Smith Paragraph

Terri Smith’s writing “What is Contemporary Art?” prods deep into the different perspectives concerning what the recent category of art is and will become. The first perspective explained is that the art form is classified as being art historical, with a return and embracement of styles of the past. This also ties in with the post historical idea, insisting that the past, specifically Modernism, is the ultimate guide to the work of Contemporary artists. Periodlessness is introduced, being both extremely troubling to some and a relief to others. This thought consists of an end to any artistic period, instead resulting in the end of any original art to be reflected on in the future. Smith, as well as others introduced in the writing, is concerned that artists of today are driven merely on attention and self-promotion than leaving a mark on art history, and could perhaps result in such an ending. Peter Timms explains a “trickster effect,” one which involves artists acting as elitists that look down on those who question the motives or validity of their art.

The term “high art elite” is introduced, described as a distinct relation to the mass media while in turn being torn between loyalties to said mass media and the world of buyers and dealers, which can be quite problematic. However, such opinions of Contemporary artists cannot be blanketed to the entire style, since successes should be taken into consideration.The question of interpretation is discussed, specifically that the qualities of Contemporary Art are being taken to a whole new degree. For instance, there are more artists, more diversity amongst material, a larger amount spread throughout the world instead of concentrations, and an increase in younger artists stepping forward. Both pluralist and relativist views are discussed, rising the question of whether it is even possible for the present to be classified until it is actually in the past. Smith believes, as a response to the hypothesis stated, that conditions of Contemporary Art fall into three broad currents. The first is aesthetic of globalization, the second being process of decolonization, and the third being a product of the first and second combined.

While taking this Contemporary Art course, I expect to be introduced to new ways of thinking about everyday objects and forms of art. As was discussed in the Terri Smith reading, it is interesting to think of the present as it will be looked to in the future, and fully appreciate the lessons taught by artists of the current time. I also expect to look at contemporary architecture in a new and more critical way, since I am also majoring in architecture and plan to pursue it in the future as well. I believe it is incredibly important to focus not only on the history of art, but on the present in order to move forward. This notion can be applied to every aspect of my life, therefore I am very excited to learn about the art taking place today.

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