Monday, July 20

What Is Contemporary Art? How Is It Defined & What Makes It Contemporary?


Today’s Image
An Abstract Image of Mine

A few blogs ago, I told you about how some of my art (and I) had been rejected from a juried art show and about how you live with that.

The show from which it was not selected, I like that term better, is an annual event to showcase under-promoted artists in my area. It is held by a contemporary "art center" that produces the event and is also a fund raiser. The art center is neither a museum nor a gallery, although it appears to be both, so I’m not sure what the distinction is. Their website describes it as: “a non-profit alternative space for the exhibition of contemporary works in all media.”

By entering the show, you also have the option to “join” for one year for slightly more than the registration fee, which I have done for the last two years. They do a very good job of promoting their events, exhibits, and artists with regular mailings and emailings.

One of their emails was a research poll on how they were doing and what things members would like to see or see improved. In the section at the end of the multiple choice questions was an area for comments. I had decided after not being selected that my art was not “contemporary” enough, whatever that is, and so I asked them what they meant by contemporary art. Of course, I never got a reply.

That got me to wondering how contemporary art is defined. So I did some online research and found out that it’s not at all nailed down.

Wikipedia, which I quote a lot, although it’s by no means an authority since anyone can edit it, said it was art produced since World War II. Another site said it was art produced since 1970 and made the distinction between contemporary art and modern art, modern art being after World War II and before 1970. Another site said contemporary art was art produced in your lifetime; it tried, but failed, to reconcile what that meant for both a 96- and a 25-year old.

Another site got off on a lot of art history of the 20th century. It talked about DaDa, abstract, abstract expressionism, neo-expressionism, minimalism, modernism, post-modernism, op art, pop art, and on and on. Another site talked about many of the artists, such as Pollock, Rauschenberg, and Johns.

Nowhere did I find anything about the style of the art, which is how I make the distinction between contemporary and traditional art. That is, contemporary art is (generally) not realistic. It is abstract, it can be exaggerated, and it is sometimes other world-ly.

Compare that to traditional art in which you can usually identify (or identify with) the subject.

Please don’t take this (blog) to mean I don’t like contemporary art. I do. I much admire the works of Mark Rothko with those soulful slices of color he used. I like many other contemporary artists, as well, along with many traditional artists, too (like Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper).

That’s what’s so great about art and enjoying art-- it’s all about what you like.

I wonder what alternative space means...?

1 comment:

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