What Makes Modern Art So Modern? Take a Trip to The Art Gallery and Find Out

What Makes Modern Art So Modern? Take a Trip to The Art Gallery and Find Out

November 15, 2022 0 By Scarlett Watson

Modern art and contemporary art are often confused when you begin to study about art trends and styles. When describing anything current or on-trend, the terms “contemporary” and “modern” are often used interchangeably. Since the term “modern” is often used to refer to the current or recent past rather than the distant past, it is reasonable to assume that contemporary art was produced lately. That’s not really the case. Modern art is defined as artwork created in the recent past, yet many well-known works of modern art are close to 200 years old.

‘Contemporary’ is the right phrase to define art that is of the current times, often made by live active artists, and when we speak about art that is of the moment, we are talking about contemporary art. The main stylistic and thematic distinctions between modern and contemporary art will be discussed in this article, along with how to spot them.

What Sets Modern Art Apart from Contemporary Art?

Contemporary and modern art come from two separate eras. Modern art is defined as works produced between the 1880s and the 1970s. Modern art is not at all contemporary, despite being more recent than the Renaissance or classical art eras.

Current works of art are referred to as contemporary art. Typically, individuals who are still alive and producing art or those who have just passed away or retired. Drawing and painting are the main forms of modern art. But since the conclusion of the modernist era, the quick advancement of technology has dramatically extended the media accessible to contemporary artists.

Contemporary artists now use their materials more experimentally. Modern art may be created using practically any media you can imagine, including video art, graphic arts, product design, and tech-enhanced artworks.

Contemporary art against modern art

It might be difficult to comprehend, categorize, and interpret contemporary art. Contemporary art, unlike the eras of art that came before it, is not unified by a style and cannot be simply divided into separate movements like modern art. Modern art is more concerned with bringing attention to the challenges of the day than it is with being aesthetically pleasing. This trend away from aesthetic attractiveness began in the modern age, but contemporary art has advanced it by placing the spotlight on the underlying idea of the piece.

Contemporary art often represents a wider spectrum of social, economic, and political topics and tries to provoke discussion. Contemporary artists often address issues including racism, globalization, terrorism, oppression, poverty, and feminism. Contemporary art often resembles a conversation—one between the artist and the viewer. The method by which the artist got at the final product is often more significant than the ultimate result itself, and sometimes you, the audience, are encouraged to participate in that process.

A period of “Modernism” is shown in modern art. Between the 1880s and the 1970s, both the globe and art styles saw enormous transformation. During the modernist period, completely original art forms and ideas were developed, such as photography and the notion of abstraction.

Modern vs contemporary art

Dreams, symbolism, abstraction, and individualized iconography have all been explored by modern painters. Other contemporary artists, such as Angelo Accardi and David Kracov, began experimenting with unconventional materials and popularized screen printing, photography, collage, and modern sculpture.

The word “ism” was often used to designate the art trends of the period. Fauvism, Impressionism, Surrealism, Post-Impressionism, Dadaism, Cubism, and Expressionism were prominent contemporary art movements.

Pop Art, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, De Stijl, Die Brucke, and a number of other art movements are examples of contemporary art forms that don’t employ the word “ism.” Numerous well-known figures from the world of pop culture are considered to be famous modern painters, including Pablo Piccaso, Salvador Dali, Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent Van Goh, Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Henri Mattise, Edvard Munch, and Piet Mondrian. Gwen O’Keeffe.

Deep diving to explore examples

Contemporary art is not unified by certain aesthetic movements or characteristics. Nevertheless, it may still be distinguished by technologically sophisticated media or methods, political or social themes, and other contemporary topics.

One notable work of contemporary art is Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Room,” which is unmistakably modern in its use of technology. The “Infinity Room” uses lights, mirrors, and music to create a multi-sensory experience. In the modernist period, there was hardly any discussion of the “experiential art” movement that is now gaining popularity.

Even while modern artists are free to work in any medium, including painting, it is usual to see them combining many types of media. For instance, Banksy has combined installation and performance with graffiti art. Many modern painters, such Alec Monopoly, use mixed media or portray satirical scenarios in their works.

What Distinguishes Postmodern Art from Contemporary Art?

Although contemporary art may be categorized as “Postmodern,” not all contemporary art fits this description. Modern art encompasses everything created now. This comprises artwork created with dated aesthetics or with conventional forms and themes.

Postmodern art, on the other hand, often seeks to reject features of modernism and is characterized by comparable aspirations and aesthetic components. Postmodern artists often make an effort to thoroughly engage with contemporary societal concerns. Modern art, in contrast, often displayed an emotional disconnection from society. Contemporary and postmodern artists have made efforts to communicate social and political issues starting in the 1960s and continuing now.

Postmodernism is a phrase used to characterize a variety of art trends, including multimedia, installation art, conceptual art, and intermedia.

Final words

Different art eras may be difficult to understand and classify, particularly when there are no set dates that indicate when one period finishes and the next starts. But when attempting to classify art, boundaries may sometimes become hazy. Modern in appearance but not necessarily modern art may be produced by contemporary artists. Contemporary artists are not all postmodern, but postmodern artists may also be contemporary.

You will learn more about various styles, periods, and classifications as you go on your quest to discover and comprehend various art forms. This may be helped by visiting a range of fine art galleries. A richer and more thought-provoking experience of the artwork is eventually brought on by better comprehension, which adds additional context.