Sarah Tye Terry Smith



Terry Smith begins his essay with a critique of the institution of art. He argues that museums and auction houses have adjusting what they exhibit to the likes of the demographic. Really, they are reshaping what it is to be valuable art based increasingly on what people want to see, and often times the museum design outshines the art itself. The standards for art are constantly being altered, and that is an important component in the reception of contemporary art. These changing standards of art are in a way in a decline, as there is not as much value placed on the history or knowledge of the history of art. Nevertheless, art continues to be a prominent world relevant to many other aspects of society.

He sees postmodernism as a transition between modern art and contemporary art, and thereby excludes art prior to 1980 from being classified as contemporary art. He then goes on to say contemporary art seems to be experiencing a period unlike any other of the past. The art world is no longer focused on founding new movements or creating new –isms. We have entered a period where instead is devoted to a range of styles and trends that are fed to the public through an increasing number of sources.

Terry Smith: What is Contemporary Art? by Alysia Davis

Terry Smith Article

“What is Contemporary Art?” In Terry Smith’s book, What Is Contemporary Art, the answer to this question is complex and continually evolving. Contemporary Art involves a relationship between history and the present. Continue reading

Heather Nelson-Terry Smith Paragraph

What Is Contemporary Art?

This article goes over this question in detail and describes the different meanings of contemporary art and how although there is a structured definition it is also changing over time. Smith writes that contemporary art is a huge part of our culture and all societies as it has captured the eyes of people all over the world. It has a permanent place in our society and although it is constantly changing and developing, it remains significant to our world, intellectually and economically. Also, contemporary art is not just about physical art. It is a major industry that is connected to other major culture industries such as fashion, design, mass culture, travel, etc. It is an industry that helps these other industries remain economically stable. The importance and interest in contemporary art can be seen through the amount of art magazines, art institutions, art courses in school, and museums there are all over the world. Therefore the definition of contemporary art can also be seen as art in our everyday life; art that is changing as we change as a society.

Smith also notes that although art practice involves certain standards and structure, it does not always involve knowledge of art history. Around the 1980s contemporary art was seen as being focused on painting or a return to painting. However, recently it has been seen through large scale works, photography, video, and digital projections. All of these changes makes people see contemporary art as period-less and is in the moment rather than completely based on history or past ideals of art history. Smith also discusses how standards for contemporary art have changes and decreased in order to cater to what audiences want to see. Museums need to make sure that people are going to be interested in their exhibits so they need to focus on understanding what people like. This leads artists to get more creative with there work which leads contemporary art to be harder to interpret.

Although I am not an art major I have very excited about Contemporary Art. Last semester I took a course on the postmodern and found all of th art work fascinating and am excited to further my art knowledge. I expect to learn about how contemporary art has progressed and to see art pieces that have changed the way people think about it. I am also excited to go to the museums and get more involved in the culture of our city.

Smith Paragraph- Annelysse Eggold

The essence of Terry Smith’s elucidation of the evolving forms of art today is contemporaneity: the historical presence in visual culture which attempts to explain how the complexities of being in time finds and expresses itself through visual form. Continue reading

Smith Paragraph Madison Dye

Terry Smith’s article “What is Contemporary Art” attempts to define and categorize contemporary art. This is a very difficult task because contemporary art is such a broad and widely debated genre. Smith starts out by saying that many people categorize Contemporary Art as beginning in the 1980’s and including everything from then to the present. He then goes more in depth about the possible complications with such a broad definition and timeline. Smith talks about the major institutions of the art world who have the power to move art in any direction they choose. These institutions include artists, scholars, the public who is viewing the art, action houses, museums, and patrons just to name a few. The ideas, opinions, and tastes of all of these institutions are what categorize art and ultimately move it in the direction of their choosing. One major point that Smith makes is that Contemporary Art does not have a strict set of stylistic guidelines that can categorize it as does almost every other style in the history of art. Smith says that Contemporary Art never looks the same, and some of it doesn’t even look like art at all. Continue reading

contemporary art terry smith: lucy eyears

Lucy Eyears


What is contemporary Art­?

