Thoughts on Smith’s Article

The problem with the term Contemporary Art is in the need to categorize time periods. The paraphrase of Fredric Jameson on page 245 of the article says it well. Can there be post-contemporary art? What comes after that? From my perspective, contemporary art is the art being created in the present, which quickly becomes past, which will be labeled something (usually unclever) as a period of “thought” in the future. I understand that there needs to be a system of labeling in order to speak about broader ideas with others. It is necessary to hear whether someone is talking about Romantic Art, Abstract Expressionism, or that thing Jeff Koons is trying to do. Let the art historians in the years to come deal with the labeling. We will make art.

Trends are what constitute the contemporary art scene. The use of mass media sources, using unusual processes to create work, and having a total emphasis on concept are just a few of the ongoing efforts. Everyone wants to be the person who comes up with the new process that changes paradigms. What comes as a surprise is that most of the time, with all this time spent one-upping the past, artists still are constricted to the physical space of the museums. Anything trying to be “art” outside the established institution doesn’t usually get that much needed publicity that Smith speaks of, and (in my opinion) will probably find its way into the museum someday despite the original intention of the work.

What I expect from the course is to have a more concise understanding of what the art world and people of influence are doing in this time period of now. These people are my peers and contemporaries and as such, it is important to know what the norm is in order to follow it or revolt against it. I must admit there seems to be a scatter of ideas and processes being praised, and I can’t help but wonder if there will be anything coherent in the end. But more importantly, does that really matter anymore to me? Like anything else, I believe we will gravitate towards whatever works best for us in this flood of artwork, and shun the things we don’t care for or understand at the moment.

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