Global Contemporary

Global contemporary art is characterized by a transcendence of traditional conceptions of art and is supported by technological developments and global awareness. Digital technology in particular provides increased access to imagery and contextual information about diverse artists and artworks throughout history and across the globe.

10-1a: Hierarchies of materials, tools, function, artistic training, style, and presentation are challenged. Questions about how art is defined, valued, and presented are provoked by ephemeral digital works, video-captured performances, graffiti artists, online museums and galleries, declines in (but preservation of) natural materials and traditional skills, predominance of disposable material cultures, and the digital divide access or lack of access to digital technology.

10-1b: Diverse art forms are considered according to perceived similarities in form, content, and artistic intent over broad themes which include existential investigations, sociopolitical critiques, as well as reflections on the natural world, art’s history, popular and traditional culture, and technological innovation.

10-1c: Artists frequently use appropriation and ‘mashups’ to devalue or revalue culturally sacred objects, and to negate or support expectations of artworks based on regional, cultural, and chronological associations. Intended meanings are often open-ended and subject to multiple interpretations.

10-1d: The iconic building becomes a south-after trademark for cities. Computer-aided design impacts the diversity of innovative architectural forms, which tend toward the aspiration and the visionary.

In the scholarly realm as well as mainstream media, contemporary art is now a major phenomenon experienced and understood in a global context.

10-2a: Art history surveys have traditionally offered less attention to art made from 1980 to present. While such surveys often presented contemporary art as largely a European and American phenomenon, today, contemporary art produced by artists of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the First Nations is receiving the same, if not more, attention than work produced in Europe and the Americas.

10-2b: The waning o colonialism, inaugurated by independence movements, shifts in the balance of power with the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the rise of China, and the development of widespread communication networks such as the Internet have all contributed to representations of the world that are global and interconnected rather than Eurocentric.

10-2c: The art world has expanded and become more inclusive since the 1960s, as artists of all nationalities, ethnicities, and sexual preferences, as well as female artists, have challenged the traditional privileged place of white, heterosexual men in art history. This activism has been supported by theories (e.g., deconstructionist, feminist, poststructuralist, and queer) that critique perspectives on history and cultures that claim universality but are in fact exclusionary.

10-2d: The worldwide proliferation of contemporary art museums, galleries, biennials and triennials, exhibitions, and print and digital publications has created numerous, diverse venues for the presentation and evaluation of art in today’s world.