It is hard to define exactly what art is but it is equally or even harder to define contemporary art. Most literature describes contemporary art as work of art that has been developed in the years after 1970 although museums of contemporary art hold that contemporary art dates the period after the Second World War. It is thus clear that there may not be a universal answer to the question that pops out whenever a piece of artistic work is displayed. But really, what constitutes to art? Art can be described as anything that one does in their daily activities. For instance, to a musician, music is their art, a dancer the dance; to a carpenter it would be wood. But then this is not the manner in which contemporary art is described.
It is worth noting that most people conjure up a definition of art in their minds so that they consider drawings and carvings as the only thing referring to art. What about modeling, writing, poetry, name it. There are so many examples that refer to art in general but not for contemporary art. Could it be that the critics of contemporary art are so much in the dark of what really constitutes art that they criticize without a basis? Perhaps the critics of contemporary art are ignorant of art and there losing the validity of what really is art and thus their criticism is vain. Note that the art critics have not in any way of the industry as shown by the great love and expertise of Shari Boyle in her art. Some reporters and judges point that her work is so original and perfect that she gives her art flesh and blood.
Artwork of Shari Boyle
Shari Boyle is one of the best artists there have been in the contemporary world. Her artistic talent shows what contemporary art means. It is original, informative and above all. It is worth mentioning that a piece of art should be able to convey a certain message to the audience. Although it may not be deciphered out rightly like in other types of artistic work, a contemporary art piece, for instance, the blood and flesh by Shari Boyle should carry a message across albeit hidden in the beauty and elegance of the work. The work of art should bring out emotions and feelings of the situation that the piece is aimed at addressing.
For instance, in the blood and flesh, Shari Boyle brings out the nature of life, heredity, sexuality, death and the relationship of man with other species. All this have been incorporated in the same piece and are conveyed to the observer all at the same time. If this is not creativity, then I don’t what creativity is. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that contemporary art is a symbolic communication to the audience, passing across the message of the present times. The lovers of contemporary art will be able to decipher the meaning of the artistic presentation depending on the color, hue and shade used by the artist without having to demand for an explanation (CBC News , 2009).
Shari Boyle is an all round contemporary artist who draws and makes ceramic models. Why the artistic work of Shari Boyle has been used to define contemporary art in this literature is that she has effectively blended the day to day experiences in the present day to portray life in a personal and psychologically moving content of her imagery which includes showing anxiety, desire and bittersweet fantasies. Note that in these kinds of work, creativity is well incorporated so that the emotions can be brought out clearly. It is worth mentioning that, as explained earlier, this work will not need to be interpreted by the artist to the audience, rather they will be able to get the meaning from the artistic piece of work.
Contemporary art should be in a position to criticize some of the events of our daily life, sometimes enchanting and even humorous. They can as well be incorporated in one piece. For instance, looking at the ceramic carving by Shari Boyle, Flesh and Blood, one can grasp that the art work indicates the responsibility of man to nature and other species, showing that man should coexist peacefully with other creations. In addition to this, the same piece can show the burden that has been left on women in the world of today and the effects this has had on life.
The work of Shari Boyle is not limited to the Flesh and blood or in ceramics only; she is multi faceted with activities in drawings and animation of “live” drawings for onstage performances. Note that all this is bent on having the audience decipher the hidden meaning of the work of art. This is really the importance of contemporary art; the symbolic language is presented to the audience who must decipher the meaning from the manner in which different shades of water colors, hue or may be the way lines have been arranged.
Accordingly, the work of contemporary art should be made in such a way that they not only bring about the inner feelings or the inner conflicts of the artist but also invite the audience to participate in the presentation. For instance, when someone views the flesh and blood or some of the projection caricatures of Shari Boyle, they must be in a position to understand really what the artist intends to address and question their grounds or judgment of the same on the issue. Like in Flesh and blood, any individual must question how they participate in conserving the environment and whether they have respect for other species and creations and how they can improve the situation.
