How to Learn About Contemporary Art (Part 1)

This first post will cover what exactly is contemporary art and what about it makes it difficult to study. The second post will cover the resources I like - books, websites, etc. of how to make contemporary art for accessible for you. The term “contemporary art” and pretty much what it sounds like — it’s the art that is currently being made, but it’s definition has expanded and occupies a greater scope than it did even 20 years ago. It’s difficult to pinpoint a time when it officially starts - no one really says “ok, modern art starts and stops from year A to year B”, and if you think about it, there can’t possibly be a clean break from one period to the next,  though many can propose methods of how to delineate one period from next. One method would be to start at the first use of the term “post modern,” which indicates the end of the “modern art”, and side note - modern art is understandably misinterpreted as synonymous with “contemporary art”. But don’t be confused, they are separate time periods, which I can cover in another video. Anyways, going with that, we can say that contemporary art is about 1970 to now. One reason I take the time to go into this is that contemporary art is pretty difficult to keep up with. It’s always changing, just as our own standards, tastes and opinions change - so it’s definition is always expanding with that. Often called “post-movement” art, it’s implied that contemporary art has been freed from the stylistic grouping of their forefathers - each artist takes an independent route. Though, this shouldn’t be interpreted as artists working in total isolation. They all operate with some sort of research, dialogue or collaboration as a part of a network of curators, critics, academics, dealers, collectors, enthusiasts, and of course, other artists. This is a ton of content that, unless you are within that network, can be difficult to grasp, or even access. It’s kind of like when there’s an inside joke, where you don’t understand why a joke is funny unless you know the original context. And no- I’m not calling art a joke. For some, this makes art too inaccessible - it’s impossible to know about a particular piece of art, without know the “backstory” In “Art Bollocks,”  Brian Ashbee writes “…if post-modern works of art, typically based on appropriation, require a sustaining network of theoretical discourse to make them accessible, then the question arises of who is to provide that theoretical discourse? Is it to be furnished by the curator, the critic or the artist?” Now, saying this, I don’t want to give the impression that you need to be an expert or art historian to understand or appreciate contemporary art, but I do think there’s a certain threshold of knowledge that makes contemporary art much more engaging for the viewer. So In my next video, I will share with you guys what I like to do to keep up and educate myself on contemporary art. If you are interested, go ahead and take a look! Thanks so much for watching!


Thanks for supporting Little Art Talks! =)


Thanks for supporting Little Art Talks! =)
Check us out on Twitter Twitter, Pinterest Pinterest, Instragram Instragram, Tumblr Tumblr, and Facebook Facebook, Also visit karinyuen.com! Also, don't forget to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!