The term ‘contemporary art’ denotes art that are current or produced in recent times. Art from the post World War II is often considered contemporary art. However, as an artwork stands through the test of time, it does not remain contemporary any more. It is then known as historical art. Generally, works of art are considered contemporary if they are produced from 20th Century onwards. However, it should not ideally always be the case. How would piece of art, which was produced well after the 20th Century, be considered an instance of contemporary art if it has an ancient theme and originated via orthodox methods? Well, it would be hardly considered a piece of contemporary art.
In order to consider an art as contemporary, a few factors have to be kept in mind. The first one of them is of course the idea or theme of the art. The idea of art needs to be contemporary in order to get it recognized as contemporary. A study of the evolution and history of art would reveal much about how the idea of contemporary art came about. The technology, techniques, concepts and media adopted for producing art largely defines if an art is contemporary or not.
Contemporary techniques like single brush strokes, that is, producing a form of art with the help of a single brush stroke, help to complete the artwork in a much lesser time. Speed is the prime factor that helped this contemporary artwork technique to become popular. Newer technologies are often used to create 2D and 3D models which are more defined than the traditional ones. Acrylic paints, which are water-based, non-toxic and fast drying, are the contemporary choice of paint medium for many artists in the present times.
All these examples prove only one thing. The three main factors that contribute towards coining art as contemporary are simplicity, speed and convenience. However, when it comes to concepts, the contemporary sense becomes a little confusing. “Contemporary concepts” is a relative term. What seems to be contemporary to some might not be the same for others. In order to remove this confusion, the date and age of the artwork are taken into consideration. This provides the line that distinguishes contemporary artworks from the traditional.
So we can see, it’s not only the timeline that is considered while coining a work of art as contemporary, rather contemporary art is a combination of modern techniques, choice of medium, simplicity, speed and convenience.