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How to Understand Contemporary Art

Tulika Nair
More often than not, understanding the art that hangs in a museum, can be quite the task. Understanding contemporary art may make your experience at an art museum more pleasurable.
How do you define contemporary art? Well, in the simplest of terms, it refers to art that has been conceived and created during the time that we live in.
Every artwork created in our lifetime is categorized as contemporary art. Experts have come to the conclusion that it refers to any artwork that has been produced after the Second World War. What defines this genre is its highly experimental nature. Understanding contemporary art will need you to understand the characteristics that define this genre of art.

Understanding Contemporary Art

There is no fullproof method that will make you understand contemporary art. One of the best ways is to understand those characteristics that separate it from other types and genres of art. To make it easy for you to appreciate contemporary art, here are those characteristics of contemporary art that make it slightly more easy to understand.
♦ One key characteristic is that it focuses on originality. Artists question conventional artistic notions, and try and push boundaries in every sphere.
♦ The meaning of an artwork to a very wide extent depends on how a viewer perceives the artwork. It is the concept that led to the piece of art that is more important than the actual tangible art.
♦ This type of art has become more to do with the workings of our mind and the intellectual inside us, and this is defined in most examples.
♦ More often than not, the artwork very successfully manages to raise questions about what is considered socially acceptable. Many artists aim to shake the foundations of particular social institutions. This is the reason why many experts believe that rejection of art by society is a legitimate response to most contemporary artwork.
♦ A viewer is forced to think while viewing art of this type. In a day and age where cameras can capture, in the minutest details, any image you want, a painting needs to give you more to see and appreciate. Artists like to define this as the soul of the painting. With contemporary art, the inspiration is almost always conceptual.
♦ When you are trying to understand it, do not be swayed by what other people have to say about the piece of work. The best thing about this form art is that it allows every person to reach their own conclusion about the artistic work. Differing interpretations is important to it, as it pushes the thinking of the public as well.
♦ In order to understand it better, you need to start reading about the art movement that has helped lead it to this stage in the artistic world. You also need to give your senses time to get accustomed to the shock value that the art type is famous for.
Some of the artwork may definitely not appeal to your aesthetic sensibilities, but in order to understand it, you need to study it thoroughly.
Walk into any one of the best contemporary art museums in the world and you will notice one thing for sure - every piece of artwork is more individualistic than the earlier one.
It is an expression of the artist's voice. Every piece of art has a distinctive nature that sets it apart. Understanding the art translates into understanding these tiny details about a contemporary artist's work.
Today, it is no more confined to just paintings. Sculptures, live installations work, video art, etc., are all an integral and essential part of contemporary art, that you wish to understand better.