The definition of modern art is vast and varies greatly from culture to culture. But most contemporary art explores the potentials of painting to express a spiritual response to the conditions of modern life: accelerated technological change, increased scientific knowledge, and increased awareness of non-Western cultures. These changes have shaped and influenced the art movements that are known today.
Abstract and non-objective art

In the definition of non-objective art, there is no discernible object in the subject matter. A work of non-objective art can contain a variety of elements, but there is no reference to a recognizable thing, person, or place. For example, a painting by Kazemir Malevich may not depict any specific object, but it explores the aesthetic qualities of geometric forms. Suprematism is one school of thought that focuses on geometry as the supreme form.

While it’s easy to confuse abstract and non-objective art, the two terms are not the same. While non-objective art includes images of abstract objects, the true skill lies in the way artists communicate their vision.
Style over substance

Style over substance is a concept that creates the impression of weight or truth. This is common in politics, where using a literary or emotional approach often masks a false argument. Many people use this approach because they believe that if it sounds good, then it must be true. However, this criticism can be interpreted in many different ways.

For example, one recent example of style over substance is Park Chan Wook’s Stoker, a film that explores the dynamics between parent and child. The movie is full of stylistic flourishes and wittily complex characters. While this style is obvious and overtly stylistic, the movie is so wildly entertaining that many viewers overlook the lack of ideas or point.
Social and political agendas

Social and political agendas have become a growing part of the modern art landscape, and art has become an increasingly important part of contemporary politics. The Guggenheim Museum recently sparked protests from animal rights activists, and similar demonstrations have swept the globe. While some issues are particularly relevant in one location, others are universal, and the Columbia Global Centers for Visual Culture are a good place to start to refine your understanding of how visual arts politics are changing around the world.

In addition to addressing political and social issues, artists often use art as a means of negotiating identity. This is a phenomenon known as intersectionality. The term was coined by Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989, and it refers to the fact that individuals have more than one identity. These identities influence their social status, privileges, and disadvantages. Some of these factors include race, gender, sexuality, disability, and body type.