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Contemporary Painting Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei at Tate Modern Photo by Lennart PressAP

Contemporary Painting, Gilr With Balloon by Banksy

Contemporary Art (1970–present)

The 1970s marked the beginning of contemporary art, which extends through present day. This period is dominated by various schools and smaller movements that emerged.

  • Postmodernism: In reaction against modernism, artists created works that reflected skepticism, irony, and philosophical critiques.
  • Feminist art: This movement arose in an attempt to transform stereotypes and break the model of a male-dominated art history.
  • Neo Expressionism: Artists sought to revive original aspects of Expressionism and create highly textural, expressive, large works.
  • Street art: Artists such as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barry McGee, Banksy, and more created graffiti-like art on surfaces in public places like sidewalks, buildings, and overpasses.
  • The Pictures Generation: Artists Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler, Gary Simmons, and others who were influenced by Conceptual and Pop art experimented with recognizable imagery to explore images shaped our perceptions of the world.
  • Appropriation art: This movement focused on the use of images in art with little transformation from their original form.
  • Young British Artists (YBA): This group of London artists were notorious for their willingness to shock audiences through their imagery, and a willingness to push beyond limits of decency. They’re also known for their zestful, entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Digital art: The advent of the camera lent way to this artistic practice that allowed artists to use the infusion of art and technology to create with mediums like computers, audio and visual software, sound, and pixels.