Terry Smith (Alysa Sharp)

Throughout the Terry Smith reading she tries to answer the
question of “what is Contemporary Art?” She takes the audience
back to how Contemporary Art branched out or came to be but
figuring out where its beginnings came from is difficult to
know. As she points out the “beginning” can mean any time
before the current decade but she says that the 1950s and
1960s is where the shift to Contemporary Art occurred. Smith
writes how Contemporary Art is a “culture that matters”
meaning that it influences and is influenced by the
subcultures, local cultures, and the international cultures
that surround it; it “mobilizes nationalities” in specific and
complex ways.

As well Terry helps create an understanding of how new
mediums, such as photography, video, etc, and other “old
mediums” combined help to create the marker of international
contemporary art. However before this it seemed that there was
a standstill as it were between fear and anticipation that
Contemporary Art might “always live in the aftermath” that it
might be “our history to be suspended in an incessant
shifting.” To many it seemed like Contemporary Art could never
quite be fully explained as to what it was and how it fit
within the frame. Smith however, illustrates how Contemporary
Art is plugged into the image economy through the news,
entertainment, advertising, television, print media, fashion,
commodity design, and even urban architecture. In short Terry
Smith informs us that Contemporary Art is used, designed, and
created from the culture that is around and influenced by
others as well to tell a story in some ways of the events that
are occurring or to illustrate what is simply happening.
For me what I expect from Contemporary Art is to have
to think to find in some way a “definition” or explanation for
what I am looking at. I expect to be challenged and questioned
on what I know is going on around me; from my own town, state,
country, to around the rest of the world. Contemporary Art
should be something that is unique and expresses a point of
view from the artist, that view though could be broad and
generic or it can be subtle and hard to find within the art
work. Or it could have no meaning at all just a conglomeration
of other people’s thoughts and opinions. What I expect from
Contemporary Art is uncertainty.

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