Socius: a scene

`Contemporary Art is a type of culture that is a key link between mass cultures, localism, and onto globalism. It varies among many of these different categories, which is the appeal to many. In the article written by Terry Smith, he explains the connection with the world becoming globalized and how contemporary art was a big part of that. It has been looked at for many years as a movement that is a description of the arts as a significant whole. It moves away from the look of modern art and becomes more versatile. It reflects upon the historical aspect of art and submerges from the modern era and into a more significant whole era of art, which reflects many cultures.

The art that is presented in Contemporary Art is the real image of how things worked, what was said, and how it was displayed to the world. It creates its own narrative and is considered to be very real. This appealed to many because it was truthful, there was no confusion it was right to the point and displayed the culture, institution etc. In the piece. Terry Smith’s refers to some work as being recycled through different areas such as romanticism, expressionism that allows the art to become more whole.

I agree with a lot of what was said in Terry Smith’s article. I believe that contemporary art is a gateway era where art changed in many ways, which allowed our world to be globalized. What I expect from contemporary art is the artwork from different cultures displaying the real image of what was going on during that time. I expect to see all different types of artwork and all reflecting different parts of the world. I would like to see artwork from all over the world and see how it compares and link it to the idea of globalization. Contemporary Art is a reflection of the history of the world, which allows viewers to understand the reality of that time and what was going on and how people then were feeling.



Robby Gomez on Smith’s Article

After having read Smith’s article on contemporary art, I have a new understanding of what modern art is, and where it could possibly be going in the future.  Smith defines contemporary art as “a network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world.”  Contemporary art is not just a visual presence, but an emerging and evolving subculture that has been growing since the 50’s.  It is a force that is in the very fabric of society hitting all aspects of life and not just in the galleries.  An important aspect to note about contemporary art is that it is not dominated by one type of style.  Smith later in her writings says that contemporary art will not be dominated by just one style.  Any styles that do last for some time will be anachronisms.

One key point that Smith makes is that even though the word contemporary did not come into discourse until the 90’s, artists some 40 years before had already started to experiment with the contemporaneity of their styles.  The descriptions of what kind of art matters today was a really interesting section of the read.  German critic Diedrich Diedericthehson says “A reexamination of the basic ideas of modernism in the light of the very contemporary cognizance that every detail of presentation and production is already contaminated by specific histories.”  What I got out of that quote is that contemporary art today has to have two types of moods; one mood which can accurately reflect the past styles that will be recognizable, and the other mood which will have to capture the essence of  the now without looking for the past.

What do I expect from contemporary art?  That is a most enticing question.  I expect a lot of pieces that I will be looking at in the near future to be difficult for me to comprehend, but the beauty of art is every viewer has their own interpretation.  I do not know how the art critics feel about computer imaging, but I think if used correctly, that focus could have an impact in the contemporary art world, but to say it is an expectation would be a strong statement.  I expect some artists will ascertain a simplistic style while other artists will be more vivid and complex.  Ultimately, I expect contemporary art to keep evolving new ways and ideas to convey messages through a multitude of mediums that will speak to its audiences.


I joined the class two days ago and am having trouble exactly finding out what I need to write about for the Smith article.  From reading other answers, is it Smith’s definition of contemporary art and then my own definition? Any response to this would be greatly appreciated!!!

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. Continue reading

Smith Reading

I am not with it and thought I actually published this earlier…

Smith “What is Contemporary Art?”

Smith asks the question, “what are the implications of subjecting contemporary art to historical analysis?”  It is just within the last decade that art historians have begun to even consider Contemporary Art for canonical works.  Many art historians even considered Contemporary Art to be “post-historical.”  Smith theorizes that it is hard to interpret Contemporary Art because artists are younger and exhibiting work much quicker than in the past.  Also, much of Contemporary Art relies on being a “spectacle” and so taking it out of “the scene” can take away meaning. Continue reading


I found my Smith post in my drafts, and I am not sure if it was actually posted to the blog. Here are my paragraphs just incase it wasn’t posted..

