In everyday language, modern can mean anything that is new, but in art contexts, the word has a special meaning. Modern art is an umbrella term for many art movements and styles produced in a period that extends from around the 1860s to the 1960s.
The concept of art that defines the period is called modernism. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation.
Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. A tendency away from the narrative, which was characteristic of the traditional arts, toward abstraction is characteristic of much modern art.