In as much as the artist does not put this question across to the audience and even does not interpret the work to the audience, the use of symbolism is so important that it gives this message to the audience and questions them. it is therefore important that those qualities discussed here concerning the artistic expressions of Shari Boyle, including performance of live pictures, should be used to define what contemporary art means. The critics of contemporary art should look at this qualities and capabilities of art before hanging the sword of Damocles in front of the works of art.
Critics are losing their validity
Criticizing the work of contemporary art should begin with the understanding of the art piece by the critics. Note that the criteria should begin with the subjectivity of the piece and not based on when the art piece was made. There should be logical cohesion of theories which should be critically evaluated to show the meanings of the message hidden in the piece of art work. Note that the manner in which art is presented cannot merely negate the argument of the critics as they make close observations before they make an inference. However, I would say that the current art critics are myopic on the real definition of contemporary art and art in general that they fail to identify the important information hidden in the different artistic presentation regardless of the nature genre used for the work.
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It is important that any critic of the work of art should follow a certain hermeneutical interpretation that gives the insight into the creator of the piece of art and incorporating it with the art itself. For instance, any piece of art will be viewed differently in different places because the lifestyles of the people in a certain community are different. For example, in communities where such animals as chameleons are considered a bad omen and evil, they would interpret the flesh and blood figurine by Shari Boyle differently from those people who harbor such beliefs. If then Shari Boyle was one of those who harbor such beliefs, then the interpretation would be directed towards something evil, which is different from what the art piece means or reflects (Gemtou, 2010).
According to Eleni, the construction of general principles that could be used to interpret and analyze the work of artists independent of the time and local conditions during the preparation of the work of art and the would make the validity of the critical remarks made by art critics acceptable. Failure to this, many of the critics is invalidated by the simple fact that they do not consider the reflection of the cultural living standards and lifestyle of the people in which the art work addresses and depicts. It should be known that a change in the lifestyle of a community will involves a change in the form and the content of work. The critics of contemporary art do not consider that there have been a change of lifestyle over the last decades and in fact every generation experiences so changes. This should point out to them that even the work of art should experience a change on the content, the manner in which it is presented and even in the way it is interpreted (Gemtou, 2010).
Critics should realize that the mechanisms they used in critiquing past art work does not apply to the art works of today.contemporary art embodies both the social circumstances and their anthropological operations and no matter the diversity of the art, as shown by the flexibility of Shari Boyle, who has talents for ceramics, drawings and theatre, it operates in the same system. The art work of the present day is therefore different from the traditional as it engages in cultural and historical perspectives and displaying them in different or specific materials, concepts, references and themes. The work of the critics of the contemporary art should therefore first be indulging in determining what constitutes to art today before moving on to analyzing and critiquing the work. Additionally, the critics must also have knowledge of the historical perspectives in understanding the theoretical precepts brought about by the new works of art (Drucker, 2005).
Art has no functional or any utilitarian value and this is what has led to the development of several critics in the contemporary art industry. Initially, artists made pieces of work for the sole purpose of art itself and received loyalties from rich patrons who commissioned their work. This has since changed in the contemporary world with artists making the pieces of art with the purpose of cashing in on them. Some artists like Andy Warhl created art as a brand, the brands are so embraced that they create the artists to some form off celebrity. Those who take this route will exploit their fame and celebrity status to further market their artistic products. Note that this is quite challenging for the critics of the contemporary art since in as much as they would love to base their criticism on the basis of marketing of art, the works of art still are based on culture and have a hidden meaning. It is only the concept of delivering the message to the audience that has changed to favor the creator of the piece of art (O'Reilly & Kerrigan, 2010).
There is an indication that the world of art is the only thing that man can see through to the real world. As earlier stated, the work of art changes with the change in the generation and the ideas. However, the world still remains the same and more so it looks fictitious with art being the only way by which the truth about life is conceived. It is therefore true to argue that the critics of art are confused by the changing trends in the contemporary arts stage. This is partly due to the changing world and partly due to the emergence of art marketing. Note that the true love of art is making art for the sake of art and not for any other reason. For the better part of the contemporary art history, there has always been criticism which may not end any time soon and which should not deter any artists from taking the course of action they are taking for the purpose of art (Gewen, 2005). It comes to the conclusion that there must be a way by which art should be described and this must be based only on the societal values that the work of art passes to its audience and not the purpose by which the piece has been made (Bourdieu, 1996). Art should only be regarded for its hidden message and this should be given its autonomy.