Smith started by posing many questions to the reader, and attempting to pry and pick at some answers. Contemporary art can be looked at starting from the 1980’s but the real period starts in the 1990’s. Smith also argues that one could look at art from earlier and say that it is contemporary. In the 1990’s there were many museums dedicated to contemporary art, 90 or so. Contemporary art has become its own subculture. It is very trend setting, and a lot of the artists think of them selves as above pop culture, or other norms. Smith talks about the transition from modern to postmodern and then to contemporary. Postmodern was the balancing point between the two periods. Contemporary art is the first real period to come after postmodern. A lot of the art made int the 70’s or 80’s does not fit into a period. Smith talks about how Contemporary Art is “beyond history” or “after the end of history.” It is a surrendering of art to the present times. Continue reading

Terry Smith Post

In this article, Terry Smith describes contemporary art, where it came from and where it’s going. It is obviously very difficult to define, but multiple attempts were evident. Smith states that contemporary art is a piece of art the aims to challenge or question the definition of art itself, which can come in many forms. Since contemporary art has such a wide variety of appearances and effects, there are no specific factors or traits that characterize it. The word “contemporary” can be synonymous  with the word periodlessness. The contemporary movement didn’t start at one moment or from one source, so it hasn’t exactly evolved or dissolved, only grown.

Another definition that the article stated was contemporary art as the product of the exchange, combination, reaction, etc. of artistic ideas. Therefore, a piece that blends styles or genres or nationalities could certainly be considered contemporary art. The definition of contemporary art has expanded so far that some think it will encompass all artistic styles of the future. Also, there have been so many past influences to this style that it is now basically any piece of non-traditional art.

I believe that contemporary art is an ongoing competition for originality. Since the ideas of the past are constantly piling on top of each other, the gaps between them are constantly shrinking. It has led people to experiment with not only different styles or mediums, but different presentations, contexts, and levels of social acceptability. However, I do think that arguing over the definition of a style so enormously broad is somewhat futile. Does it really affect the meaning of the piece by how it is catagorized? Will someone like or dislike a piece more if it’s “contemporary” or not?

tmstrong / Smith Post

Simply complex; there are no boundaries that define what Contemporary Art is and Terry Smith explains and substantiates this in, “What is Contemporary Art.”  Unlimited and periodless may, perhaps, be the only way to explain Contemporary Art.   Continue reading

Smith Reading

“What is Contemporary Art,” by Terry Smith is an article that addresses the question of what is the true definition of “contemporary” “art”. Smith begins by explaining that contemporary art is not a particular movement within a specific art period. But rather an,”institutionalized network” where art is presented globally and is constantly changing. Contemporary art is defined by what is current, new and fresh.  Although contemporary art is a “new” and up and coming idea of art, it does not have a common theme, and thus may seem “periodlessness.” Contemporary art has a wide range of mediums, styles, concepts, and artistic approaches.  Consequently it makes it very difficult to categorize what this movement is even about.  Also to consider about contemporary art, is the fact it is happening globally.  Therefore, there is no local but a world wide influence within the arts.  Giving everyone an opportunity to create something original.

I feel that most artists wish to create art that is different from what we have previously seen in history.  And because of this anything an artist creates is considered to be contemporary. In my option, I believe that contemporary art is something that will never be given a particular theme and ot will never leave.  I think that with our world continuing to change at such a fast pace, we will never have a  static  art movement. Art, in my option has become a competition for what is new or what has not been thought about.

Andy Burns on Terry Smith

Terry Smith initiates his analysis of Contemporary Art through an examination of its cultural implications.  He suggests that Contemporary Art is first and foremost a network of communication amongst local movements and organizations.  This is certainly an agreeable statement.  Local Contemporary Art scenes are always changing and morphing as they consistently reflect the local trends in culture, and society.  Smith follows this initial analysis with a suggestion that Contemporary Art is a posthistorical installment, and will always lack a unifying theme or trend that categorizes major historical art periods.  This is a suggestion that I am wary to accept.  The presence of an era, I believe, would go unnoticed until after it has occurred.  Such an idea can be seen throughout history.  It would be naïve to say that the 1980s brought about the end of art eras.

