What is Contemporary Art? 


If life is gifted with a mouth, voiced up and asked: “who is your best buddy?”

There is a high probability the answer will be art. Art is the closest companion of life that could ever be.

The start of art has coincided with life itself.

If you are thinking of the beginning of time, you are simultaneously thinking of art. So, where there is life, art is right behind as the closest companion. 

Human life and experience undergo renewal by one constant element – change. Take a look around everything your eyes can see, each of those things you are seeing has passed through the furnace of change.

Dynamism is a key feature of human existence. Each period of human life is marked by two or more distinguishing features. 

A change in human life, time, or epoch triggers an inevitable change in art. Medieval art, for example, is marked by certain features that draw a line of differences from artworks produced in other different periods. Medieval art features wall painting, metal works, and glass mosaics. It is highly conservative and based on the Byzantine work of the Eastern Mediterranean. Medieval art has its attention focused more on religious subject matter above any other thing. This religious inclination to their art makes the art lack realism. These are Medieval art features, among others. 

Just medieval art is peculiar with its features, the same thing applies to other artworks produced in different eras – Renaissance Art period, Neoclassical period, and Modern period. 

In the long list of art periods is Contemporary art.

Contemporary art denotes all artworks of artists who are alive and still in the game of artwork productions. It is mostly agreed by scholars to be artworks produced after World War II, as well as artworks produced by living artists. 

Contemporary art is wider in scope than any artwork of the past. Unlike Medieval art with a heavy inclination to the religious subject matter, Contemporary art features artworks addressing world matters of the present day. Concepts such as fashion, terrorism, poverty, corruption, government, racism, and many others are featured in contemporary art. This art form touches social issues, addresses political happenings, and gets engaged in economic matters transpiring in the world today. 

Becoming a major source of awareness on cogent issues, Contemporary art has developed over the years. Contemporary art has evolved even beyond the traditional art style of artwork production.  Graphical arts, video arts, and social media are some of the means through which contemporary art is highlighted, improved, and dignified. 

Having known what Contemporary art means, let’s check out some interesting features of it. Ready? Off we go!

Personal Expression.

Any artwork aims to express itself to the viewers. Any artwork that fails to do this is lurking in the dark. This explains why great artists spend a great deal of time creating artworks that give their deep expression about something. 

Art is the channel that allows the outward flow of artists’ creativity and thoughts.  An artist’s mind expressly displayed through his artworks plays a significant role in ensuring societal communication and unity. 

Minimal Abstract Wall Art Print

Contemporary art opens the door of endless possibilities for artists to express themselves.

This is why contemporary artworks have a strong touch of realism. One of the most prominent contemporary artworks with a powerful personal expression of the artist is Convergence by Jackson Pollock.

Painted in the era of the Cold war, the artwork boldly solicits freedom of expression, which was quite rare then.

Convergence is regarded widely by scholars as one of the greatest contemporary artworks instilled with courage and realistic expression. 

Aesthetic value.

Contemporary art is exceptional when it comes to matters of aestheticism. Unarguably, every artwork is naturally expected to be glimmering in beauty and grandeur. But here is the question, who ascribes beauty to an artwork? Is the artwork inherently beautiful by itself with little or no regard for the viewers’ opinion? Is the aesthetic value of an artwork subjective or objective?

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. A piece of art can be breathtaking, but its beauty is determined by the viewers. Hence, the aesthetic value of an artwork is subjective and largely based on the viewers’ discretion. 

Contemporary art has successfully been able to have a hold on viewers’ minds. Evoking the admiration of the audience is the endgame of artworks (at least the majority of artworks). Stamped with strong elements of expressionism and realism, Contemporary artworks have been able to penetrate the mind of their audience. 

People can relate to contemporary art because it is appealing, realistic, and expressive. It represents the daily experience of people, world matters, and issues through paintings and other means of displaying artworks. This is what makes the aesthetic value of contemporary art more pronounced. 

Pleasure and inspiration.

Neutral Imprint Of Nature

Every normal human being has an inherent comprehension of the philosophy of pain and pleasure. A naive child with little or no experience of pain before will get to know that as the child grows. You need not tell a teenager that fire can hurt. He knows. It is the same with pleasure. No one needs to announce to children ice cream is sweet!

Naturally, we are embracers of pleasure, avoiding pain or anything capable of giving us discomfort. Contemporary art evokes pleasurable feelings. It allows the creation of an easeful atmosphere comforting and relaxing to the mind. 

Our minds can be flooded with negativity sometimes. It is perfectly normal. It is one of the things that makes us humans. Moreover, art can be therapeutic in clearing off these negativities pervading our minds. Therefore, art as a therapy is the procurement of healing to the impairment of the human mind. 

Contemporary art helps in solacing the mind with hope and inspiration for a better future. Art is very potent in awakening people’s reflection. For instance, a depressed person can be happy hours after exposure to artworks. Reflection is what makes this possible. The admiration of art experienced by people is stored and later brought out of storage through reflection. 

Pleasurable and inspirational, Contemporary art gives a positive perception of the world in the viewers’ minds. For this reason, it is a formidable weapon capable of transforming people in good ways favorable to society. 


Undisputedly, Contemporary art has proven to be an innovative art with different surprises every day. Its technicalities and pattern of operation keep developing. With the tremendous influence, it has affected the modern world and modern art, contemporary art has become part of our existence, addressing salient issues of the world and positively influencing our perception of the world. 

Having proven itself to be immensely important,  we can only be certain of Contemporary art’s capability in transforming our world into a better place. 

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