EN / nl
The notion of “the contemporary” is irredeemably empty. The concept became central to art language as a result of the need to find a replacement, rather than as a matter of legitimate theorizing: ‘contemporary’ is the term that marks the death of ‘modern’. It is based on the significance of an ‘after’. However, as is usually the case with chronological categories (like ‘the modern’) this neutrality may soon unfold into a noun with a certain substance.
Modern capitalist society finally has an art that aligns with the audience, with the social elites that finance it, and with the academic industry that serves as its fellow traveller. In this sense art has become contemporaneous in a literal sense, because the growing integration of art into culture has finally erased the metaphor of a different temporality between the two. At the same time, ‘contemporary art’ marks the stage at which different geographies and localities are finally regarded as belonging to the same network of questions and strategies. Art becomes ‘contemporary’ in the strong sense when it refers to the progressive obsolescence of narratives that concentrated cultural innovation so completely in colonial and imperial metropolises. CM