Catherine Millet is a French writer and critic. The founder of Art Press in 1972, she has been the editor in chief of this prestigious contemporary art monthly ever since. Her major books are L’Art contemporain and L'Art contemporain en France, the latter having recently been translated into Persian.
This brief article discusses the aesthetic and geographic expansion of contemporary art as well as the unbelievable development of its market. The art market has grown across the world over the last two decades, getting more and more people involved. The modernist and teleological approach of Clement Greenberg has now been abandoned, making room for broader definitions of contemporary art. Some even extend the concept to include industrial design, illustration and sometimes fashion as sub-categories of contemporary art. This broadening of vision is, no doubt, a result of globalization to which art is not only a contributor but, in many ways, a leading player. The art world – which during the whole period of modernism pursued the logic of exclusion – has now become all-inclusive. Consequently, the establishment of any set of criteria for the assessment of artworks has become a difficult job. It is especially worrisome at a time when the market is imposing itself as the sole legitimate source of evaluation. Finally, contemporary art is a basis for freedom: it is an international network or a kind of free zone that enables cross-border exchanges. There are no more vanguards trying to change the world, but there are pieces of land that officially belong to the “territory of art” …