Contemporary art - painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, and video art - is defined as artistic work from the present era that uses the current practices and styles of its discipline.   Although the words Modern Art and Contemporary Art are used interchangeably, they do represent two distinctive moments on the art timeline.  Modern Art encompasses the art from the Impressionists (around 1880) up until the 1970's.  Contemporary Art encompasses the art from the 1970's to present.

Contemporary art actually has many movements:

Pop Art was pioneered by artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and was defined by an interest in portraying mass culture.

Photorealism  - those involved with Photorealism aimed to create hyper realistic drawings and paintings. Photorealists often worked from photographs, which enabled them to accurately reproduce portraits, landscapes, and other iconography. Chuck Close and Gerhard Richteroften worked in this style.

Conceptualism – is against the idea of art as a commodity. In conceptual art, the idea behind a work of art takes precedence. Major conceptual artists include Damien Hirst, Ai Wei Wei, and Jenny Holzer.

Minimalism - is a simple, abstract aesthetic which invites viewers to respond to what they see—not what they think a given work of art represents. Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, and Dan Flavin are some key Minimalist artists.

Symbolic Realism - Brandy Saturley is an award-winning Canadian painter who is concerned with symbolism, and the reception of realistically painted icons, set against abstract backgrounds. In her own words – “I am creating the equivalent of what I feel about a subject, through symbolism.”

An art collection can easily contain many types and genres of fine art. In fact, worthwhile art pieces, whatever their form, are building blocks for creating an engaging space to live in. 

Contemporary art pieces are an especially important part of any "starter" collection because each piece represents such a major shift what has traditionally been regarded as fine art – paintings that directly represent what they portray – to a requirement that the viewer “interpret” the piece and bring his own thoughts and feelings to the fore.