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Top Experts Answer the Big Questions About Contemporary Art

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These are just a few of the most-searched-for questions on Google relating to contemporary art. Contemporary art takes so many different forms, and is so wide-reaching in content, style and intent, that it can often be hard to define; no wonder people are turning to Google search.


We asked 5 experts in the art world to help shine some light on the deceptively simple question: what is contemporary art?


Ann Veronica Janssens, Rose, 2007

What is contemporary art?


Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery Contemporary art is the art of our time – which means it explores the experiences, as well as the ways of seeing and thinking, that define this moment. For me, contemporary art is also an alternative way of learning about the world and processing information that, unlike much of our education and our mass media, encourages us to think for ourselves.

Mat Collishaw, British artist and key figure in the YBAs It's a discipline with its own set of rules which no-one agrees on, thus guaranteeing its enduring appeal...

Sarah Munro, Director of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Art has been around since the dawn of time. It's the stories we tell, its how we make sense of our world, and how we imagine new possibilities. Contemporary art is a part of that story, that journey.

Ben Vickers, writer and Curator of Digital at Serpentine Galleries 'Contemporary art' is a stand in term for all the art we see being made in the present. Frozen in time, it signals the inability to move beyond the current moment and imagine new horizons for art making - given that it continues to describe artworks made decades ago. To me, it signals stagnation but in it I see the possibility of renewal, transformation and the birth of something else which will only become clear in the decades ahead. With it will come new language and terms that will allow us to travel beyond the 'contemporary'.

Aaron Cezar, Director of the Delfina Foundation Contemporary art expresses an idea or concept that’s related to current thinking and concerns. It might reference history, aesthetics, politics, romance, or a range of subjects, either in abstract or concrete terms, and through diverse mediums, from painting to performance. Each artwork can mean different things to different people.

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