The History of Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art

If you’re familiar with Native American artists like John Nieto, you’ve likely enjoyed his culturally rich and contemporary american indian art. In today’s modern age, people are quick to throw around terms like “modern” and “contemporary,” when describing works of art from Nieto and other painters. But what does “contemporary” actually mean in today’s art scene? Is it the same or different from modern art? Although the words contemporary and modern can be used interchangeably in some situations, when it comes to art, modern art and contemporary art represents to two different eras.

In the most basic sense, contemporary art refers to artwork that is being created at this moment. Society today is much more advanced, complex and diverse than it’s been in previous eras. Some of today’s artists are working to reflect the shift in societal norms. The focus has shifted from “good” and aesthetically pleasing art, to art that is “challenging” and compelling. Many contemporary artists question the idea of “good” art and challenge it with their own styles and methods.

From a historical perspective, the shift to contemporary art began around the 1970’s. It was around this time that the terms “post-modern” and “postmodernism” popped up. The modern art era preceded contemporary art and lasted from about 1880 – 1970.

One distinction between the modern art era and contemporary art is the amount of artistic movements that have gained traction. The modern art era experienced significantly more movements and trends in art than the contemporary art era. Contemporary artists seem to be more focused on expressing individual freedom, making it difficult to find “trends” that can be classified as a movement.  Contemporary artists are also more socially driven than any previous era.

Contemporary Native American Art

Today, you’ll find many works of art globalization, feminism, multiculturalism, AIDS awareness and more. If you are interested in purchasing contemporary giclee prints of contemporary wildlife art, Native American art or more, visit John Nieto’s online gallery for information.

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