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Terri Smith’s writing “What is Contemporary Art?” prods deep into the different perspectives concerning what the recent category of art is and will become. The first perspective explained is that the art form is classified as being art historical, with a return and embracement of styles of the past. This also ties in with the post historical idea, insisting that the past, specifically Modernism, is the ultimate guide to the work of Contemporary artists. Periodlessness is introduced, being both extremely troubling to some and a relief to others. This thought consists of an end to any artistic period, instead resulting in the end of any original art to be reflected on in the future. Smith, as well as others introduced in the writing, is concerned that artists of today are driven merely on attention and self-promotion than leaving a mark on art history, and could perhaps result in such an ending. Peter Timms explains a “trickster effect,” one which involves artists acting as elitists that look down on those who question the motives or validity of their art.

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Terry Smith’s dense yet revealing article about contemporary art focused on “Contemporary Art” (with a capital C and A) since the 1980’s. Smith points out that the term contemporary art wasn’t really used until the 1990’s. Also Smith points out how the “institutional network” of contemporary art is a global one. Really the label of contemporary isn’t really used to describe art made here and now, but art that could be aged; early in the article he states that contemporary art is “out of time” rather than with time (which is the real definition of art). One of the most interesting things about the article is when Smith describes the Trickster Effect that occurs in contemporary art institutions, and how contemporary art can seem to have a genuine message, but really one that falls within institutions only concerned with making money and gaining a reputation.

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