Morgan Rice’s 3 paragraphs from Terry Smith

In this essay, Terry Smith describes a lot of what contemporary art is not. He says that it is not a traditional movement like those that we are used to, nor is it completely a specific point in time. It is not a certain style or pattern, and it is not the aesthetic of a particular culture. He then makes a lot of interesting points that get the reader closer to the definition of contemporary art. Contemporary art, he states, acknowledges the present, the here and now, and the non lasting idea of the here and now. Contemporary art is being generated all over the world in many different ways, and is not tied specifically to one culture or another. It is extremely diverse, both in the content of the work and the medium chosen to create it with. Another point that Smith brings up is that contemporary art is produced sometimes very quickly for mass audiences, and the artists who make it are making it younger, and it is being exhibited more quickly than ever before.

One of the main points in particular that stuck with me was the idea that contemporary is the play between being and time, shown through many different relationships. It is art in response to being in the present, and producing work which responds to the present, which is ever changing. It is the art of the here and the now. Contemporary art also seems to have as few boundaries as possible, and no specific style, medium or message seems to be taking the lead. The contemporary period is thought to have started recently, sometime after WWII or maybe just before the 1950’s and ’60’s. However, Smith argues that it has existed as long as there has been art. He brings up the examples of ancient art, and argues that they, too are in response to their own here and now.

For me, contemporary art is the art that has been created during all the years I have been alive. I did not witness any other art movements, only learned about them from history classes. Contemporary art, to me, seems to be trying to seem unexpected or new, or more real in some way. Some contemporary artists seem to be making statements about one very small and specific issue in their own life, while others seem to be making huge global statements about the current state of the world. Contemporary can be anything it wants, while also fighting against anything it doesn’t want to be. It is a global web of different media, styles, contents, commentaries and voices that sometimes interweave but often don’t. Contemporary art is the art of here and now, as well as the art of the future. Art has become a seemingly undefinable term. It has become something that you would know if you saw, but could not describe. In some cases, even, you wouldn’t even know it if you saw it. To me, contemporary art seems to be the nebulous combination of so many different responses to experiences of here and now.

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