Continue reading

Response to Smith (Goodman)

Smith opens chapter thirteen of his book asking the question “What is Contemporary Art?” and promptly provides for us “Contemporary Art is the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world”. This allows to frame contemporary art in time and place. What we have is post historic timeless compositions, comparable only to themselves, and unclassifiable. Continue reading

Joe Wilks Terry Smith article

Terry Smith’s article “What is Contemporary Art?” provides a great dialogue about the state of art regarding the last thirty years. He explains from different perspectives how contemporary practices and works are perceived, allowing a well-rounded view to take from. Smith starts with an overall vision of the artists themselves as a global subculture with an “institutionalized network” to stay in the stream of a globalized community. He points out that they are important to themselves, to their local cultures, and to the international “high culture”, recycling old artistic practices in their own way, and catering to uneducated high-capitalist collectors. Utilizing those historical practices in a world saturated which imagery, these artists create art that both aims at selling while also mocking the system in which they sell. They do not fit into any movement and are as diverse in use of medium, which leads to the perception from the curators and critics. Continue reading

Bryce Johnson on Terry Smith article

Terry Smith starts his article off my asking what is contemporary art. He gives a brief history of art movements that happened before the contemporary art movement, movements that contemporary art is a response to.  Smith argues the idea that contemporary art is not really am art movement or an “ism.” but rather an ongoing state of being for present day artists. The basic definition of the word is the “contemporary” he aslo agues states the obvious that contemporary art is art of the present and future.

Continue reading

Smith Article response by Lauren Anderson

Terry Smith’s article asks and attempts to answer the question, “What is Contemporary Art?,” and does this through several different methods.   Continue reading

Terry Smith, by Megan Keith

Terry Smith’s What is Contemporary Art begins with his defining it as “the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world.” He goes on to call it “a trendsetting force”, claiming it to have the power to “mobilize nationalities”. I found it interesting that his idea of Contemporary Art represented a globalized component, as well as a local one, meaning a piece was to speak to a worldwide audience, while at the same time reaching out to a localized one as well.

But his critique of the idea of Contemporary Art involves the notion that it “substitutes passive acceptance for interrogation”, an idea which I felt meant that the audience of Contemporary Art has begun to overlook the necessity of Continue reading

Katie Hitch Smith Paragraph

The article What is Contemporary Art by Terry Smith begins by explaining that contemporary art “is the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world.” He then goes on to say that unlike historical art (which has more of an elitist crowd), contemporary art is much more available today then it was in the 1970’s. Contemporary art is blossoming in both new and old economies, which is supported by the availability of technology . A lot of this has to do with the fact that the audience is larger and more and more people are purchasing contemporary art. During the early 2000’s many projects to build contemporary art museums around the world went on hold, and didn’t really commence until quite recently. Some of the most important aspects that can be gained from reading Smith’s article is that contemporary art 1) must be filled with a detailed knowledge of art history, 2) is globalizing,  3) and a category of its own (distinct from Modern/postmodern art).

Continue reading


Terry Smith Paragraphs

Defining Contemporary Art and understanding it are two different aspects of art history.  Defining Contemporary Art is simple and Smith defines it for his reader in the second paragraph. Continue reading

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.

Ryan Baker, Smith Paragraph

When Terry Smith talks about “What is Contemporary Art,” he is expressing how art today is relating and reaching out to cultures all over the world.  Contemporary art is forming to our culture and the popular techniques that we exhibit.  It allows artists to express themselves in there own way in our culture.  Our culture plays into the fact of what contemporary art really is.  Smith talks about how contemporary art is brought about through deep expression and knowledge of art history.  It isn’t just a random act of “art,” but is a meditated process taking in past forms of art.  It allows the artist to express themselves at a very unique level.

Contemporary art is made to aesthetically challenge and also please the viewer.  He talks about how contemporary art follows the line of the present and what is happening in our culture and world.  The present is always diminishing fast so contemporary art hangs onto the present as long as it can while new ideas and art comes in.  Its is the ongoing interpretation of the present and the artist is responsible for relying on the present to produce the artwork.

I really enjoyed the what smith had to say, but i still find it hard to grasp completely the meaning of contemporary art.  I do understand it but to do that i really had to think about the differences between contemporary art and “modern art.”  He was very thorough in explaining the differences, and i found that the way he wrote about contemporary art gave me a new outlook about art in general.  He talked about the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, which i have actually been to and witnessed, and i could understand when he talked about its enormous and insane curves relating to contemporary art.  His explanation and thoughts on contemporary art and very well thought and deep, which represent the art itself.

