Terry Smith Paragraphs

Terry Smith’s “What is Contemporary Art?” centers around the question that many ask themselves, and that is: How can Contemporary Art be defined? Smith is confronted with the issue that Contemporary Art is everywhere and it is hard to differentiate between pieces that fall into its category. While other scholars discussed in the article, such as Timms and Stallabrass, put definitions to Contemporary Art, Smith is always drawn back to the point that such a broad topic cannot be defined in such a simple manner.

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Smith article (Jackson Ellis)

In an attempt to define contemporary art’s unifying style, Terry Smith discusses the the distinction between modern and contemporary art, bringing to light the ideological differences that make contemporary art such a unique phenomena in the history of world art. Terry Smith asserts in her article that art is international, and contemporary art is a result of the social and historical forces that were important at the time of making the work. Despite the wide spread of international artists, all share the common influence of modern day society in a globalized world. Modern and contemporary art is not a unified movement of aesthetics, but rather a conglomerate of shock tactics and new mediums. After the rise and fall of movements such as minimalism and conceptualism, the modern movement would be the first to bring about an era of periodlessness, where no defining “house style” would be prevalent. Smith attributes this shift to the changing face of society that has come to usher in an era of an abundance of visual stimulation, an era that emphasizes grandiose spectacles and celebrities, resulting in an art movement that is disorganized and obsessed with the idea of advancing ones own name through mainstream popularity.

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Terry Smith (Alysa Sharp)

Throughout the Terry Smith reading she tries to answer the
question of “what is Contemporary Art?” She takes the audience
back to how Contemporary Art branched out or came to be but
figuring out where its beginnings came from is difficult to
know. As she points out the “beginning” can mean any time
before the current decade but she says that the 1950s and
1960s is where the shift to Contemporary Art occurred. Smith
writes how Contemporary Art is a “culture that matters”
meaning that it influences and is influenced by the
subcultures, local cultures, and the international cultures
that surround it; it “mobilizes nationalities” in specific and
complex ways.

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Smith Article

In simple terms, Terry Smith addresses the debate of defining contemporary art. He asserts that it is so difficult to define because it is current. Past periods of artistic production have been categorized by titles, themes, -isms; for example, Classical art, Renaissance art, Expressionism, or Modernism. Smith states “that the present cannot be grasped until it becomes, in some sense, a past” (page 253) and describes the difficulties of categorizing the wealth of contemporary art while we are still within this period. To my understanding, the most unifying idea amongst contemporary art is the idea of being in the present, our relationship with time, and how fleeting that is. Contemporary art is feared to be “periodlessness” and perhaps not categorizable like art movements of the past, but I agree with the notion that is seems premature and overwhelmingly difficult to look historically at something that isn’t history: the present.

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Smith article

What is contemporary art? It is art that is ever changing through the decades and reflects what is occurring around the artist during that time. It can be a reflection of events in society to present and past history, it is considered “always present but without a past or future.” Museums and media help to spread the awareness of artistic movements and works which is good for society because the minds of people deserve to be fed knowledge beyond what words can say. Smith mentioned that contemporary art can be the end of an era of history or the start, however it is still timeless.

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Terry Smith Paragraphs

Being in a post historical time makes it difficult to define contemporary art. Terry Smith’s article, “What is Contemporary Art,” discusses various aspects of globalization, population growth, cultural influence, and the experience of artists evolving in a post historical era. Population, industrial, and technological growth attribute to more art being produced than ever before in more diverse aspects of medium, content, and location. The widespread access to information and images via the internet, television, news & entertainment, advertising, print media, ect… define Smith’s notion of the image economy he refers to as the “iconomy.” This iconomy, as an assemblage of past and present appropriations, directly influences the contemporary artist.

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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

In Terry Smith’s, “What is Contemporary Art?” he defines contemporary art right away.  Smith explains it as the institution through which today’s art presents itself to itself and to many spectators all around the world.  Contemporary art can have many different definitions and can take on many different forms.  Terry Smith says that it is its own subculture with its own values and discourses.  Smith shows just how much contemporary art changes.

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Smith Paragraphs

What Is Contemporary Art?

Contemporary art is an art form that is immersed within a culture. Terry Smith speaks about it as if it fused together with other forms of art and culture. Contemporary art has even gone so far as to make an impact on our self image. With contemporary art’s fusion within other media such as news and advertisings it has brought the world together. Art’s globalization has brought cultures and people closer together.

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