The essay "Contemporary art and Def jam" discusses one such new art form, a variant of poetry reading known as def jam. As civilization progressed, so did art as it branched out into other forms, such as the performance arts of song, dance, and theater. The objective is the same, which is to show an artist's ideas through his or her body of work, to highlight creativity and expression known as aesthetics. As language developed, so did the transmission of ideas through the printed word as in literary art works of short stories, epics, novels, and essays although some kinds of primitive art form still exist in the form of the verbal arts, like poem recitation or the telling of a story by a professional storyteller directly to audiences. There are practically no limits to the form an art can take, constrained perhaps only by the creative imagination of an artist.
The two basic art forms are visual and performance art; both possess characteristics of being mimetic, meaning it mimics something found in the real world as its representation. Modern society has witnessed newer art forms due to an advent of advanced technologies like the ability to record sound and images through audio and visual techniques like in video disks.Def jam is also known as def poetry jam or def poetry slam; it is a variant of poetry readings that were so popular in previous centuries, even as part of religious rites in the form of prayers, hymns, and incantations. Poetry reading is rather sedate in that the audience is expected. to stay silent during the entire reading performance, appreciative of the poet's actual physical presence. Like the other art forms of jazz, hip-hop and rap music, it derived primarily from the black American community as a subtle form of political protest. Many blacks still feel that the aims of the Civil Right Movement were not achieved despite an abolition of slavery after the end of Civil War; discrimination still exists in many forms, both overt and subvert in education, politics, housing, employment, health care, society, etc. Def jam is classified as performance art as it is an interactive form of poetry reading; the audience is not expected to stay silent, but rather try to show its appreciation by the intensity of audience reaction. It no longer considers poetry reading as private art (Novak 40) but rather as a public performance. The sing-song tone is similar to that of rap or hip-hop music, with rhyming insults, suggestive comments, and innuendos very common. This is the main attraction of def jam, because although its message is basically the same, that of a silent political protest and making a substantive statement, its continued popularity since its inception two or three decades ago is its unconventional way a message is delivered. Although def jam owes its provenance to the protest movement, the current versions delve on a variety of topics. No topic is sacred or off limits, as the saying, anything goes in it; the more controversial, challenging, or unusual the topic of the poem is, the more an audience shows its appreciation for the sheer talent exhibited by the artist-poet, complete with all props, actions, gestures, appropriate dress, tone of delivery, and volume of voice but the message is a constant attraction. It is the essence of def