Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages and Cultures

First Advisor

Jennifer M. William

Committee Chair

Jennifer M. William

Committee Member 1

Catherine Dossin

Committee Member 2

Jeff Turco


The topic of the thesis is “What is contemporary art?”. While exploring contemporary art, its conceptions, characteristics and remarkable events related to it, I concentrate mainly on research of contemporary art as universal, particularly on such phenomena as multicultural art, postdramatic theater, audience interaction, as well as challenged aesthetics. This thesis also considers postmodern art, since contemporary art in its current form departed from postmodern art. I rely on and address the German language prose and drama, as well as visual arts. The work of Elfriede Jelinek, John von Düffel, Peter Handke, Kristof Magnusson, and multicultural artists Vladimir Kaminer, Feridun Zaimoglu are considered. This paper renders art as a blend of different arts, as well as synthesis of arts and different human activities.

The thesis consists of five chapters. I rely in chapter I on the artwork of Rebecca Horn, Edith Meusnier, Andrea Polli as a sample of heterogeneity, appearing in unusual forms and places, blending together and erasing borders between different types of arts. Multicultural art as one of the forms of universal art is researched on samples of work by Vladimir Kaminer and Feridun Zaimoglu in chapter II. Chapter III concentrates on universal notions of postdramatic theater, supported by theoretical work of Hans-Thies Lehmann. In chapter IV, which is “Questioning Aesthetics”, I write about body fluids art, and include the work of Julia Kristeva, Rina Arya. Digital universality, one of the main characteristics of contemporary art, is a topic of chapter V.

I render contemporary art as the pick of art evolution and cover such characteristics, events or occurrences in contemporary art as the inevitability of development, emergence of different mediums as a result of it, as well as more challenged aesthetics.