Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Contemporary Art and Globalization

Where does art go from here?

Now that modernists and postmodernists have pushed all the boundaries there are to push, broken all the rules there are to break, and generally decided that almost anything from everyday life—cigarette butts to candy wrappers to urinals—can be a work of art, the question becomes, “Now what?” Does a mere painting have any power left in it? Has art itself come to an end?

Books such as The End of Art by Donald Kuspit and After the End of Art by Arthur C. Danto raise these seemingly drastic questions not because anyone is afraid that artists will stop producing art altogether, but because of the philosophical and aesthetic implications of creating art in a technological, post-postmodern world. While some critics fear for a future that seems to care nothing for beauty, the truth is that nobody knows what art will look like in one hundred years, nor what future artists and critics will think when they look back on the art produced in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

We live in an exciting time in art history. Artists are profoundly challenged with how to approach their work in the face of thousands of years of art history. Only time will give us perspective on our current art trends and philosophies; some scholar or critic of the future will perhaps re-categorize elements of postmodernism into some other “ism” and discuss it in a completely new way. Art does not evolve in a single direction, or conclude like the narrative of a story.

Art is a messy, ever-changing human endeavor, and its future is unknown.


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