Georgescu-What is contemporary art?

Terry Smith’s answer to “What is contemporary art” is that, it is an “institutionalized network” through which today’s art presents itself to audiences all over the world and to itself.  It is the art that we interpret, the art that we say it is and present, the art that becomes a part of the business exchange of selling and buying. Smith focuses on the temporal aspect of contemporary art stating that it is in a state beyond history; it is in the present without past or future. Yet, historical art movements are seen within contemporary art—Smith highlights the influences of the past minimalist and modernist  artistic elements. Referring once again to history, Smith states that there seems to be more contemporary art than before (pinpointing the 1950s as the “before”). It is also more diverse than before, taking on a variety of forms and effects.

Smith is very clear on the idea of contemporary art as a very unique phenomenon. One of the ways he does this is by comparing it to modern art  and highlighting its distinct elements. Similar to modern art, contemporary art seeks to reach the masses, yet maintains an appeal to the individual art collectors. He also discusses the importance of trends in contemporary art. There are so many young up-and-coming artists each trying to break with conventions and create something innovative, yet ultimately all are confined to the world of museums.

Smith’s paper expanded on my idea that contemporary art is both extremely diverse and fluid, reflecting and changing with modern times. I hope that I will gain a more critical outlook on contemporary art that will allow me to interpret it in a more meaningful way, after taking this class.

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