What is contemporary art? Contemporary art begins in 1945 and continues to this day.
A worthy successor to modern art, contemporary art marks a stylistic revival. It breaks with the functionality representative of classical art. It is a form of expression that reflects the crises in society and the reality perceived by the artist. Contemporary art encompasses many works: sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings, editions, etc.
What is the definition of contemporary art? How to choose a contemporary artwork ? Here is an explanation of the concept of contemporary art.


  1.  Contemporary art breaking with modern art
  2. Contemporary art encompasses many artistic movements
  3. Contemporary art uses many techniques
  4. A representation of society and its crises
  5. The reflective approach of contemporary art
  6. The difficulty of defining a work critically
  7. Quirky and "easy" art
  8. Where to see contemporary art?


Contemporary art breaking with modern art

Contemporary art marks a desire of artists to break with the codes of modern figurative art.
Contemporary art no longer represents an idealized reality.
Contemporary artists question, criticize and reveal reality with its contradictions.
Contemporary art brings together new art forms such as conceptual art, pop art or street art.
There are two definitions of the concept of modern art.

The definition of contemporary art according to the period

Museums, auction houses, art galleries and collectors generally define contemporary art as the collection of artistic works produced from 1945 to the present day.
Contemporary art thus encompasses all works created during this period, regardless of the style, the medium used or the artistic movement to which they belong.
Contemporary art succeeds the modern art initiated by the Impressionists which refers to the artistic period from 1850 to 1945.

The definition of contemporary art according to the artist's approach

Another definition of contemporary art far removed from the chronological element is that which considers that this art brings together all artistic works that break with classical art.
In other words, avant-garde art that transcends the boundaries of art as conceived of modern and classical art.
The qualifier "contemporary" is however confusing, because some contemporary artists use old aesthetic practices.

Contemporary art encompasses many artistic movements

From the 1950s, many artistic movements developed in several countries.
This diversity is complex to analyze.
Some of the main artistic movements that have marked the contemporary era include abstract expressionism, minimalism, new realism, pop art, hyperrealism, postmodern art and neo-expressionism.

l'art contemporain et les mouvements artistiques
the many techniques of contemporary art

Contemporary art is not just about paintings and painting.

This art is characterized by works created through multiple techniques:
painting, photography, sculpture, video art, digital art, music, events, performances and installations.
Contemporary art also encompasses experimental forms such as stage performance.
Modern technique offers an inexhaustible source of inspiration to contemporary artists.
Thanks to it, they can give free rein to their creativity.


A representation of society and its crises

Contemporary artists express their emotions through painting, sculpture or photography.
In constant search for novelty, contemporary artists experiment to propose new artistic works.

The reflective approach of contemporary art

The contemporary artistic work is born from a true reflection of the artist on his environment.
In a constantly renewed creative drive, contemporary artists play with existing codes to open up new artistic perspectives to art collectors.
Contemporary art invites further reflection.
It is therefore up to the art lover to appropriate the artistic work and to continue questioning.

The difficulty of defining a work critically

Contemporary art is also characterized by the absence of objective criteria to assess the quality of artistic works.
Some works that do not seem to please the public, however, are sold at exorbitant prices in auctions.

Quirky and "easy" art

Contemporary art can sometimes seem quirky or "easy". He is not judged by the ease of the technique or by the artist's message.
Contemporary art seeks to intrigue the viewer. He asks to push the reflection further beyond the aesthetic aspect of the work.
Contemporary art is there to make people react. The example of abstract art perfectly illustrates this element.
It is necessary to see beyond the primary appearance of the work in order to decipher its visual language.
Unlike realism or hyperrealism, contemporary art does not mimic reality.

Where to see contemporary art?

Contemporary art museums are numerous in France and around the world.
Art centers or private foundations also host exhibitions of contemporary artists.
Auction houses have specialized in contemporary art, and the realized sale price contributes to an artist's rating.
Art galleries are another welcoming place for contemporary artists.
Some of them have their own workshops which allow them to meet collectors.


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