Back in the 16th Century, only those artists who had some king or queen as their patron could produce art. The others were too poor for it. In the late 19th Century, with industrialization, this situation changed significantly as then it wasn’t the privileged few but the talented few who could follow the vocation of an artist. However, now the situation is totally different. Now the contemporary art movements aren’t just for the privileged or the talented, they are for everybody. Theyare so broad that you can call yourself an artist with impunity even if you just happen to be good with photoshop or animation. All you need to do is come up with something that describes the modern-day conscience and something that people can relate to.
9 Significant Contemporary Art Movements
Although it is difficult to divide the present extravagance into art movements. Still, if you decide to do so, you’d find that there are some particular types of art that have become extremely popular in the 21st Century. These aren’t necessarily what every hard-headed man would call art. But let’s face it, from memes to movie posters everything that you see around you is art. If you dislike it, you are also bound to dislike your age as well. So, keeping that in mind, let us take a look at 9 such art movements of 21st Century that describe our age and times.
1. Pop Art
Pop art is something that changed our conception of art more than any other artform. It won’t be wrong if we would call it the Godfather of 21st Century art. From Instagram filters to flashy advertisements, everything that catches our attention on a daily basis owes something to pop art. In fact, the main principles of pop art are much more significant now than they were at the time of its inception.
Unlike former art forms, pop art abandons probing into the reality of things and is more contented with the deceptive outlook of things. This art form is conscious of the fact that things aren’t the way they look in pictures or in movies. However, rather than resisting the deception, it embraces it, and even works hard towards making it more potent. It makes us more aware of the illusive world that we live in, and at the same time, it makes us love the world for its illusions.
Although it began in the 1950s with rise of artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, by the end of the 1970s pop art is said to have lost its momentum. However, you just have look at the similarity in principles of the contemporary art and pop art and you’d understand that it hasn’t actually lost the momentum, it has just changed its outer form. Although it looks outwardly different, the 21st Century art carries over the spirit of pop art through and through. The difference of the outlook is just because of the difference in the times.
Collage has been there since antiquity. People are said to have used them even in 200 BC when the Chinese invented paper. However, it was in the early 20th Century that modern artists like Picasso and Braque explored its potential. Since then, it has been there in almost every significant art movement. Now too, collages are literally everywhere. You can find them on the thumbnails of your favorite YouTube videos, on the album cover of your favorite musician, and even in printed advertisements. They symbolize the myriad impressions that the average human mind undergoes every single day and are bound to resonate with the masses even in the far future. They have successfully endured the test of time.
Just like collage, graffiti too has been there since antiquity. It is just that we have changed our attitude towards it. What was earlier thought to be defilement of property and vandalism has now become a symbol of free thought and rebellion. Graffiti is in fact one of the purest symbols of modernization. Once can’t imagine overcrowded cities without graffiti and vice versa. Nevertheless, graffiti hasn’t reached this stage without any struggle. It owes its current success to the works of Bansky, Jean Michel Basquiat and innumerable other artists many of whom are still unknown. Moreover, thanks to numerous graffiti art festivals all around the world, this art form is finally getting the recognition that it deserves.
4. Land Art
Land art or Earth Art is an art form that is from the nature and for the nature. No matter which art form you switch to, it is bad for nature. Even to make something like paper and paint, we need to exploit the environment. Moreover, art forms like graffiti involve using chemical paints that are harmful for the environment.
So, keeping in mind all that, by just rearranging the things in the environment artists have come up with something called Land Art. Apart from being totally eco-friendly this art form also serves a very noble purpose. It reminds us the beauty and peace that’s a part and parcel of the mother nature. In city life, it isn’t hard to mistake peace and silence for boredom and void. However, with Land Art you learn how this same void can be a birthplace for interesting shape and forms, and brings us into touch with the enigmatic spirit, which we also call mother nature.
5. Recycled Art
Trash is an inevitable reality of the modern times. The worst part is that nobody wants to see this trash. We want someone to come and pick it up from our homes and take it so far away that we never have to bother about it ever again. But that’s like hiding your face in the sand like the Ostrich. What’s worse? Our trash is literally immortal. It is out there on the land, in water, inside the deepest of trenches, and even inside most of the living organisms (including us). The situation is much worse than most of us imagine it to be. Therefore, by recycling our everyday trash into art forms, numerous artists from all around the world are making statements. By coming up with marvels of recycled artthey are taking our attention to the most pressing issues of our times.
6. Digital Art
In the past two decades, digital art has become so wide and varied that the term itself isn’t enough to show its extent. It has numerous branches like Digital Painting, Software Art, New Media Art, etc. Digital art is probably the most widely popular art form that the world has ever seen. It is easy to make and easier to propagate. If paint and photoshop weren’t enough, now we have numerous applications like Prisma that are taking the game to a brand-new level. Unlike its predecessors, digital art isn’t burdened by aims and rules. Not only is it free and easy, it is for everyone.
7. Body Art
Back in the days Tattoos and Piercings were used to symbolize one’s culture, religion, etc. But now that all these social institutions have started disintegrating, they have assumed a much different role. Now they are amongst the most common mediums through which people express their individuality. However, this art has its levels. It goes all the way from temporary tattoos and harmless piercings to full body tattoos and body mutilation. Despite a high prevalence of the latter, the art form is at the peak of its popularity right now and so we are bound to see much more of it.
8. Feminist Art
We live in a post feminism era. Nevertheless, without anyvalid reason, art and architecture remain male dominant. Most probably, it is just a state of mind that we need to change. Artists like Frida Kahlo and Amrita Shergill have proved long ago. There is one problem though. It is usually impossible to tell from an artwork whether the artist behind it is a male or a female. But, curiously enough, rather than supporting this fact, Feminist art is going against it. Since for the most part art has been men’s playground, we can say that it has a masculine language. So, to establish their separate identity as female artists, many of them are coming up with artworks that are predominantly feminine. Feminist art is a part of the broad feminism movement and as more and more women start discovering their singular artistic expression, it is bound to flourish even more.
Cartoons are among few of the popular symbols of the 21st Century and late 20th Century consciousness. From comics to television shows, we come across such a variety of cartoons that it’d be impossible to tie them to a definition. From Noddy and The Mask to The Simpsons and Southpark and from Pokémon and One Piece to The Powerpuff Girls and Cowboy Bebop, no matter what your taste is, there’s a cartoon for you. Cartoons have a significant impact on our consciousness and most likely they would continue having this privilege.