Smith Paragraph

Smith does not assign Contemporary Art an overarching definition, but rather branches it out into loose sub genres. As he haphazardly links them into a web of scholarly pretense and gibberish, he succeeds in obscuring any clarity that once existed about the genre. He defines Contemporary Art at one point as “self-defining,” as if it’s not already assumed that a culture’s art represents itself inherently. Labeling an artistic movement as a phenomenon that is “constantly inviting itself to its own self-representation” is disregarding art as a constantly evolving entity, a direct product of the human artist, who will never be perfect. Yet it is not Smith’s word-choice which makes his entry so artificial, but rather it is his inability to recognize art as a product of humanity. He nonchalantly calls Contemporary Art a restless genre, helpless against the undulations of high society and culture, while ignoring the plethora of past movements that have fluctuated just as wildly. He writes this entry as if art is some origin-less species that we must observe behind a thick panel of glass, like visitors at a zoo. It is the person behind the artwork who matters, so of course art will never be uniform! What person is exactly the same as another? We are all unique, thus an artistic movement is subject to unpredictable and drastic changes.

Smith did present one point I was reluctant to agree with. When elaborating on Contemporary Art’s supposed identity crisis, Smith mentions that it could be the beginning of a “periodlessness” in art. In a time where art is constantly being redefined, a predominate art style is impossible. Hence, “Contemporary” comes to define something which is “out of time” rather than “with time.”


Total freedom from the constraints of genre and taste… and even time! Art is the property of the people again. Instead of labeling Contemporary Art as a movement, we should think of it as a public garden from which we all can sprout our own, subjective art.  This is what I expect out of a Contemporary Art course. A wide variety of art being presented to me like it’s totally unique to anything else that existed before it. I want to learn from the art of those who are alien to me, completely unknown. Whether that be a painter from Denver, or a sculptor from the Middle East, I just want to experience something fresh and exciting.

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