Modern art is a specific artistic style movement that began during the 19th century and lasted until the 1970s, and many art historians tend to agree that it shares some time overlap with the contemporary art movement. Its principle characteristics include a departure from traditional views and experimentation with media and subjects that were previously considered out of the ordinary or even controversial. Some of the most famous works of modern art focus primarily on emotional expression rather than stoic restraint, and a good number of early modern artists drew their inspiration from the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment. Changes in technology and increasing rates of intercultural exchange also contributed to the development of modern art.
One of the main goals of some modern artists' work is to accurately capture society as they believe it exists during their lifetimes. This practice is a noted difference from previous art movements that largely celebrated or idealized the past. Depictions of everyday life became common in modern art beginning in the 1880s, and several artists of this era also began creating works that addressed social problems such as economic inequality. The resulting reactions from traditional art critics sometimes ranged from dismissive to shocked.
Another significant factor in modern art is usually one of expressive freedom; this period in art history is the first in which artists felt they could use their own internal visions as starting points instead of following the conservative formulas for creating art that had been the standards up until that point. Some works of visual art such as paintings and sculptures were sometimes even created to break the traditional rules of art such as keeping paint inside a canvas frame or displaying a sculpture on a proper pedestal.
Contemporary art is generally considered a later period of the modern art movement that began during the 1960s and continues in various forms into the present. Experimentation with digital technology has allowed the development of new media art such as computer animation, digital photography, and video installations. Some contemporary artists also experiment with the roles of the artist and the viewers, leading to the development of interactive art. This medium is not used with the goals of a passive audience observing pieces in a gallery exhibit; it instead requires that each viewer briefly become a part of the artwork, usually by interacting with a camera or other type of electronic input device.