Smith Paragraph

Terry Smith discusses the culture of contemporary art and its influence on and in the art world. He continues on about how the term “contemporary art” is integrated into society. He believes that contemporary art is globalized, creating the ability to extend across other nationalities and cultural traditions. He explores how contemporary art has created a standard of what art should be, and how words can be so pervasive and moving. Continue reading


Terry Smith defines contemporary art as an institution–one that is self-interested, self-motivated and self-perpetuating.  Though it is seemingly all dynamic, Smith argues that it is made up of both definitive structures of stasis and similarly definitive structures of change, so change and not-change are specific to compartmentalized sections of a larger whole that is contemporary art.  However, Smith notes that contemporary art itself can not be compartmentalized in the way that former “movements” and “isms” have been.  In somewhat of a Nietzsche-esque tone, Smith defines contemporary art as the death of said categorization.  She writes, “‘Contemporary,’ therefore, could well come to mean periodlessness, being perpetually out of time, or at least not subject to historical unfolding.”  In such, Smith claims that contemporary art appears to defy its own title, in that our judgment of it, our critique of it, and our analysis of it, creates a paradox.  Now, we can view contemporary art retrospectively (or seemingly so), despite its being constantly created and redefined.


To quote Yona Friedman, “order is a kind of disorder disguised and disorder is a kind of order disguised.”  This notion certainly applies to Smith’s argument that, despite the seeming order of past periodization, to limit the current movements of art would be an unpresidented disservice to the nature of the art culture itself.  What Smith calls a “socius,” refers to the “scene” in which the art culture works, buys, and judges art.  This is all contained within the larger locus of Contemporary Art as we understand it, or rather fail to understand it, today.

Given this subjectivity, which is arguably a result of its fluidity of definition, Contemporary Art has forever been full of contradictions.  It is both accessible and not accessible, both for the every-man and for the intellectual elite.  Despite this seeming conflict, however, I would argue that these qualities of Contemporary Art is as open to movement in and out of the socius as it needs to be.  Its semi-permeable barrier allows for the easy movement of individuals in and out of the locus of information.  In such a way, once an individual enters this locus, he or she has the open ability of interpretation, creation, appreciation, or other actions without the threat of either complete exclusion or complete inclusion, which are both equally threatening.  Art critics such as Terry Smith will continue to worry and argue over the future and current definitions of this art period, but I personally am happy to enjoy the fluidity and expansion that I see everyday as a result of Contemporary Art’s continuing infusion into everyday life.

Terry Smith “what is contemporary art?”

Contemporary art is from about 1980’s to the present and is hard to categorize. Contemporary art is constantly changing with no apparent focus unlike the postmodern era or for that matter, other eras. Continue reading

Natalie Prescott- “What is Contemporary Art” by Terry Smith

Terry Smith answers the question “What is Contemporary Art?”  He goes in  multiple directions explaining what Contemporary Art is.  Smith explains “Contemporary Art is the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world. It is an intense, expansionist, proliferating global subculture, with it’s own values and discourse; communicative networks; heroes, heroines, and renegades; professional organizations; defining events;  meetings and monuments; markets and museums— in sum, distinctive structures of stasis and change.” . It is a culture that matters and to itself a subculture. Continue reading

What is Contemporary Art- Response by (Franklin) Perry Martin

Smith is mainly addressing the confusion surrounding issues of artistic definition.  He titles his installation “What is Contemporary Art,” and subsequently highlights the dilemma currently disallowing the definition of today’s artistic period.  Given that the world as we know it has finished its geographical expansion, the questions now become: How does one categorize the numerous examples of “contemporary” art extending from a level of cultural influence down to one of individual expression?  Merely considering the vast pool of artistic works that any given enthusiast, curator, collector, etc. has the opportunity to witness, has in fact, the ability to define the current period of art been lost completely?  Or as with artistic periods of the past- Modernism, Post-modernism, etc., is the defining factor one that can only be identified once the ‘period’ has necessarily ended?  Also, Smith considers the implications of classifying the history of contemporary art, and explains that this task is also relatively unachievable given that there is no distinct pathway that leads to the proliferation of “contemporary art” as a cultural entity. Continue reading

