Smith Article

Ms. Smith spends the majority of her article discussing the definitions of contemporary art as well as a number of ideas about why it has proven so hard to define. Some critics, observers, and even artists themselves feel that we have reached a time when periodization has been rendered arbitrary, if not impossible. This is a far cry from the past wherein the history of art was organized into tidy categories (impressionism, post-impressionism, neo-classicism, etc.). This is the result of a number of causes, most importantly an enormous amount of variety within contemporary art in style, medium, and objective, moreso than any other time period in the history of art. Then there are the critics who find contemporary art as a whole so baffling and/or trivial they believe it doesn’t even deserve a place next to the more refined art of the past. All of this makes for a jumbled collection of artists and ideas strung together merely by their contemporaneity.

In contrast to this idea, when Smith discusses her own opinion, she points to trends that she has seen emerge in the contemporary art scene including “Remodernism” and “Spectacularism”. These currents, she insists will continue to grow, change and interact with eachother, eventually giving way to more trends and thus the history of art will continue.

While contemporary art may be able to be classified (either as a movement in and of itself or as a collection of different currents) I agree with Smith that it must be treated differently from it’s predecessors because it is inherently different. As a whole it draws more on history and is created on a greater scale than art ever has been before, not to mention the implications of technological innovation and an increasingly homogenous world. That being said, what I expect from contemporary art is art that takes heed of these factors, which pays homage to the past while still maintaining a fresh perspective.

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