Contemporary art: images, concepts, ideas

This course offers a survey of contemporary art from the late 1950s to the present time, including modern trends and ideas in the ever-changing world of art. It introduces the visual arts and explains its history using painting, installations, environments, and performances. The course combines proper historical…
Beginner Level
Stepik certificate

What you will learn

  • The course is aimed to give the essential knowledge and skills in contemporary art history. This program is for international students who make their first steps in studying contemporary art. After taking this course, you will understand art history in the second half of the XXth century, how it has developed, and what the ideas are behind it.

About this course

This course is about key art movements, the institutional framework of art, and specific artistic strategies.
Abstract expressionism, minimalism, pop art, conceptualism, neo-expressionism, other art movements and new forms of art as action, happening, installation, public art, and video art will focus on our attention.

Whom this course is for

This course is for international students interested in studying contemporary art or planning to use the knowledge to implement international socio-cultural projects and exhibitions. 

Initial requirements

This course is for students, artists, and thinkers who wish to understand contemporary art processes better. This course is for you if you plan to use the knowledge in research, creative, and project activities. Contemporary art becomes more and more expressive, develops new tools, themes, and subjects of study. Based on the universal history of art and its practices and strategies, the artists create a new meaning of art, exploring and developing its language and the institutional system of art.

Meet the Instructors

How you will learn


The course includes six modules; each module consists of video lectures, text materials, additional references and sources, didactic materials, assignments, and tests. 

Module 1.

A Brief Introduction to Contemporary Art.

Modernism, Postmodernism, Metamodernism, visual codes, deconstruction, irony, pastiche, narrative, eclecticism,

contemporary art, performance art, kinetic art, installation art.

The basic chronology of contemporary art: abstract expressionism, pop-art, minimal art, neo-expressionism, performative art, etc.

Module 2: 

Abstract expressionism, color field painting, informal art, personal gesture, action painting, gestural painting, emotional expression, monochrome fields

Conceptual art, dictum, and modus, impersonal content, the meaning of context, semantics, hypertextuality, coherence

Minimal art, repetitive patterns, colors, and forms, seriality, industrial materials, materiality

Module 3: 

Pop art, Mass culture, mass consumption, and political agitation in the media, popular culture aesthetics

Performance art, Happening, specific actions, body movement, artists' body, social sculpture, action, ideas, concepts, images, 'thought forms'

Module 4: 

Video Art, visual turn, new technology, postmodern aesthetics', spatial installations, the feminist context, body, and gender in art, "global village", New media art

Soviet art, Socialist realism, Severe Style, avant-garde trends, Moscow conceptualism, Sots-Art, ideological constructs, social escapism

Module 5: 

Corporeality and the Self, mechanistic theory, Cartesian dualism, identity problems, virtual body, uncanny valley effect, symbiotic relationship, symbiotic art, body-machine mythology, and multiple identities cyborg, art and science, computer-generated imagery, augmented and virtual reality.

Module 6: 

System of Art, the institutional theory of art, cultural context, the art world, institutional critique, key stakeholders, capitalist structure of the art market, curator, biennial, art auction, multidisciplinary approach, squatting 

Each section contains:

• Video lectures

• Text materials

• Didactic materials

• Knowledge control

• Opinion exchange

Course content



Stepik certificate

What you will get

  • you will learn how to analyze contemporary artwork and its context
  • you will learn specific terms and concepts
  • you will know the chronology of art of the second half of the XXth century
Price: Free

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Price: Free