Lauren Roberts on Smith reading

Terry Smith’s chapter, What is Contemporary Art?, discusses a lot of important issues on the topic. He does so by breaking the chapter into 8 parts. This creates a greater organization of the material and allows for an easier read. The first header is simply titled, Asking the Question. It is a simple question to ask, but the answer is a lot more complicated. Continue reading

assignment 1

The big question, “what is contemporary art?” is asking, and answering a lot of curious ideas and hopes about this current art form in the world. Artists are finding a new form to change and shift the way people view visual arts today, while making a kind of indent in history to promise it won’t go away. Not only are individuals single handedly making these changes, whole galleries and museums are starting to follow their lead in holding some of the great contemporary art in the world. According to Smith, it is becoming an important “agenda” and we watch it become true as the whole world follows in the changes that are forming through new forms of visual art. Smith discussed “postmodern” art and the dance that has occurred between both modern art and contemporary art forming new kinds of art, such as; instillations, large scale photography, video and digital projection. Although very different, this kind of art work has taken on a very important role in telling stories about our world, whether it be past, present or future. This art if taking on the roll of representing different economical interests, political and world issues in the form of art; allowing it to be easier to express, and for a lot of individuals to view.

Continue reading

Smith Paper

Terry Smith starts off the chapter by trying to define what contemporary art is. He does this by providing a system in which contemporary art exists, contemporary art existing as a response to the world around the artists; but being more broadly defined as the art that exists within the institution of art. Smith states on pg. 245 that contemporary means “not, ‘to be with time’ but ‘to be out of time'” meaning contemporary art Continue reading

What Is Contemporary Art? (Melissa Nunes)

Terry Smith first starts off the article giving his definition of contemporary art.  He says that it is the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world.  He goes on to say that contemporary art is made up of distinctive structures of status and change.  It is closely connected with high cultural industries like fashion, design, tourism, and specific sectors of reform.  Some people think that it means “beyond history” or “after the end of history”.

Continue reading

Terry Smith Response

Terry Smith’s article asks the question “What is Contemporary Art?” in terms of defining characteristics and styles, and even at times questions if there is such a thing as Contemporary Art on its own, or if there are just extensions of Modern Art waiting to be defined by art historians in years to come.  Continue reading

Response To Smith // Thoughts on Contemporary Art // Jack Ricci

In his piece “What is Contemporary Art?” Smith defines “Contemporary Art” as an institutionalized network through which current art presents itself to itself and to those interested in it. Essentially, the contemporary art world is a self-referential system in which artistic expression is constantly evolving and building on itself. Contemporary Art, unlike art from other movements in history, is linked to more capitalistic pursuits, such as fashion and media. Contemporary Art both influences, and is influenced by such money-making ventures, in what is definable as a closed-loop system of influence and expression. Furthermore, the contemporary art world owes it own existence to the emergence of post-modern philosophy in art between the 1970s and 80s. The result of existing in a post modern world is the elimination of what we would call “style”. It is true that there still are certain styles, or schools of artistic expression, but these all exist in what we know as “Contemporary Art”.

Continue reading

What Is Contemporary Art? – Ashley Ludkowski

“What Is Contemporary Art?” is not only the title of this reading section, but also the question proposed in the first paragraph. Terry Smith begins this exploration of Contemporary Art, capitalizing both words, by relating it to the global networks of today. Smith states, “It is an intense, expansionist, proliferating global subculture, with its own values and discourse; communicative networks; heroes, heroines, and renegades; professional organizations; defining events; meetings and monuments; markets and museums- in sum, distinctive structures of stasis and change.”  To Smith, Contemporary Art goes beyond the visual arts. Not only does it establish the currently evolving art, but it incorporates the national economy, fashion and design industries, tourism, education, media, and even politics. It is a culture that affects many aspects of this coexistent lifestyle we now live in.

Continue reading

Terry Smith Reading (Madison Goodman)

Terry Smith’s article on Contemporary art gives a modern, yet descriptive explanation for what contemporary art really is. Smith explains it as a culture of it’s own, or a society of it’s own. Although it is many art forms and structures are brought together into one subculture, the main subject at hand is something that is unique than most forms of art. “A supreme work of contemporary art in itself, is celebrated as a cathedral of Contemporary Art for the globalized world, yet it is one that also serves – at official, if not local art world levels – a basque regional cultural agenda”.  This statement means that contemporary art relates to all cultures, subcultures, religions, etc. It relates to all people throughout history to present time.  Which also brings up another explanation that Smith ties in that displays contemporary art as being diverse and constantly changing.  Although the term “contemporary” means present and futuristic, the art form carries on years of history behind it. By keeping the sense of history along with it, the culture allows itself to find ways to embark on its past and form a foundation along the way. Contemporary art is something that grows on top of itself and polishes itself into something new.  Artists from around the world input their own forms of beauty,  ideas beliefs, values and tastes that come together in all forms, but as one category.

