It can be difficult to find the right terms to define contemporary art because certain words can be misleading. For example, saying that it is an art that has been created in the modern era can be confusing since there is also an era of modernism in art. Similarly, saying that contemporary art is created “today” can also be confusing because contemporary art includes anything created as far back as the late 1960s. Additionally, several different types of art fall under the category of contemporary art.

Pop Art
Although pop art is known to have preceded contemporary art, it still exists and is considered to be an aspect of contemporary art. Some common names in British and American pop art include Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Pop art essentially focuses on icons of pop culture and commercial products as inspiration for paintings, sculptures, and digital media. This form of contemporary art reached its height in popularity in the decades between 1950 and 1970, but it experienced a resurgence in the 1980s. Today, it is more widely known as neo-pop art.

If you have ever seen a painting that could easily be mistaken for a photograph, you have viewed photorealist art. Artists, such as Gerhard Richter and Chuck Close, use photographs as guides for their paintings or drawings. A photorealist painter recreates popular landscapes, portraits, and other iconic images in a realistic manner.

Performance Art
While this type of art is performed by live subjects, it’s not necessarily intended to be entertainment. Instead, artists like Yoko Ono prefer that their art shares a concept, idea, or belief. It can involve sitting in a specific position, or it can be a more animated dramatic display. Typically, the artist does not acknowledge or speak to the audience or spectator. Performance art was more popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but it’s still done today.

Contemporary art will continue to evolve well into the future as new and talented artists take the scene. Some will put a new spin on classic art, while other contemporary artists will give us entirely new types of art. As we look at painting, sculpting, performance art, and even musical creation, it’s difficult to say where future trends will take these new artists.