How to Learn about Contemporary Art (Part 2)

Hi guys, so in my last video I discussed what makes contemporary art a bit difficult to appreciate for those not as involved in the art world. This video will be dedicated to sharing my personal recommendations of how to get started in exposing yourself to this material. Of course, not everything will be practical or interesting for each of you, but my hope is that you can find one or two things that fit your own interests and lifestyle. The best and most enjoyable, in my opinion, is to see the work in person. See in you have any museums or galleries around where you live. Or if it is possible for you to travel to a nearby city, if you live in a town that doesn’t have a lively art scene. Of course this is not practical for everyone, but there’s really no substitute to seeing art in person. If you don’t have a museum or gallery near you, you can try looking at their websites, seeing their archives, and articles on exhibitions. Starting out, I find that it’s much easier to just pick out some artworks that really resonate with you, and learning about them first. You can google image their other work, see how their work has progressed over time, read any artist biography, press releases, and so on. While the majority of google images really don’t do the artworks justice with image quality, there’s a few sites that are really dedicated to getting super hi-res images that you can even zoom in and see all the nity-gritty details. I’m talking about artsy (Artsy.net) and google’s art project. They pretty much the runner up to seeing the real thing, but you are limited to whatever institutions that they have teamed up with, so you’re not going to find every since work of art there. What’s great about Artsy is that they’re describing themselves as the “pandora” or art - which means they always have related art pieces or artists that you might find interesting while browsing an artist you like. This can be a really enjoyable way to expand your repertoire of artists. There’s a ton of websites and blogs that cover contemporary art, and two that I really like scrolling though are Colossal, which is thisiscolossal.com and contemporaryartdaily (contemporaryartdaily.com). I really recommend Colossal for someone who’s just getting started because its creator editor Christopher Jobson does a great job of curating visually stunning images and you’ll find a ton of fascinating things on it. Contemporary Art Daily is basically a website where people can submit photographs of current exhibitions, so you can get an idea of what’s going on in the art world on a global scale. Not everyone can go to Milan or New York for a specific show, and this allows us to get a glimpse of them though photographs and press releases. Of course, everything I mentioned so far pretty much all have a facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc. So if you’re someone who’s already really into Twitter, following these groups or institutions can be an easy way for you to keep updated on their articles and posts. The last topic I want to touch on is books. I really love art books, but I understand that it’s not as appealing as going on a website and just looking at really cool images. But the great thing is that they can provide a much broader context of which contemporary art fall within, and a much more nuanced explanation of everything you’d possibly want to know. Art Since 1900: 1900 to 1944 (Second Edition) (Vol. 1) is the book I used in school. What’s great about this is that it covers a really wide range of time. The two volumes cover 1900 to 2003. The four authors, provide different readings of work, which is great because it don’t tell you that there’s one right or wrong way to interpret the work, and instead proposes possible readings and how they came to that conclusion. Not all books on art will be textbooks, if those aren’t your thing. A fun one I recently bought is  What Are You Looking At?: The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art By Will Gompertz, who is a former board director of the Tate Gallery. He provide a great insight on to the character of the artists, and has a humorous narrative to it. And other book I have here is “How to Read Contemporary Art ” Michael Wilson, which profiles individual artists, rather than having a narrative like in Gompertz’s book. They provide a bit of biography, explains specific works, and the topics they deal with. So that’s a great option for those who are looking to learn about specific artists who are large players in contemporary art. I hope this gives you some ideas on where to start! Let me know if there’s any websites or book that you really like, I would love to know. Thanks so much for watching!


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