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.

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

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.

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.

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Smith Paragraphs

“What Is Contemporary Art?” by Terry Smith, seeks to explore the different possibilities of how to explain, interpret and categorize contemporary art. Most simply, Smith states that “it 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 an important part of the social world today in many ways, from mass media to museums and architecture. It affects the society around it and is also affected by it. One of the challenges of interpretation of contemporary art that Smith talks about is the fact that it is coming from around the globe, from all different societies and viewpoints and understandings of the world. This is one contributing factor to the idea that contemporary art cannot be explained by any specific trend in style.

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Smith Paragraphs

What is contemporary art?

In Smith’s book, he points out that there are many different ways to talk about defining contemporary art. Generally all these definitions can be used to explain how art historians are trying to define art that has no canon and no historical hindsight. For this reason some scholars believe that Contemporary Art is a kind of art that lives outside of a historical context. Certainly because of mass media and greater distribution, art is no longer stuck in a particular geographical place ie; the great wall of China can now be viewed by anyone using pictures or any simple google search. So it is possible to say as Smith does that this art is no longer stuck in a particular time period for it’s understanding.

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Smith Paragraph

Contemporary Art has several different meanings and interpretations.  It takes place in areas such as fashion and design, politics, and education, while having a constant expansion in the art world.  It has been a continual question on what “Contemporary Art” would transform into.  Some questioned if it would ever become “periodlessness”.  It has transformed into a permanent “unfolding of the visual arts”.

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Smith Article

Smith’s article “What is Contemporary Art?” discussed the many definitions and possibilities of what contemporary art may be. Smith touches on the shift in ideals about art and exposure of it. Art moved from an exclusive, elitist sort of privilege to something that can be accessed and experienced by everyone throughout the world, making it contemporary art. Smith also talks about the influence of popular culture, media and economy on so called “contemporary art”.

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