Smith Paragraph

Terry Smith’s dense yet revealing article about contemporary art focused on “Contemporary Art” (with a capital C and A) since the 1980’s. Smith points out that the term contemporary art wasn’t really used until the 1990’s. Also Smith points out how the “institutional network” of contemporary art is a global one. Really the label of contemporary isn’t really used to describe art made here and now, but art that could be aged; early in the article he states that contemporary art is “out of time” rather than with time (which is the real definition of art). One of the most interesting things about the article is when Smith describes the Trickster Effect that occurs in contemporary art institutions, and how contemporary art can seem to have a genuine message, but really one that falls within institutions only concerned with making money and gaining a reputation.

Aside from the most interesting part of the article (I found), the most important part of the article is when Smith explores ideas concerning style. Style can be a great way of determining the age of an artwork, but when artist get complacent and too influenced by their favorite artists and movements, art tends to stagnate, becomes disingenuous and too nostalgic. Smith used the term “Remodernism”, and uses examples like Josiah McElheny (one of his works is illustrated near the end of the article — “An end to Modernity”). Even though McElheny isn’t directly copying works like what happens in our current remix culture, he is certainly referencing Modern forms and suggesting that the world begins and ends with modernism, a serious and humorous view of art.

I tend to agree with many of Smith’s arguments throughout the article, but I think he goes into too much detail and over analyzes some artists, artworks and movements. Yes the label contemporary art has some apparent contradictions, but people use this label to describe art made in times closest to us. we are constantly bombarded with imagery and art on a daily basis, and there are so many different types of artists and influences that exist today, and we just happen to describe it as contemporary art. There are probably better terms to use, I like Remodernism, and Retrosensationalism, and Spectacularism. What’s next Re-Retrospectacularsensationalism?

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