Contemporary art refers to a large movement in the past 20 or so years that has drawn influence from almost every prior artistic movement. Because of recent globalization as well as drastic increases in technology, contemporary art is not nearly as formal or restrictive as movements in the past. Artists today are able to spread their art and messages internationally and receive feedback from anyone ranging from an esteemed art critic to a person scrolling through Facebook. Likewise, contemporary art is hard to define due to its immense diversity. In general, contemporary art tends to draw from major movements such as minimalism, surrealism, abstraction, photorealism, impressionism, and more. However, art historians are able to categorically define pieces from the past based on the time period and content into art movements, whereas contemporary art is defined by is an inability to be defined.
In today's constant politically charged atmosphere, a constant flow of information and communication between creators and others occurs which allows a dialogue to be created within contemporary art. One such example of a form of contemporary art is street art. Unlike traditional forms of visual arts, like painting or drawing, street art bases its message on the fact that oftentimes the act of creating street art is vandalism and illegal. One such artist, Banksy, whose roots began in street art, strives to imbue a message that creates a conversation about the socio-political climate of international and cultural relations. Contemporary art often involves performance or a spectacle to draw attention to the message being presented. His piece "Love is in the Bin" became international news when, during an auction, the piece began to shread as it sold. Banksy intended to spread the message that art should not be bought and sold and therefore dictated by a rich class of society. This message backfired due to the fact that the spectacle only increased the value of the piece. Nevertheless, contemporary art, once again, is not defined by its interaction with current events and responses from the general public, but rather the fact that its creation can be for any reason or purpose. Some pieces draw from minimalistic and abstract ideals to challenge the viewer's perception of the definition of art itself, while other creations rely on photorealism to document or create a dialogue about a person or place.
Because of the overlapping ideas and time period, contemporary art and modernism are often confused; however, modernism was replaced in the 20th century by contemporary art because modern art was deemed "not modern enough." Contemporary art strives to constantly change and not be categorically defined. Due to technological advancements, contemporary art often involves dynamic or diverse mediums. Some contemporary art centers around installation pieces which intrinsically leads to the spread of the creation on social media. Contemporary art has the ability to communicate important ideals with people all over the world or allow people all over the world to interpret the individual meaning for the piece. However, this is not a necessity for contemporary art. Contemporary art is distinctly undefinable which allows artists creative license to define their art however they wish to define it.