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There’s more to contemporary art than just the paintings on the walls. To really appreciate contemporary art, you need to understand the context in which it was created.

Contemporary art can be defined in a number of ways, but generally speaking it refers to art produced from the 1960s onwards. This means that many contemporary artists are still alive and working today, which makes it possible to see their work in exhibitions and galleries around the world.

While some people find contemporary art difficult to understand, there are a few basic things you can do to get the most out of viewing it. 

1. Do your research.

Before you even step into the gallery, take some time to research the artist and the artwork. Read up on the artist’s background and their artistic influences. This will give you a better understanding of the artwork itself.

2. Talk to the gallery/museum staff.

The gallery or museum staff are there to help you enjoy and understand the artwork on display. They can answer any questions you have and provide additional context about the art.

3. Talk to the artist.

One of the best ways to understand contemporary art is to talk to the artist him or herself. Ask them about their process, their inspirations, and their thoughts on the work.

4. Take your time.

There’s no rush when it comes to viewing contemporary art. Spend as much time as you need in front of each piece, and really let it sink in.

5. Consider your own reaction.

After you’ve taken everything in, take a step back and consider your own reaction to the artwork. What did you like or dislike about it? What did it make you feel? try to approach it with an open mind. Contemporary art can be challenging and thought-provoking, so don’t expect to like or understand everything you see. Just let yourself be affected by the work, and see where your thoughts and feelings take you.

6. Share your thoughts with others.

One of the great things about contemporary art is that it can start a conversation. Talk to your friends or family about the artwork you’ve seen, and see what they think. You might be surprised by their perspectives.

7. Hire an art advisor.

If you’re really serious about understanding and appreciating contemporary art, consider hiring an art advisor. They can help you select pieces to buy or invest in, and they’ll also provide guidance on how to view and appreciate art.

Contemporary art can be confusing for the average person, but with a little bit of guidance it can be appreciated by anyone. If you want to learn more about contemporary art and how to enjoy it, contact Art Axcess for expert advisory services. Our team will help you understand the context in which the artwork was created and give you the tools you need to appreciate this unique form of expression.

Artworks at the cover: George Condo “Central Park”, 2009 and George Condo “Double head on red”, 2014 at The Broad Museum Los Angeles. Photo by Art Axcess

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