And what is the difference between modern and contemporary art?.
Contemporary art can be defined either as art produced at this present point in time or art produced since World War II (after 1945). The definition of the word "contemporary" would support the first view, but the most museums of contemporary art commonly define their collections as consisting of art produced since World War II.
Others use the term for Art from the 1960's or from the 1970's up until now.
In any case the term is used to denote the art of the present day and relatively recent past.
Contemporary art is exhibited by contemporary art museums, commercial contemporary art galleries, private collectors, corporations, publicly funded arts organizations, at art-fairs or by artists themselves in artist-run spaces. Contemporary artists are supported by grants, awards and prizes as well as by direct sales of their work.
There are close relationships between publicly funded contemporary art organisations and the commercial sector. For instance, in Britain a handful of dealers represent the artists featured in leading publicly funded contemporary art museums.
Individual collectors can wield considerable influence. Charles Saatchi dominated the contemporary art market in Britain during the 1980s and the 1990s; the subtitle of the 1999 book Young British Artists: The Saatchi Decade uses of the name of the private collector to define an entire decade of contemporary art production.
Corporations have attempted to integrate themselves into the contemporary art world: exhibiting contemporary art within their premises, organising and sponsoring contemporary art awards and building up extensive collections of corporate art.
The institutions of art have been criticised for regulating what is designated as contemporary art. Outsider art, for instance, is literally contemporary art, in that it is produced in the present day.
However, it is not considered so because the artists are self-taught and are assumed to be working outside of an art historical context. Craft activities, such as textile design, are also excluded from the realm of contemporary art, despite large audiences for exhibitions. Attention is drawn to the way that craft objects must subscribe to particular values in order to be admitted.
It was only after World War II, however, that the U.S. became the focal point of new artistic movements. The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of Abstract Expressionism, Color field painting, Pop art, Op art, Hard-edge painting, Minimal art, Lyrical Abstraction, FLUXUS, Postminimalism, Photorealism and various other movements. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, Land art, Performance art, Conceptual art, and other new art forms had attracted the attention of curators and critics, at the expense of more traditional media. Larger installations and performances became widespread.
By the end of the 1970s, when cultural critics began speaking of "the end of painting" (the title of a provocative essay written in 1981 by Douglas Crimp), new media art had become a category in itself, with a growing number of artists experimenting with technological means such as video art. Painting assumed renewed importance in the 1980s and 1990s, as evidenced by the rise of neo-expressionism and the revival of figurative painting.
Towards the end of the 20th century, a number of artists and architects started questioning the idea of "the modern" and created typically Postmodern works.
Contemporary art is not similar to "modern art", a term wich is used for artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era.
The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation.