General Characteristics of Contemporary Art

Museum_of_Contemporary_ArtContemporary art is nothing more than the set of a series of different movements, avant-garde, techniques and styles, which resulted in the so famous and distinctive contemporary art we know today.

This is certainly a more significant junction of various types of art, and so we managed to find a variety of unique styles in it, as abstract works in black and white and figurative character such as the American Gothic.

It was therefore in the modern period in the early twentieth century that various vanguards were created and presented, then featuring a unique variety of styles. And this time, the paintings were produced with all types of materials and not just with oil on canvas, for example. The creations in this period began to become more radicalized, with greater emphasis on the performative character of art as well as conceptual.

Thus it is also in the midst of the period of contemporary art that the concept and the definition of art also being recognized, as well as the actions, ideas, objects and materials that could be part of this style.

Consequently, it is because of this diversity of arts produced during the twentieth century that contemporary art does not stop being a junction of them all. And among its most important features are the ability to create sculptures and paintings. So, there’s no longer a need to return the art to both religious and political institutions.

It is common to find contemporary art aimed at the spiritual and political messages; however, there was no sponsorship of such arts. A painter example who struggled for the creation of contemporary art focused on government policies was the German Otto Dix, who criticized the German government through his art. On the other hand, the Russian Wassily Kandinsky also combined abstraction of contemporary art with a different purpose: to propose a reality of spiritual character through art.

The search for something new and original in every new art was also a very striking feature of contemporary art in the twentieth century. Same was the case with Grant Wood, with the work the American Gothic is often regarded as a landmark of contemporary art.

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Another essential feature for contemporary art is the fascination with which its artists used the modern technology, as well as more mechanical methods at the time of reproduction of art, such as the printing and typesetting of photography itself, which also begins to gain more strength during this period.

It was in the early 1910 that a famous Italian artist Umberto Boccioni began to glorify both the speed of the industrial era as its accuracy in their arts, which were based on sculptures and paintings. It was also the same time that Picasso began to emerge as a major contributor to the contemporary art, as his paintings included the collage technique using character printed materials along with their paintings, as was the case of newspapers and magazines.

Inspiration also came from own spontaneous impulse that was found in the children’s art: children, when driven for artistic creation, create totally spontaneous paintings, which also started to become an inspiration for contemporary art. On the other hand, cultural traditions also inspired many artists around the world who began to notice the character of traditions and aesthetics present in various cultures. However, in this case, both industry and Western culture missed out, placing greater emphasis on the eastern, Middle East and Asian cultures, among others.

Artists Involved

In this case, we should start highlighting French artist Henri Matisse, and also Swiss-German painter Paul Klee, who were both totally influenced by the natural arts created by children. On the other hand, Pablo Picasso created his works based on minimalist observation made ​​in achieving the most distinguished African masks. Alternatively, Pollock preferred to develop a technique to throw paint on the screen and see what happens. Moreover, the era also inspired paintings done by Indians of northern America who did it using sand.


Was Contemporary Art a popular culture?

Some say that the main purpose of the creation of contemporary art style is to make a bridge between the best and the popular culture; after all, the two have many similar characteristics.

On the other hand, we must also highlight the fact that contemporary art is very complex and full of different styles, so you can fit only a stage of our culture, or rather the popular culture. Thus, in parts it can be established in the past or may also try to express future events.


The emergence of contemporary art took place only in the twentieth century especially in the period after the end of Second World War. But it was in the late nineteenth century that some of its features were already denominated in their own Impressionist art, or, in the name of impressionism movement.

Among the features that have emerged in this first art which are also totally found in contemporary art, we can highlight the excitement of this modern character of technologies, the importance of originality, especially the new, modern, commitment to the popular and the very definition of the concept of art.

Contemporary Art – Second World War

It was actually after the second war world that contemporary art finally managed space and consolidated altogether.

Contemporary art was previously with its center focused on Europe, it was after this event in human history that contemporary art also turned to the United States, with renowned artists such as Arthur Dove, John Marin, Charles Demuth and Marsden Hartley. All these artists sought elements involving both Futurism and Cubism in their works, which shows that contemporary art is really an art for everyone.

Thus, it was after this important moment in history that contemporary art was consolidated, and remain momentous to this day.



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