Continue reading

Smith Paragraph

Reading Smith’s article really forced me to address my own ideas on what Contemporary art is and what defines a movement?  Smith points out the issue of time, audience, collective thought and continuity between the pieces and artists.  It seems that without eyes and ears in the future there is no way to define Contemporary art.  It encompasses so many mediums and styles that creating a uniform definition would be near to impossible.  Smith points out that Contemporary art struggles with pleasing all of the audiences who have their eyes on the work.  There are the students, the curators, the critics and even political figures who all want to see the art that floats towards their agenda.

Continue reading

Smith, “What is Contemporary Art?”

According to Terry Smith’s article, “What is Contemporary Art?”, it is a challenge for many to define Contemporary Art.  At the most basic level, Smith dictates that Contemporary Art is the discourse through which art produced today is presented to itself and its designated audience.  It is a culture within itself, with its own celebrities and jargon, and importantly, its own distinct institutions.  Contemporary art is self definitive: it is whatever we say it is, and it evolves according to our own opinions.  Contemporary art institutions have become a fixture in both global and local cultures, but also economies.  It is a commodity that is closely tied with high culture tastes, and often acts as a trendsetter.

Continue reading

Smith, “What is Contemporary Art?”

In Terry Smith’s article, “What is Contemporary Art?”, the author examines the various definitions of Contemporary Art. Smith explains how contemporary art is its own subculture and it is distinct from modern art. Contemporary art, Smith explains is the art of a complete historical period, but it remains in the present lives of people today. Smith believes that artists cannot get away from the fact that we live in a visual culture. Contemporary art is defined in many different sectors internationally, including and especially the economy.

Continue reading

“What is Contemporary Art”

In the article “What is Contemporary Art” Terry Smith aims to define the ever-changing movement known as Contemporary Art. Smith explains the “posthistorical” approach to highlight the motives of Contemporary artist. This involves using “unresolved legacies” from art of the 1950s and 1960s that question societies obsession with the superficial or visceral. Smith argues that because our cultures are so fixated and stimulated by various forms of media, these legacies are even more so prevalent today. For this reason, Contemporary artist struggle to please society (with constant references to popular culture), as well as the elite of the art world.

Continue reading

Terry Smith – Tony McKendry

Terry Smith’s purpose for writing is to find the true meaning of “contemporary art”; at first he defines it as “the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences around the world”. I find this definition to be interesting, as Smith states that the art only presents itself to (what I assume to be) the contemporary art culture and those who are interested in it, while others are not so enlightened. Contemporary art truly started in the 90’s, but some would argue that it started in the 80’s, or that many pieces of art from various periods of time could be considered contemporary, this is why nailing down a definition is so difficult. The contemporary period followed the postmodern period, which followed the modern period before that.

Continue reading

What is Contemporary Art?

Bruce Kenyon

Terry smith defines Contemporary Art as the “institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world.” Through museums, galleries, art fairs, auction sales, biennials, magazines websites etc…we find a new and evolving presence of art in society that is not going to go away but will continue to change. This art is tied to the economy and influences design, fashion, tourism and also effects reform and change in politics, education and media. In the past decade museums have been springing up after a post 9/11 halt. These museums are being led by contemporary art. Contemporary Art is “saturated with a deep detailed ( but not always systematic) knowledge of art “history.” Art is aware of art histories purpose within history, and responses to history itself.

Continue reading

Smith Paragraphs

As displayed in Terry Smith’s “What is Contemporary Art?” the new style, beginning roughly in the 1950s, is almost un-definable, which allows it to be considered contemporary. Unlike former styles of art that are historical accounts of a period, contemporary art does not necessarily reflect any one decade or society from the last 60 years. Alternative mediums, styles, and content make this type of art harder to interpret but more appealing to a mass audience. This wide attraction does not discount the art or its powerful influence of the visual culture we live in, but parallels globalization’s consumer obsessed society.