It is not right that critics should argue their cases concerning contemporary art on this change of concept because in as much as it has been swift, it has only added value to the art industry and not otherwise as critics may want to assume. Looking on at the work of Salvador Dali, one of the greatest masters of contemporary art, there was a lot of creativity in his pieces that depicted the lifestyle of different communities and most importantly christian life. It is worth mentioning that Salvador was among the first artists that who started developing the industry into a business and as indicated, it did not deter him from expressing artistically on the messages he was passing along. It should be seen that the work was so much adorable and like any from the artists before him who had focused on making art for art and not for any other purpose. This move therefore can be seen to have been a contributor to development of art. Note that he introduced three dimensional display of surreal paintings on the canvas. It could also be that this is a move to motivate artists into putting their talents and expertise at work and offering the messages to the people as it were (Coppens, n.d).
Although there have been criticism of many works of art, the critics have failed in one of the most important action that falls under their jurisdiction. Note that the work of art critics is to inform the general public on the state of the art world and therefore distinguishing what is good art and what is not. The failure comes in that they have failed to capture and explain what art is and what is not. This is one distinction that has greatly influence the current state of the art in the contemporary world of art and its critics. It is therefore true and right to say that the importance of contemporary art is to effect pleasure to its creator and audience and in the process passing on a message that is intended (Portico, 2005). Whatever the grandeur and bourgeois that may come with a presentation of an activity and with it a symbolic message is passed across should pass as art. Unlike in the ancient days where what was art could be identified immediately, the critics of the contemporary art cannot seem to do this in their criticism.
Are art institutions losing?
There is crisis in the criticism of the contemporary work of art mainly because as the theme of modernism has set in. although the works of art in the contemporary world do not seem to attract as many fans as they used previously, it cannot be said that art exhibitionists and any art institutions are losing their soundness as they still have a following. Note that initially there were not many genres in the art industry like there are today and therefore this has seen to it that fans have taken a specific art genre to pursue. Some call for exhibitions and galleries while some will call for other social settings. Depending on what presentation they are in, a genre will always have its following (Thomas, 2009).
It should be noticed that since time immemorial, exhibitions for art work have been organised seasonally and are still a thing to look forward to today for lovers of art (Visit Faroe islands, n.d). For instance, art exhibitions in Faroe Islands still attract quite a large following despite the fact that the greatest artists of the islands have shifted base to abroad. However, most have their work displayed in exhibitions by organizations that host these events at least once a year.
As indicated, modernity has set in with a great change in the manner in which art and their exhibitions were displayed including the rise of government run art salons like in France. It does not therefore reflect a decline in the enthusiasm in art galleries and exhibitions like they were previously conducted but a change in the traditional show casing styles (Gerondeau, 2004). As a matter of fact, some of the lovers of art work have been involved in getting radical changes in the art industry which includes but not limited to introducing works of art into their daily lives (Kirk Kimmerling DDS, 2011 ).
The whole of this discussion indicates that the reason for the current stalemate that has resulted in the criticism of contemporary art has been due to a difference in the times in which this art is made. It has been seen that the contemporary world is changing very fast and therefore the same dynamism applies not only to the contemporary art but also to other fields in the history of art in the world of today. This has seen the commercialization of art which is quite distant from the initial views on the art as a whole.
However, the most important thing is that even though the other factors that govern art which includes presentation and much more have changed, the important thing is that the initial goal of art being a symbolic language spoken by artists to pass across a certain message to the audience of the artwork remains. To be able to do this calls for creativity on the part of the artist which is why art is magnificent and elegant? The only crisis that has resulted in criticism of contemporary art is based on the failure of critics to distinguish what really constitutes to art and what does not. Otherwise, the contemporary art is by all means a clear representation of what art really is.