Terry Smith Response – Anna Cook

Terry Smith’s definition of contemporary art is often contradictive. He goes into many definitions of what contemporary art is and what it means, much of what he says also relates to modernism, postmodernism, avant-garde and ect. He throws out many terms to emphasis different roles of contemporary art, many opposing factors. One of the most essential elements is the issue of time within contemporary art, considering the artist’s perspective on existing within modernity, traditionalism and yet “outside” of history itself. Arguably all of these elements exist together.

Furthermore, Smith mentions frequently that contemporary artists are “recycling” the past, using images similar to Andy Warhol’s pieces that are dedicated to iconic faces and neon colors. Going further into this matter, Smith mentions the plight of the contemporary artist, which lies in the capitalism within art. While some artists challenge the concept of “image economy” others embrace it and use this to gain massive profits. Then the question of contemporary art is partly based on the worth of art as a purchase or as a piece. Smith also mentions the importance of globalization in art, art explored in an international level of substance.

I personally don’t have much of a clue of what I would expect of contemporary art. I have often found it pretentious and obnoxious, but still valuable and intriguing. Perhaps I expect it to be aesthetically pleasing in a different way than traditional arts, while still grasping the concepts of traditionalism in art. I expect it to contain meaning, something in depth and bold. I often feel that contemporary artists have access to freedoms that traditional artists did not, as in they are able to explore new mediums and meanings within their art. Perhaps what I expect most from contemporary art is the synthesis of technology and art used to create masterpieces. Perhaps the most intriguing pieces of art for me are those, which embrace our technological future and twist it into something completely new and valuable


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