Cultures and societies internationally are producing distinct art allowing for a massive movement that is inclusive rather than narrow. Broader ideas are accepted and celebrated within contemporary art, as there are no definitive style or locale.

After reading this article, it is exceptionally clear that contemporary art is what each individual makes of it. As a cross-cultural movement, I am looking forward to studying art from countries around the world and developing a further understanding of the diversity art can be.

Terry Smith’s “What is Contemporary Art?” Response

In this piece “What is Contemporary Art?” by Terry Smith, Smith provides a definition for what contemporary art is. Smith states that although contemporary art has many different definitions, it seems to define itself. Smith also states, contemporary art “is what we say it is, it is what we do, it is the art that we show, that we buy and sell, that we promote and interpret”. Contemporary art is also affected by society and society is affected by it, making it a very important part of society today. Because of this it is also able to spread world wide through many different societies and cultures throughout the world, such as tourism or even mass media. It is roughly defined as the same kind of art throughout the globe bringing artists from all over together, which also makes it almost impossible to define contemporary art as one specific style like past art movements.

Continue reading

Smith Paragraphs

Smith started by posing many questions to the reader, and attempting to pry and pick at some answers. Contemporary art can be looked at starting from the 1980′s but the real period starts in the 1990′s. Smith also argues that one could look at art from earlier and say that it is contemporary. In the 1990′s there were many museums dedicated to contemporary art, 90 or so. Contemporary art has become its own subculture. It is very trend setting, and a lot of the artists think of them selves as above pop culture, or other norms. Smith talks about the transition from modern to postmodern and then to contemporary. Postmodern was the balancing point between the two periods. Contemporary art is the first real period to come after postmodern. A lot of the art made int the 70′s or 80′s does not fit into a period. Smith talks about how Contemporary Art is “beyond history” or “after the end of history.” It is a surrendering of art to the present times.

Continue reading

camille breslin’s posting on the smith article and contemporary art

Contemporary art has multiple definitions and interpretation of the word. It makes it a little complicated and difficult to define an art form that is from a modern era. We are still currently in the sense of contemporary art and it is hard to define. According to Smith, contemporary art is something that is the artist’s and it’s a self-defined art. The article goes into discussing the multiple aspects of globalization, population growth, cultural influences, other external influences, including past artists, historical references and art history. Also technological interferences and the rapid growth of the media has created other factors in the shaping and morphing of the definition of contemporary art. It’s created a whole new spectrum and new out look on this particular genre of art because of it’s extremely easy and accessibility through modern technology. Smith claims that contemporary art is original. Contemporary art is a unique art style that leans towards contemporary focus and thought. It’s originality and it’s unique form binds contemporary hues giving the sense of a new form of expressionism and form of thought processing. Smith also talks about how one must be able to comprehend art history in general in order to produce works in contemporary art. An artist must understand the different cultural influences of the times and influences.

Continue reading

Smith Reading

In his book, Terry Smith is attempting to define Contemporary Art.  Although he breaks the chapter down into many subsection he always comes back to this idea of what Contemporary Art is.  On page 241 Smith defines Contemporary Art as “the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences around the world.  Smith uses that definition as a launch pad into other aspect of Contemporary Art including the definition that stuck out the most for me.  I agree with Smith’s notion that perhaps Contemporary Art cannot be defined and until we can look back at this time and interpret it in the context of another era I do not think that a solid definition can be attained.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

“What is Contemporary Art?” Response- mark lewenauer

Terry Smith writes that contemporary art is a worldwide phenomenon, closely tied to industries such as fashion and design.  Smith feels contemporary art is very important to the community itself, and the world.  Post-modernism may be synonymous with contemporary art.  Smith’s major distinction between historical and contemporary art is the fact that contemporary art is not complete yet.  Modern art is thought to be a completely ended era.  Contemporary art is still forming, and thus is everything we presently do, make, say, think.  There is no formal definition, because the period is not over and considered historical.  Smith states that minimalism and conceptualism have no real successors in historical art, and are scenes that belong to post-modern, contemporary art.

Continue reading