“Art doesn’t have to be contemporary to feel contemporary.” -Jacqueline Stewart, Chief Artistic & Programming Officer, Academy Museum
Consider that Anton Chekhov wrote this in 1897 (from his play “Uncle Vanya”)…
You can stoke your stoves with peat and build your barns of stone. Well, all right, cut wood when you need to, but why destroy whole forests? Russian forests are groaning under the axe, billions of trees are perishing, the homes of beasts and birds are devastated, the rivers grow shallow and dry up, wonderful landscapes disappear beyond recall, and all that because lazy man isn’t smart enough to bend down and pick up fuel from the ground. Isn’t that so, madam? You have to be a senseless barbarian to burn this beauty in your stove, to destroy what we cannot create. Man is endowed with reason and creative power to increase what’s been given to him, but so far he’s been destroying, not creating. There are fewer and fewer forests, rivers are drying up, wildlife is disappearing, the climate is ruined, and with every day the earth becomes poorer and uglier.
Feels like it could’ve been written today, doesn’t it?
Don’t worry about staying contemporary. Worry about being truthful and authentic. When you capture truth, contemporary takes care of itself.