Modern Art

History of the term

Rosalind Krauss (probably the most influential living contemporary art analyst and student of Clement Greenberg) first used the word contemporary in relation to art in her dissertation on the work of David Smith, thus challenging several of the premises of art history. In the lecture “What is contemporary art?” University of Southern California professor Richard Meyers notes that the term “contemporary art” was applied to the art of David Smith, which had more to do with auction label records than with the time of its creation.

A Brief History of Modern Art

Contemporary art in its present form was formed at the turn of the 1960s and 70s. The artistic searches of that time can be characterized as a search for alternatives to modernism (often this resulted in denial through the introduction of principles directly opposite to modernism). This was expressed in the search for new images, new means and materials of expression, up to the dematerialization of the object (performances and happenings). Many artists followed the French philosophers who coined the term “postmodernism”. We can say that there has been a shift from the object to the process.

The most noticeable phenomena of the turn of the 60s and 70s can be called the development of conceptual art and minimalism. In the 70s, the social orientation of the art process noticeably increased both in terms of content (themes raised in the work of artists) and composition: the most noticeable phenomenon in the mid-70s was feminism in art, as well as an increase in the activity of ethnic minorities (1980- e) and social groups.

The late 70s and 80s were characterized by “fatigue” from conceptual art and minimalism and a return of interest in figurativeness, color and figurativeness (the flourishing of movements such as the New Wilds). In the mid-80s, there was a time for the rise of movements that actively use images of mass culture – campism, East Village art, neo-pop is gaining strength. The flowering of photography in art dates back to the same time – more and more artists begin to turn to it as a means of artistic expression.

The art process was greatly influenced by the development of technology: in the 60s – video and audio, then – computers, and in the 90s – the Internet.

The beginning of the 2000s was marked by disappointment in the possibilities of technical means for artistic practices. At the same time, constructive philosophical justifications for contemporary art of the 21st century have not yet appeared. Some artists of the 2000s believe that “contemporary art” is becoming a tool of power in a “post-democratic (English)” society. This process causes enthusiasm among representatives of the art system, and pessimism among artists.

A number of artists of the 2000s return to the commodity object by abandoning the process and offering a commercially viable attempt at 21st century modernism.

Actual art

In Russia in the 1990s, the term “contemporary art” was also used, which is in many respects similar, but not identical in meaning, to the term “contemporary art”. By contemporary art, participants in the artistic process in Russia meant innovative contemporary art (in terms of ideas and/or technical means). Actual art quickly became outdated, and the question of its entry into the history of modern art of the 20th or 21st century is open. Participants in the artistic process in Russia endowed the definition of “actual art” with the meaning that was once attributed to avant-garde (innovation, radicalism, the use of new techniques and techniques).

Contemporary Art Institutions

Spectators at the Museum of Modern Art in Denver.
Contemporary art is exhibited by contemporary art galleries, private collectors, commercial corporations, state art organizations, contemporary art museums, art studios or by the artists themselves in the artist-run space. Contemporary artists receive financial support through grants, awards and prizes, and also receive funds from the sale of their work. Russian practice is somewhat different in this respect from Western practice.

There is a close relationship between government institutions dealing with contemporary arts and the commercial sector. For example, in the UK, most of the works of key contemporary artists exhibited in public museums are purchased from a few influential art dealers.

Museums, Biennials, festivals and fairs of contemporary art are gradually becoming tools for attracting capital, investment in the tourism business or part of government policy.

Private collectors have a great influence on the entire system of contemporary art. For example, the UK contemporary art market has been dominated since the 1980s by Charles Saatchi, who is sometimes associated with a decade in British contemporary art.

Attempts to directly integrate into the system of contemporary art are being made by commercial corporations: