A Beginnerâ€™s Guide to Contemporary Art
A Project by Tiffany Ng
+ Author’s Note
As I searched for what’s wrong with contemporary art, I found what’s right. This project began as a mission to mock and ridicule contemporary art. Being one of the many who voiced the notion “ contemporary art is a joke and an insult to ‘actual art’ ” it seems quite unusual that I reach this conclusion today. My initial efforts on researching the history of contemporary art were intended to disprove its legitimacy but instead completely changed my heavy handed opinion. I finally hit me how contemporary art is like a misunderstood monster, like Roald Dahl’s BFG. We only see what the media wants us to see and seek no further explanation. Thus we’re given the impression that contemporary art is a monster, is something bad, something ridiculous. I wrote this book with the goal of broadening people’s perspectives. To show them what the media does not capture, what people don’t normally see, and hopefully give them a chance to re-evaluate. Over the past year I’ve been collecting data from the general public, professional artists, and people who are associated with this specific topic; I visited art museums and galleries around the world trying to generate a thesis and a method to justify this highly criticised medium; I read books and research papers that addressed this topic, analysing what is already being done regarding this controversial subject.
We Dislike Change Change jeopardises our feeling of purpose, significance, security, and stability. Our subconscious choice to stick with things that are perceived as normal is our way of resisting change. Through time change occurs, our definitions and our preferences change though our society may not change with us. Just as the LGBTQ+ community struggled to fit into society’s outdated expectations, contemporary art is struggling to fit into our society’s antiquated opinions. Living in a society with such opinionated people, arguments tend to overshadow judgement, spiking controversies. Contemporary art’s legitimacy is one of these controversies. Being named a case of “emperor’s clothes” and “where large disposable sums of money comes to be disposed”, many don’t understand or choose to respect contemporary art given its unorthodox form. The purpose of this book is to change that, just to give those who don’t understand Contemporary Art an explanation.
Thank you To those who have contributed and supported me in the development of this project. Editors, interviewees, translators, and contributors, thank you. - Albert Ng - Aunt TT - Chloe To - Christopher Wong - Evelyna Yee - Frank Proctor - Geeio Yuen - Isabella Boyne - Jane Deeth - Jacqueline Shiu - Juliana Borinski - Karen Patterson - Paul Murphy
Introduction What is Art Contemporary Art vs Modern Art History of Art Contemporary Art Timeline Contemporary Art Movement
12 13 14 24 26
General Publicâ€™s Opinion Examples of Ridicule Reasons of Ridicule
48 50 52
+ Effort + Lack of Visible Skill + The Market + People arenâ€™t used to it + Superficial Artist + High Expectations + Intention + How art is presented
+ Let Go of Your Expectations + An Open Mind + Look at pieces that make you happy + Try, Just a little bit
Who Value of Art Full interview
+ Evelyna Yee + Frank Proctor + Geeio Yuen + Jane Deeth + Jacqueline Shiu + Juliana Borinski + Karen Patterson
Summary 96 Appendix Profile of the Interviewee 100 Bibliography 102 Further Reading 109
Introduction + What is Art + Contemporary Art vs Modern Art + History of Art + Contemporary Art Timeline + Contemporary Art Movement
Contemporary Art vs Modern Art Contemporary Art
What is Art There are only properties that most art pieces possess, there is no clear definition. Art is defined differently by each individual. This book intends for you to find yours. Contemporary art is the art of today, produced by artists who are living in the twenty-first century. \
Contemporary art is art created from the 1960s up until now. Artists from this era grew up with ideals and morals different from the artists from the modern era. The aim of this genre or ‘age’ in art is to shock people through the means of turning towards new art forms and mediums. Artists in this genre of art are free to interpret themselves given the absence of an overall theme or main purpose. Despite such many artists are often criticised for following the ‘ I am the artistic genius and you need me ’ philosophy. Contemporary art is mainly just a rough phrase to categorise art created now. As art pieces created now can range from art that follows traditional means and / or rules, the contemporary art mentioned in this book would be referencing contemporary art piece that the public generally criticise: conceptual art, minimalisim, installation, neo-expressionisim, and neo-popart. The focus of contemporary art has begun to shift heavily towards a more conceptual instead of a physical value. Contemporary artists could be influenced by any historical movements whereas modern artists were fixed on revolting against the past movements. These two very different genres both posses rather unorthodox art pieces that do not follow the academic rules of traditional art. Modern art is art from the impressionists Art from 1880 up until the 1970s. It included movements such as Impressionisim, Post Minimalisim, Fauvisim, Expressionism; Dada, Surrealism, Pop Art which were heavily inspired by a variety of factors such as light art, Asian art, African art,etc. This movement included artists such as Picasso, Munch, Matisse, Renoir, Mondrian, Kandinsky. Modern artists follow concepts such as trusting their inner visions, express those visions in their work, use real ( Social issues and images from modern life ) as a source of subject matter, experiment and innovate with different subjects and mediums. They also reject the school of though that saw ‘ imitation of life ’ as a good way of going about creating art and went their own way. They also aim to throw aside the traditions of the past and experiment with new ways of seeing with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. They follow the idea of a “ The triumph of modernisim is overturning the famous traditional academic values ”
Modern Art There is often conflation between the terms modern and contemporary as they are synonyms. This book addresses the characteristics of contemporary art. 12 // INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION // 13
+ Movement + Art History of Art
Actions, Reactions & Rebellions
Art history consists a series of actions, reactions and rebellions. Every movement is either a form of rebellion or reaction to something. Sometimes itâ€™s a historical event, a figure, or even another movement. Developed from something purely materialistic, art movements gradually began adopting a concept, philosophy, or reason behind its unique form.
and functional means, art has transformed into a study, into a form expression, into something left to be individually defined.
(Evident on how concepts were displayed on the description of each era as we proceed later in the timeline)
It has always been said how people donâ€™t get art of this decade, but understand art of the modern era. I personally believe conceptual art is like its own movement, with its own set of values, motifs, defining characteristic, and philosophy.
Just like how Realism began emphasizing the objective truth that reflects social realities of the man of human nature; surrealism reflected the super-reality.
(As value became something that could not be defined, the value column is visibly empty as we reach art movements later in the timeline)
Therefore if we could be accepting of the unconventional paintings of justified eras, why canâ€™t we do the same for contemporary art?
As movements began to adapt concept, the seemingly unconventional visual that is presented seems to be justified which further meets the satisfaction of the audience. The definition of what art is began to broaden over time just as its previously measurable values of art began to enter a grey area. From its former materialistic 14 // INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION // 15
The High Renaissance
Late Gothic Date Range: 14th Century
Mona Lisa by Leonardo Di Caprio
Visual Characteristics Naturalistic and realistic shapes
Visual Characteristics Unprecedented skill; Color combinations and composition methods generated through psychological and scientific findings.
History of Art Before modern art progressed to become contemporary art, centuries of development changed the value, concept, and purpose of art. Directly relating to that period of historical events and life styles, Art molded and shaped itself to what it is today.
Value The richness of the materials used, the skills and techniques exhibited Origin The dominance of the catholic church Subject Strictly Bible-related subjects
Below is a timeline chronologically displaying the evolution of art from traditional art to contemporary art. All the art movements displayed prior to the contemporary art timeline are categorised as traditional art movements. Followed by the contemporary art timeline (displaying art movements post 1960s), is a collection of detailed summaries of current contemporary art movements.
Concept Art is to be of the same social significance as science and psychology Value The richness of the materials used, the skills and techniques exhibited Origin Reaction to the historical Renaissance period, â€˜rebirthingâ€™ classical ideals from Rome and Greece
The Early Renaissanc
Detalhe da caverna de Lascaux, C. 15000 A.C.
Arnolfini double portrait by Jan van Eyck
Visual Characteristics Documentation of prehistoric life
Visual Characteristics Naturalistic approach in terms of organising figures and composing a landscape; beginning traces of perspective drawing
Concept Undefined Value Everyday objects, functionality, decoration Origin Need for decoration and everyday items such as pots and vases Subject Stories of the past (hunting etc.)
Concept Undefined Value The richness of the materials used, the skills and techniques exhibited Origin A rebellious reaction to the Gothic period with the intention to break away from the religious means of art. Subject Classical
16 // INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION // 17
Visual Characteristics Strong senses of movement, dramatic, bold asymmetric, spiral, and diagonal compositions.
Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet
Visual Characteristics Pictures that depicted reality but without religious or additional meaning
Visual Characteristics Realistic paintings of everyday objects Concept To discover and objective truth that reflects social realities of the man
Value Skills and techniques displayed to convey reality
Value Techniques used to achieve realistic paintings. ‘How real it looks’
Origin Rejection of the Catholic Baroque, and widespread of Protestantism
Origin Reaction to the heightened emotions of Romanticism
Subject Content without objection or religious grounds
Subject Everyday Objects
Value Complexity and display of skill Origin Reaction to Mannerism Subject Spectacular actions/events that stimulates emotions; typically religious, mystical or historical subjects
Madonna of the Long Neck (1535) Uffizi,Florence
Phillip Friederich von Hetsch’s Allegory of Merit Accompanied by Nobility and Virtue (1758)
Visual Characteristics Artificial visuals such as elongated body proportions, exaggerated body compositions etc. Aimed towards a sophisticated audience. ‘Anti-Renaissance’ Concept Undefined Value The use of garish colours, techniques associated with scale, lighting, perspective.
Subject Classical Objects 18 // INTRODUCTION
by Gustave Courbet 1854
Concept A reflection on the religious tensions of the age.
Origin Reaction to classical art in the form of artificial and exaggerated techniques, compositions and subjects.
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer 1665
Holy Family (1555)
Visual Characteristics A style typically consisting of interior design such as swirls, curves and scrolls Concept Undefined Value Techniques used to display ideal elegance and beauty in objects Origin A decorative response to the realism of Baroque Subject Classical Content
Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David 1793.
Ossian receiving the Ghosts of the French Heroes by
Visual Characteristics Stern, unemotional and serious theme
Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson
Concept To convey moral sacrifices as well as the supposed ethical antiqual superiority. Value Techniques used to convey the concept Origin Reaction against the pomposity of Rococo and the prententious nature of baroque. Subject Historical, political, social, cultural events
Visual Characteristics More expressive and sensual painting techniques such as spontaneous plein-air painting. Concept Belief in justice, goodness in humanity. The emphasis of emotion over intellect. Value Techniques and skills used to convey emotions. Origin The aftermath of the European political crisis. Subject Emotive and sensual subjects; dramatic contemporary and historical events INTRODUCTION // 19
The Martyr of the Solway by John Everett Millais
Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
Girl Before A Mirror By Pablo Picasso
Visual Characteristics A combination of realism and symbolism
Visual Characteristics Use of vivid colors, thick application of paint, real life scales. Geometric and expressive effects. Unnatrual aesthetic.
Visual Characteristics A visual representation of an object where the artist refines certain visual elements to reconstruct the object
Concept Embracing the ideal of ‘Truth to Nature’ Value To discover and objective truth that reflects social realities of the man Origin A rebellion against ‘Grand Manner’ and the artificial nature of Mannerism Subject Subjects from Dante, Shakespeare, Contemporary Poetry, the Bible with an idealised medieval theme.
Concept A critical reaction to the typical depiction of color and light Value The creativity in their use of expressive techniques Origin An extension of Impressionism.
Subject Subjects from Dante, Shakespeare, Contemporary Poetry, the Bible with an idealised medieval theme.
Woman with a Parasol by Claude Monet
Woman with a Hat by Henri Matisse
Albert Gleizes, L’Homme au Balcon, Man on
Visual Characteristics A colorful style; A technique where the artists applied paint in small brightly colored strokes
Visual Characteristics Outrageously bright use of colors and simplified drawing form
a Balcony (Portrait of Dr. Théo Morinaud)
Concept The exact analysis of color on a painting, the techniques displayed
Concept The vibrant use of color is the only method of effectively communicating the artist’s emotions regarding a subject
Value Visible techniques and manipulation of colors Origin The abandonment and rebellion towards the common idea that shadow is created with a color mixed with brown or black. Subject Fleeting moments
20 // INTRODUCTION
Concept By breaking down the actual being of the object, the artist believes to capture the essence of the subject
Value The use of color and techniques displayed Origin Reaction towards Post Impressionism Subject Undefined
Visual Characteristics A painting technique that shows multiple perspectives of a subject at once Concept To capture multiple perspectives at once Value Undefined Origin Reaction to how the western art world is ‘exhausted’, rebellion towards the traditional means of art Subject Undefined INTRODUCTION // 21
Eyes in the Heat 1946 by Jackson Pollock
Kazimir Malevich ‘Desk and Room’
Visual Characteristics Lack of subject; ‘All over painting’; ‘Action painting’
Visual Characteristics Mystical pure abstraction (where visual elements are the subject itself)
Concept Action painting is meant to express the emotions of the artist through the process of creating the art piece; All over painting suggests the importance of all corners of the painting instead of a subject.
Concept Non representational forms of abstraction has the ability to open the mind to ‘the supremacy of pure feeling’ Value Undefined
Origin Reaction to cubism and futurism
Origin A reaction towards the ‘automatism’ of Surrealism and ‘spirituality’ of Kadinsky.
Subject A play of visual elements
Subject The entire painting is the subject
Morphological Echo by Salvador Dali
Visual Characteristics Art pieces that are painted with the use of ‘pure psychic automatism’ (a spontaneous form of drawing without conscious control); unconventional combination of objects Concept To capture superior reality Value --Origin Positive response to the negativity of Dada Subject Combination of disassociate images, pictures from dreams
The Marilyn Diptych by Andy Warhol 1962
Visual Characteristics Carrying similar characteristics as Dada’s collage and readymades, the subjects were all of popular culture. Concept To capture the enthusiasm of the end of the war.
Anamorphosis by Mark Adam Webster
Gustav Klutsis - Workers, Everyone must vote in the Election of Soviets!
Visual Characteristics Capturing the energy, speech and noise of urban life using a method similar to cubism Concept A celebration of modernity by capturing the subjects around the artist as opposed to the artist exploring a subject
Similar geometric nature as Supermatism
‘Socialism of Vision’ under the subtext of utopian glimpse of a mechanized modernity
Value A creative approach
Origin Reaction to modernity
Origin Reaction to the optimism from the Post-War consumer boom.
Subject Objects/subjects that glorified industrialization, transport, modern life, and technology
Reaction to the October Revolution
Subject Subjects related to pop culture 22 // INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION // 23
Contemporary Art Timeline Computer Art
Performance Art Post Minimalism Fluxus Installation Video Art Conceptual Hard Edge Painting Art Photography
Dada Bauhaus Constructivism
Pop Art Color Field Kinetic Art
Stuckism Body Art
Art Povera Feminist Art New Subjectivity
Land Art Graffiti Art
24 // INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION // 25
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
In response to World War I, artists protested against bourgeois nationalists and colonialists through a new form of art with the intention of going against cultural and intellectual conformity. This movement was known as Dada art. Beginning early in the modern art era of the early 20th century, the movement was initially started by poets and artists such as Hugo Ball, Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Tristan Tzara. It began in a nightclub known as Cabaret Voltaire as the artists developed new techniques such as collage, photomontage, assemblage, and readymades. All of these types of art possess the characteristics of irrationality and nonsense as compared to traditional concepts of art. This movement is the beginning of the revolution against traditional art, as well as an influence to many contemporary movements to come. Rejecting reason or logic and prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition, the Dada movement became the dramatic change that influenced many controversial sub genres of contemporary art today.
Beginning from a show called “Nouvelle Subjectivite” by Jean Clair in 1976, the show displayed modern artists who rejected the dominant abstractions & conceptualism of modern but embraces a realistic depiction of art forms in a modern sense. This genre of contemporary art uses all types of mediums (oils, pastels, acrylics, water colors etc.) to create a realistic observation of the real world using a modern and rather unconventional expressive form. Paradoxically, artists who express their artworks in a modern sense are highly technical and academically skilled whilst constructing art pieces using traditional renaissance rules of linear & aerial perspectives.
“ Dada art was going against the concern of traditional aesthetics and where normal art was to appeal, Dada was to offend.” --- Hans Richter
Bicycle whelel by Marcel Duchamp
26 // INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION // 27
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Photorealism is a type of painting that resembles a photograph provided its high level of detail. The main focus of this type of painting would be its high level of detail instead of the subject matter explaining its typically ordinary subject matter. Paradoxically, its extremely high levels of detail creates a sense of overly real to “unreal” feeling for the artwork. Additional to such, its lack of humor results in a rather disturbing aesthetic. On the contrary to the common conceptualism philosophy behind most contemporary art genres, the outcome is the focus of this type of art.
Inspired by the Dada movement, conceptualism took on the philosophy that art is a concept instead of a material object. This expresses how the idea and process of creation of a piece of work is the ‘subject’ instead of an end product. It is a documentation of the artform. Conceptual art is commonly used to convey a social or socio-political statements. Its lack of visible skill creates controversy and challenges traditional art, thus becoming a piece of art itself. However its lack of skill creates speculation and debate whether conceptual art should be considered art. This is because common spectators mistake “viewing” as the qualification of art as opposed to “idea”. In contemporary art, “idea” is what generally characterizes art, whilst in the Modern art era, “viewing” is what qualifies it as art.
“ Came out of pop yet had the effectiveness of minimalism and capitalised on the public’s fondness of exact replication.” -- New York Times
This philosophy of a dominating “idea” instead of “aesthetic” is carried on by several different sub-genres of contemporary art. “ Ideas alone can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.” --- Sol LeWitt
Photorealism 28 // INTRODUCTION
Girl with Teacup by Lee Price
Conceptual Art Theodora and Mr Impossible from Untitled by Charles Avery
INTRODUCTION // 29
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Post Minimalism Post minimalism or “process art” is a form of art that focuses on the creative process involved, using unstable materials which changes form without control (condensed, evaporated, deteriorated materials etc.). It takes a more conceptual approach to the artwork conveying a single truth, making the process of creating something or communicating something equally as important as what is created. It has also expanded to a variety of different styles that were prominent in the minimalist era . The steel and the space, or the object and the void, become one and the same." --- Richard Serra
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Minimalism Beginning around the 1960s and the 1970s, Minimalism was the result of artists moving towards geometric abstraction and the public’s interest in “cool” over drama. Additional to such, as a movement after the industrial revolution, the materialistic appeals of Minimalistic art captured the 1960s world of mass-produced beauty. Focusing purely on the materiality of works, as opposed to emotional or symbolic contents, Minimal Art is typically fabricated from industrial materials. Distancing itself from abstract expressionism by removing meaning or
biography of any kind, it also avoided the traditional fine art aesthetic to achieve geometric works and deliberately avoid conventional aesthetic appeal. By using industrial materials and techniques of commercial manufacturing, the process of creation completely removes the artist’s hand print. Which also removes the emotional connection or meaning established by the artist. Through involving the spectator in a more physical manner, it acknowledges the change of perspectives through space and time. The lack of emotion also contributed to reflecting
the purity and truth of the artists. Its connection to conceptualism is evident through its focus on the process of creation as opposed to the outcome. “Minimal art is represented as the misunderstanding of modern art dialect” --- Clement Greenberg “Minimalism derives from the minimum of operating means, minimalist painting is purely realistic” --- David Burlyuk
‘Hang Up’ 1966 by Eva Hesse
Untitled, 1958 by Robert Ryman
30 // INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION // 31
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Contemporary realism capitalises on what is “real” instead of what is “ideal”, rejecting all forms of cubism, expressionist interpretation, abstract expressionism etc. to capture objects in its natural form and raw objective style. Similar to photo realism, contemporary realism focuses on the outcome of the piece of art as opposed to the process of creating it.
This Art works as a form of art that takes form in manipulation of an environment/landscape in order to create a shape,influenced by Robert Smithson’s essay: “ The sedimentation of the mind: Earth Projects”. Environmental Art was Environmental art or “Land art” typically refurbishes natural environments with man made materials in order to celebrate nature.
“It is not a question, here, of searching for an ‘absolute’ of beauty. The artist is neither painting history nor his soul... And it is because of this that he should neither be judged as a moralist nor as a literary man. He should be judged simply as a painter.” --Anonymous
“I want to get under the surface. When I work with a leaf, rock, stick, it is not just that material in itself, it is an opening into the processes of life within and around it. When I leave it, these processes continue.” --- Anonymous
32 // INTRODUCTION
Fortitude By Christopher Walker
Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida by Christo and Jeanne-Claude
INTRODUCTION // 33
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Term coined by Maciunas in 1961, ‘Fluxus’ began with a controversial composition called ‘4-33’. Aiming to defy traditional means of art and revolutionising the creative world by bringing the integration of life and art closer. Incorporating different art events and art festivals, it carries an ‘interchangeable’ characteristic which brings together all genres and movements of art to mock the conventional aesthetics of art. It is an unorthodox representation of our society covering topics from violence to socio-political agenda, expanding the definition of art as a whole. ‘In Fluxus there has never been any attempt to agree on aims or methods; individuals with something unnamable in common have simply naturally coalesced to publish and perform their work. Perhaps this common thing is a feeling that the bounds of art are much wider than they have conventionally seemed, or that art and certain long established bounds are no longer very useful.’ --- Georgie Brecht
34 // INTRODUCTION
20 Chairs from the Qing Dynasty by Ai Weiwei
Performance art is one of the extremely controversial movements of contemporary art. Originating from the German Expressionist era, performance art carried the intent to defy traditional means of art by incorporating conceptualism, futurism etc. to focus on delivering a message. Performance arts typically consist an artist performing the ‘art’ in front of a live audience as the artist’s actions are the piece of art. ‘ Performance art is about joy, about making something that is so full of wild joy that you can’t really put into words’ --- Laurie Anderson
Relation in Time by Marina Abramović and Ulay
INTRODUCTION // 35
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Interruptions by Vera Molnar
S.O.S. by Hannah Wilke
Beginning around the 1950s, artists were experimenting and discovering new mediums, and came across computers. Given the rapid rate of development for computers back then, computer generated graphics were seemingly revolutionary. Triggered by the release of a ‘stylus’ in the 1970s, many artists began experimenting with computer generated graphics. Seeing computers as a new tool and a new medium artists began expanding on this method of creating art and branched out to graphic design, digital illustrative art, generative art etc. Computer art has developed into any form of art that requires a computer to complete, making its way into our everyday lives.
Feminist Art is art created to address the inequality between man and woman. Its purpose is to put women in the rightful spot in society. Emerging around the 1960s, Feminist art took form in a wide range of different mediums but all highlighted the same stereotypes. ‘ Because we are denied knowledge of our history, we are deprived of standing upon each other’s shoulders and building upon each other’s hard earned accomplishments. Instead we are condemned to repeat what others have done before us and thus we continually reinvent the wheel.’ --- Judy Chicago
‘ Since the technology of electronics has become such an important part of modern life, it is inevitable that it be employed in the creation of art.’ --- Ben Laposky, 1969
36 // INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION // 37
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Body art is art where the artists’ bodies art the canvas. Ranging from piercings, nail art, tattoos, to extreme pain endurance, extreme physical activity, or drugs, whatever is done to the body is the paint, and the body is the canvas. The aim of this type of art is to ‘shock’ the audience.
38 // INTRODUCTION
Günter Brus at the University of Vienna
As a form of street art associated with the hip hop movement, Graffiti is the result of the hip hop movement’s urge for people (typically urban minorities) to express themselves in their own form of art, people’s art. The first signs of graffiti art were “tags” where people would spray paint their names in public spaces such as subways or train stations and embraced the public space as their canvas. First few graffiti artists were TAKI 183 and Barbara 62, who broke into train depots to spray paint on trains in order for their art to be displayed across the city. In the modern society, Graffiti art has incorporated academic techniques and styles where it focuses on the visible aesthetic as opposed to the concept behind the artwork.
Untitled By Banksy
INTRODUCTION // 39
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Neo Pop Art
Beginning in 1952 from a series of interesting entries for an architectural design competition, deconstructivism is characterised by distorted unorthodox shapes, manipulation of surface, and fragmentation. By challenging all characteristics of building design it creates something new and fresh.
As a type of contemporary art that uses recognizable objects, Neo-Pop art revolves around pop culture while incorporating concepts from Dada (such as readymades/found objects) and modern conceptual art to create new art pieces. Neo Pop art typically questioned societyâ€™s most previous assumptions and made fun of celebrities and/or common ideas in pop culture.
40 // INTRODUCTION
Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry
Untitled Scultpure by Yoshitomo Nara
INTRODUCTION // 41
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
James is a Girl by Non Goldin
Originally inspired by surrealist exhibitions, installation art intends to create art in the form of a complex compelling environment that changes the spectatorâ€™s experience in that specific space. By incorporating 2D and 3D elements to change the experience of a space, installation art ranges in mediums from gallery based installations to electronic based installations. Occasionally installations would also convey a certain message. However, it distances itself from the common philosophy of contemporary art, where its focus is on the presentation rather than the means used to achieve it.
Art Photography is a form of intentional photography where the images and objects captures were either timed or placed by the artist. It intends to produce a more personal (evocative & atmospheric) impression as opposed to a realistic rendition of something. Taking occasional hyperrealistic styles or directions, Art photography has been commonly disregarded as an artform as the debate of whether photography should be considered art has not come to a conclusion.
42 // INTRODUCTION
Art Photography INTRODUCTION // 43
Burned by Carlos Garijo
+ Contemporary Art Movement
+ Contemporary Art Movement
Beginning as a response to minimalism and conceptual art, Neo Expressionists were “ sick of ” the intellectualism and self style purity carried in those movements. Artists of this genre did everything modern artists intended to discredit such as emotions, figuration, symbolism & narrative while embracing the “ dead ” practice of fine art.
Inspired by experimental film, conceptual and performance art, video art is conceptual art in the form of film. Its lack of storyline, dialogue, screenplay, actors etc. and focus on the medium separates it from traditional film. Originating from Andy Warhol’s ‘Sleep’ or ‘ Empire ’, Video art is extremely experimental.
Embracing the traditional themes, styles and referencing historic movements ( Renaissance, Mannerism, Cubism, Fauvism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism etc.), Neo expressionist practiced the academic techniques of fine art.
Neo Expressionism 44 // INTRODUCTION
The More the Better by Nam June Paik.
