Terry smith what is contemporary art pdf

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terry smith what is contemporary art pdf

What Is Contemporary Art? by Terry Smith

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Published 18.09.2019

Terry Smith. The Contemporary Condition. 2016

Ordinarily I would not bother with an affliate of Critical Theory, much less a minor, cautious one, like Smith, since philosophical differences are so vast and familiar, there is little point. But since I have just spent time reviewing the state of art history as a discipline, ostensibly in defence of E. Gombrich an article now on The Gombrich Archive site as a PDF - here and since Smith at least claims to deal in art history, I take this opportunity to press several points made in the Gombrich essay concerning the folly of art history pursued as social science and the disadvantages to practising art history from too lofty a remove.
Terry Smith


In his most recent book, What is Contemporary Art? Throughout the book, his analyses of how institutions, artists, and critics have responded to the current art historical moment reveal general parameters for a broad, yet useful, definition. Smith offers critical examinations of ways in which various museums have responded to the shift from the modern to the contemporary: MoMA is a staunch model of modernism; Dia:Beacon contemporizes minimalist works; the Tate Modern successfully contextualizes modern art via a focus on the contemporary; and, with its fantastical building designed by Frank Gehry , the Guggenheim Bilbao boldly states that the architecture is the art. He characterizes the building as a ghost of postmodern past, and cites it as further evidence that MoMA seriously falls short in terms of the contemporary. Well, just ask Matthew Barney who, according to Smith, combines vital elements of high-end contemporary art, namely Remodernism and Retro-sensationalism, to create Spectacle Art or Spectacularism. Its embeddedness within the art historical tradition including nods to artists such as Duchamp , the traditional focus on masculine power, and the use of allegory to support narrative —not to mention its visual evocation of earlier styles and images—make it Retrosensational.

All rights reserved. This publication is protected by copyright, and permission should be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photo- copying, recording, or likewise. Smith,Terry Terry E. ISBN hardcover : alk. Art, Modern20th centuryThemes, motives. Art, Modern21st centuryThemes, motives.

Who gets to say what counts as contemporary art? Artists, critics, curators, gallerists, auctioneers, collectors, or the public? Smith argues that the most recognizable kind is characterized by a return to mainstream modernism in the work of such artists as Richard Serra and Gerhard Richter, as well as the retro-sensationalism of figures like Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami. At the same time, Smith reveals, postcolonial artists are engaged in a different kind of practice: one that builds on local concerns and tackles questions of identity, history, and globalization. A younger generation embodies yet a third approach to contemporaneity by investigating time, place, mediation, and ethics through small-scale, closely connective art making. Inviting readers into these diverse yet overlapping art worlds, Smith offers a behind-the-scenes introduction to the institutions, the personalities, the biennials, and of course the works that together are defining the contemporary. The resulting map of where art is now illuminates not only where it has been but also where it is going.


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  1. Helena O. says:

    (PDF) What is Contemporary Art? by Terry Smith | Lara Schrijver - chrissullivanministries.com

  2. Larkeese R. says:

    Online Texts and Podcasts

  3. Portlegila1991 says:

    Terry Smith What Is Contemporary Art? Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Terry Smith Contemporary Art: World Currents London: Laurence King.

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