Over the years, contemporary art has come to be defined as work created after World War II, which is a simple way to explain the term. Teachers and curators and experts would be more specific in that they would define contemporary art as cutting-edge or sometimes ‘avant-garde.’ Contemporary art can be found in the pop art genre, in ‘installation art’ as well as ‘performance art.’
After WWII, contemporary art prints has included basically anything that seemed ‘new’ or ‘original.’ There have been pieces made entirely of wrapped candies on the floor, or dead sharks preserved in formaldehyde. It’s almost as if the original concept of ‘art’ (think painting, sculptures, museum pieces) is no longer considered ‘art.’ Art has no specific meaning or definition anymore.
Contemporary art can include modernist abstract paintings and postmodernist pieces like large installations. It might include video art. It will not however, include traditional works. Traditional works normally represented something that existed in the world, like a portrait painting or a sculpture.
The question of how to appreciate contemporary art is compelling because while contemporary art may be seen as ‘avant-garde’ and hip, many people are traditionalists and don’t necessarily like, nor appreciate contemporary art. Galleries are full of lurkers who don’t quite understand the concept of contemporary displays, and the question in their mind is normally ‘How is this even considered art?’ When comparing installation art to pieces you can see at world famous museums like The Louvre, it’s very hard to make the leap into the progressive art world.
However, if one appreciates creativity and talent, one must allow their mind to be open to new expressions of creationism, new types of beauty found in contemporary art from artify, and one must be open to see the value and contribution that contemporary art has given to culture. Once we understand the beauty of creativity and the continual struggle to express life in the form of creating, we can appreciate contemporary art and look for pieces of ourselves inside.