For decades art history students have been asked to identify paintings they've never seen by artists they've studied. If you know an artist's style well enough you have a pretty good shot of identifying one of his paintings even if you've never seen it before, right? When it comes to many contemporary artists, it seems that's no longer the case.
Painters around the world are increasingly leaving behind the idea of a signature style to create works in a variety of styles and mediums that have just as disparate subjects. Abstract pieces are created at the same time as representational ones, paintings on canvas at the same time as paintings on the floor, a door, or a trashcan.
While there can be little doubt that this inter-disciplinary artistic creation has increased in recent years, some don't see it as a new phenomenon. They point to artists like Duchamp, arguing that crossing traditional stylistic boundaries is an important tradition in modern and contemporary art.