Which One Is Better: Modern vs. Contemporary Art

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Art

In the art world, two words are often used interchangeably: “modern” and “contemporary.” 

However, these words have more specific meanings when it comes to art. There are different eras called the “modern era” and the “contemporary era” and there are different styles and sub-eras within each of these eras.

You might confuse contemporary and modern art when you start learning about art movements and styles. 

Modern typically refers to new or recent things, but that’s not always true. Modern art is an art that was famous in the past. Some famous modern art is around 200 years old. 

On the other hand, Contemporary art is an art that living artists make today. This article will tell you the difference between these two art styles.

All About Timing

The modern art period started in the 1860s and lasted until the 1950s or 1970s. It was present for around 100-year. 

Contemporary art is an art that is made today. People who study art call art made from the 1960s or 1970s onwards “contemporary.”

Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Art

The difference between modern and contemporary art can be confusing. It is generally agreed that modern art refers to art produced from the 1860s to the 1970s, while contemporary art refers to art produced after 1970. 

Contemporary artists have many more options for making art than in the past. There are more types of art, and new technologies have allowed artists to use different mediums. 

And modern art is created by drawing or painting. Due to the lack of knowledge and technology, modern artists had no such tools. 

Contemporary artists use various materials to create art, including video, graphics, technology, and more.

Today’s art can be challenging to digest, understand, and classify. Contemporary art is different from art periods that came before it. 

Nowadays, artists emphasize creating art that addresses current issues rather than making visually appealing pieces. 

Since the modern era, people have been less interested in things that look pretty and more interested in things that have a deeper meaning

This trend has continued into the contemporary art world, where artists focus more on the ideas behind their work than on how it looks.

Modern Artist Name

Some of the modern artist’s names are mentioned below:

  • Josef Albers
  • Nathan Altman
  • Irving Amen
  • Félix Arauz
  • Mino Argento
  • Arman
  • George Bellows
  • Thomas Hart Benton
  • Ralph Albert Blakelock
  • Norman Bluhm
  • Alexander Bogomazov
  • Pierre Bonnard

Contemporary Artist Name

Some of the contemporary artist names are discussed below:

  • Peggy Ahwesh 
  • Laurie Anderson
  • Janine Antoni 
  • Diane Arbus 
  • John Armleder 
  • Artur Barrio 
  • Georg Baselitz 
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat 
  • Vanessa Beecroft 
  • Maurice Benayoun 
  • Lynda Benglis
  • José Bernal 
  • Ashley Bickerton

Examples of Modern Art

Modern art is a type of art that was created during the Modernism era. This era is marked by big changes, including new art styles and concepts that had never been seen before. 

Photography and the idea of abstraction were both created during this time. Modern artists make their art inspired by dreams, abstraction, and symbolism. 

It means that they created art inspired by their dreams, symbols that meant something personal to them, and abstract shapes and designs. 

At the same time, David Kracov and Angelo Accardi are two modern artists who started experimenting with new materials. They introduced photography, screen printing, and modern sculpture.

Examples of Contemporary Art

Contemporary art often tries to make people think about things. Some of these things are social issues, like racism and poverty. Other things can be economic or political issues, like globalization and terrorism

Some artists try to make people think about more abstract concepts, like love or time. It is about the things people are thinking about today, so contemporary art can be about anything happening in the world now.

One thing that makes contemporary art, so challenging is that there are no rules. Artists can use any materials and methods they want to create their art. 

It means that contemporary art can be anything from a traditional painting to a performance art piece. While the traditional rules of art bound artists in the modern art time, contemporary artists have broken all the rules.


Art has always been a subject of change. What was once modern art is now contemporary art. The two terms are used to describe different periods in the development of art. 

Modern art refers to the period from the 1860s to the 1970s, while contemporary art refers to the period after 1970. 

Contemporary artists have more options for making art than ever before. They can use any materials they want and are not limited by the rules that bound artists in the past. This freedom has resulted in some amazing and thought-provoking pieces of art.


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Table of Contents


Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
preloader image