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Thread: Modern and Contemporary

  1. #1
    Elite Member dangerous's Avatar
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    Question Modern and Contemporary

    ...for interior furnishings. just wondering what the difference is... I assumed
    they were the same until my friend said contemporary was different from
    modern. What do you all think?

  2. #2
    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
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    I have no idea. I would like to know too. My MIL is always using those two words and I always thought they were just interchangable, because everything she points out using either word, looks the same to me!
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    I'm not certain about interior design, but in terms of art and architecture, 'modern' refers to a specific period, while 'contemporary' refers to the present time, and whatever is going on/being done in the present can be considered contemporary.

    From Wiki:

    Modern architecture, not to be confused with 'contemporary architecture', is a term given to a number of building styles with similar characteristics, primarily the simplification of form and the elimination of ornament. The style was conceived early in the 20th century. Modern Architecture was adopted by many influential architects and architectural educators, however very few "Modern buildings" were built in the first half of the century. An early use of the term in print, was in the title of a book by Otto Wagner.[1][2] It gained popularity after the Second World War and became the dominant architectural style for institutional and corporate buildings for three decades.

    The exact characteristics and origins of Modern architecture are still open to interpretation and debate.
    Modern architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Contemporary architecture is the architecture being made at the present time. It also includes that of the last few decades, from the 1980s to the present.
    Contemporary architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Modern art is a general term used for most of the artistic work reckoned anywhere from the early 17th century until the present time.[1] (Recent art production is often called Contemporary art or Postmodern art).
    Modern art - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Contemporary art can be defined variously as art produced at this present point in time or art produced since World War II.
    Contemporary art - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I know that, for example, 1950s or 1960 design would be considered modern, but would not be considered contemporary, as it is not happening now, or even very close to "now". But 1980s or 1990s design would be considered contemporary. So something could be contemporary, but it could still be all overstuffed and poufy and cottagey, and we would probably think it looks "dated". While something from the 50s could be very clean-lined and minimalistic and architectural because that was just the design of the era. Contemporary technically just refers to time period.

    It's interesting that something can actually be "retro" and "modern" at the same time, because the modern era stretches back into a time where you would see (what we think are) very "retro"-looking things.
    Last edited by Tati; January 28th, 2008 at 09:25 PM.
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  4. #4
    Elite Member dangerous's Avatar
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    ^thanks tati.. that makes a lot more sense.

  5. #5
    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
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    Oooooh. Gotcha. That does make sense.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

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