Smith Paragraph

Smith’s article, “What is Contemporary Art?”, breaks down the different interpretations of what “contemporary” actually means. Contemporary Art is categorized in a variety of manners. It has been defined as an intense proliferating global structure with its own values and discourse and is often understood as being very distinct from “modern art”. This distinction arrises from how we create art in the present, because in order to create contemporary art, we must make ourselves familiar with art history and how the artwork reflected the time in which it was created.

Time was another concept which Smith addressed in his article. He states that there was a wide spread sense of “beyond history” or “after the end of history” when is came to art in the 1990’s to 2000’s. “Contemporary” came to mean “periodlessness” or being perpetually out of time. This kind of art was not subject to a historical unfolding and it will become hard for artists, curators, art historians to tell when “contemporary” will become a part of history since it has the condition of always and only being in the present. Due to this classification, contemporary art participates in a decline of standards, where as many of the pieces we study in art history are directly related to a significant point in time, not just the present, or the now.

While many say that contemporary art is becoming hard to classify or interpret, what I expect to get out of it is just that. I expect to learn the new qualities or characteristics that come alongside present pieces of work and to learn how to interpret them in a way that makes sense to the day and age we live in. So many pieces are compared to the past. Even though it is important to understand art history, I feel it is also important to create new methods of interpretations that are formulated from how contemporary art is being created and perceived. The concept of the contemporary, as Smith stated, always served to acknowledge the quickly passing present. We are a fast moving society, so I expect contemporary art to mirror that lifestyle, and our interpretations of that art should use this idea as a basis.

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