One of the things that baffles me is how people seem so baffled about what’s contemporary.

We know that contemporary is NOW. Contemporary is TODAY. Contemporary is happening.

I love being in the now and focusing on today. In actuality, today is all we really have. In fact, actuality is also NOW and it’s also TODAY. If it’s happening, it’s now and therefore, it’s contemporary.

In short, actuality is nothing if not contemporary. Am I making sense?

Yes? Okay … good.

I was just glancing at this article about people who love vintage furniture and things. Count me among them. There’s just something about vintage that’s so reassuring. Perhaps it’s the fact that whatever we consider vintage is locked by time. It’s not locked IN time because it’s still here with us … so it has clearly survived its period in history. Yet it’s locked by time because we associate it with the past.

We feel comfortable with vintage things, furnishings and art because they stand for something that has made the leap from trendy to traditional. Whatever is considered vintage is no longer flighty. It’s here to stay. It’s reliable and compliant. We can depend on it hence forward.

But here’s the thing.

When we take old things and incorporate them into our lives, are they truly ancient or vintage? I mean, if we live with them today and give them life today, aren’t they really contemporary even though they come from another time?

I guess that’s what actually makes something vintage … in actuality anyway.

Here’s another thing.

So many churches today, in an attempt to get more people to attend Sunday services where the sanctuaries are increasingly empty, have adopted “Contemporary Services.” These services focus on contemporary music and “new approaches” to worship over the old, traditional rigors of times past.

Generally, when churches do this, they throw the baby out with the bath water. In a pandering push for millennials – few of whom are ever actually consulted, why would anyone do that? – churches sacrifice old, choral hymns for the soaring riffs of electric guitars.

Depending on where you visit, it works with varying degrees of success.

I think the problem with the way many people view “contemporary” is the fact that they often pull contemporary out and make it a separate entity unto itself. I think this is a mistake.

We are contemporary. If you’re alive and walking the planet today, you are contemporary. You are NOW. But does this mean that you’ve thrown away everything from the past?

Of course not.

Contemporary isn’t only about TODAY. Contemporary also takes yesterday into account. Contemporary remembers the best of the past – also known as “tradition” – and makes the most of everything.

Contemporary is contemporary, but it’s not ONLY contemporary. It’s also yesterday. Contemporary is also ECLECTIC. Post Modern?

Contemporary isn’t just one thing. Contemporary is everything. If you’re alive now and the things you see are still here, then of course … they are contemporary too. They’ve survived. They’re here.

Hurray for contemporary! I live in an old house with old bones, but I’ve actually made it vintage …

Old + Contemporary = Vintage.

Contemporary is about choices and options … past meets present … mistakes meet excellence … the whole shebang. Eclecticism.

Contemporary isn’t just one or two things. There’s this very contemporary slang term that implies when you really like something, you call it, “Everything.” I mean, that’s just how MUCH you like it … it’s “everything.”

For example, for me, “Contemporary art is everything.”

Isn’t that the case with contemporary? I mean, if we didn’t like contemporary, we may as well not be here. I don’t know about you, but I love life with all of its choices and options and possibilities.

From art to politics to music to science to technology to nature to sports to everything under the sun … it’s all here for us … past and present. If we do well by the past and present, won’t we be better prepared for the future?

I mean, the future often throws us curve balls, but isn’t it still a good thing to have a catcher’s mitt or a “bat deflector shield?” I’ll take either … old or contemporary.

Life is one, giant stewpot of eclecticism … with variety being the spice of choice. Grab “right now” for dear life. Life is NOW. Life is THIS MOMENT. Life is TODAY.

And guess what? If we believe all of that … if we live by all of that … then it’s certainly and overwhelmingly clear that … it’s all we have.

No matter how difficult … life rocks … and contemporary is everything.   



What Art Has Taught Me