Smith Paragraphs

What is contemporary art?

In Smith’s book, he points out that there are many different ways to talk about defining contemporary art. Generally all these definitions can be used to explain how art historians are trying to define art that has no canon and no historical hindsight. For this reason some scholars believe that Contemporary Art is a kind of art that lives outside of a historical context. Certainly because of mass media and greater distribution, art is no longer stuck in a particular geographical place ie; the great wall of China can now be viewed by anyone using pictures or any simple google search. So it is possible to say as Smith does that this art is no longer stuck in a particular time period for it’s understanding.

Works of Contemporary art are made to be viewed by many people because of the generally accepted use of mass media. So Smith points out that many artists may use shock tactics to gather attention to their work- and more importantly themselves. As well as being seen by many people and audiences, there is now a more widespread critique and interpretation of images. Therefore an easy conclusion to draw would be that art is now more difficult to obtain one single true meaning from, as it is seen by more people and lies “outside” of a specific historical context.

What I thought was most interesting from the excerpt was that there is a fear among these scholars that we are entering an era in which there is and may never again be a predominate form of art. I think it’s very true, after learning about the rise of the photo as art and the decline in painting for portraits and historical events. Honestly, I know next to nothing about contemporary art, and was hoping to learn that from this class. I have no stylistic or cultural definitions; I simply thought that it was art during a certain more modern time period. Smith’s article has definitely opened my eyes to a more broad “definition” of Contemporary art if there even is one.

-Kristi Grawe

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