Contemporary history describes the periodtimeframe that is closely connected to the present day; it is a certain perspective of modern history. The term "contemporary history" has been in use at least since the early 19th century. In the widest context of this use, contemporary history is that of current events and the part of history still in living memory. Based on current human lifespan-averages, contemporary history would extend for a period of approximately 80 years.
In a narrower sense "contemporary history" may refer to the history remembered by most (more than 50 percent) of human beings alive, extending to about a generation. As the median age of people living on Earth is 30 years as of the present (2016) this is currently often understood as meaning anything after about 1991 when the Cold War order collapsed and use of the Internet became widespread outside of academia, defense and big business; the beginning of the "long 21st century".
The present age possesses a distinct character of its own.
Contemporary was a monthly visual arts magazine based in London. Founded and edited as The Green Book by Keith Spencer as a quarterly publication, it re-emerged under the title Contemporary Art in 1993. On the death of Spencer, the title was acquired by Gordon and Breach Publishing (G+B), and produced four issues under the editorship of Lynne Green, Spencer's deputy.
The magazine finally found its feet as a committed contemporary art publication in 1996 under the editorial control of Keith Patrick and with the change of title to Contemporary Visual Arts, later abbreviated to CVA. During this period the magazine achieved sales of nearly 20,000, including 5,000 subscribers, with distribution mainly in the UK, Europe, the States and Australia. Its base at this time was the former Peek Freans biscuit factory in Bermondsey, London, the site of several key early exhibitions of the YBA generation.
With the collapse of the G+B parent company in 2001, the title was acquired by Art:21 and reappeared as Contemporary in January 2002 although no longer with an exclusive commitment to the visual arts. In 2003 a sister publication, Contemporary 21, was launched. Initially media-focused, with special issues dedicated to painting, sculpture, video art and performance, it would later embrace a wider range of topics, from art collecting to the relationship between visual art and architecture. In 2006 Contemporary published its first Annual, featuring 50 emerging artists nominated by its network of world correspondents. In 2008 the magazine relocated to Panama City, where it ceased publication after failing in an attempt to start a Spanish-language edition.