What’s the Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Art? 

Modern, contemporary. Contemporary, modern. These terms are often used interchangeably. So is there actually any difference between them? And if so, why?

One answer is simple: time. Modern art came before contemporary art. Most art historians and critics put the beginning of modern art in the West at around the 1860s, continuing up to the 1960s. Whereas, contemporary art means art made in the present day. But it can be hard to define what the ‘present day’ really means. Is that art made by living artists? Art made in our lifetimes? Or is it artists making work that references or engages with the culture of the present day? Perhaps even artwork made in a way that defines what the ‘present day’ is? So, the start date of contemporary art is, perhaps paradoxically, most often set back in the 1960s and 70s.

Continue reading at Google Arts and Culture.

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