Video Art INTRODUCTION // 45
Why + General Publicâ€™s Opinion + Examples of Ridicule + Reasons of Ridicule
+ General Public’s Opinion
The aim of this survey was to demonstrate the variety of reasons people disapproved of contemporary art, and document the public’s opinion towards this controversial subject. All these responses are recorded through a survey conducted over the internet. The questions asked are at the back of the book
‘Art is about culture and living, humanity. Everyone can be a role involved. Especially, the technology bring human kind into a new area nowadays. Everyone can express themselves or point of view by creative way’ ‘Art will be art, some will be accessible to everyone, some will be more specified. Art should be what it is: an expression no matter what form it takes.’
‘ I don’t like the idea that it is an industry - not an industry that the creative processes can be mechanised or delegated to specialist craftsmen who are not credited with creating the ‘art’ (which does increasingly happen), but just in the sense that it is such a tightly defined economic system, with wealthy and influential collectors, critics, gallery owners and auctioneers creating demand for certain types of work and throwing money at it, while ignoring many other types of art and artists.’
‘In the 1800s, art (painting and sculpture, that is - writing can be considered a kind of art as well, but it is usually treated separately) was generally something people did as a hobby. Most artists had jobs, or were privately wealthy; they didn’t expect to get rich through their work, though a few did. Nowadays, there seems to be more of an expectation that art can be a career - maybe not a hugely well-paying one for most people, but nevertheless something that one can make a living doing without having to take another job.’
‘While I feel sorry for artists who struggle with poverty while trying to produce their work, many of them never achieving any kind of recognition, let alone wealth and fame, I do think it’s unfortunate that the art world has become so commercialised. As with popular music, the fact that it is possible for a few people to become millionaires through creating it leads far too many fairly talentless people to try.’
48 // WHY
n WHY // 49
+ Examples of Ridicule
Yes... But is it Art? by Morley Safer
‘We go to the gallery’ by Miriam Elia
Morley Safer of 60 Minutes published two commentaries on the controversy of contemporary art. Both of which comment on how contemporary art is a bunch of baloney and a case of ‘ Emperor’s Clothes ‘. He visits Art Museums, exhibitions, and biddings as well as consultations with art collectors claiming contemporary art is a case of ‘ Emperor’s Clothes ’. Upon consultation with a variety of different art collectors and professional artists, Safer proceeds to make claims regarding the legitimacy of contemporary art.
This is a children’s book that highlights the ‘ridiculous’ aspects with an ‘innocent’ and ‘child-like’ approach. By documenting a young boy’s journey to an art exhibition titled ‘The Death of Meaning’ with his mother, the author pokes fun at the commonly misunderstood concepts of modern / contemporary art. She emphasizes the common ‘mocking ideologies’ of contemporary art (those of which are also commonly displayed in memes).
Memes Memes are a new phenomenon on the internet. Collecting relatable opinions and translating them into visuals creates a platform where the general public shares their opinion. Typically consisting of humorous content, memes translate a commonly agreed and relatable opinion in the form of a picture and a caption. Modern art and contemporary art have become a wildly ‘memed’ topic. Here are a few that summarises the public’s opinion (or mockery) towards contemporary and modern art.
Why the Art World Is So Loathsome: 8 Theories by Simon Doonan A public blog post written by Simon Doonan. This piece of writing voices the strong opinion of one that chooses to think of contemporary art as a joke. In this piece of writing, he emphasises how the famous art exhibitions he has been to were a complete waste of money and time. Additionally he mentions 8 different theories that explain how modern art / contemporary art is rightly ridiculed.
50 // WHY
WHY // 51
+ Reasons of Ridicule
Effort ‘One crude but relevant consideration is the perceived amount of effort.’ --Paul Bloom In the book “How Pleasure Works”, psychologist Paul Bloom touches on the controversy of contemporary art. He mentions an experiment conducted by Justin Kruger, testing how effort is used as a heuristic for quality. Within this experiment test subjects were separated into groups, given a piece of art to examine, then told separately how much effort was put into the painting before them. Ultimately results concluded that the art piece with the most claimed ‘effort’ was also the most praised piece, further emphasizing the public’s eye for effort. We look for effort in art, dismissing anything deprived of visible effort as unworthy.
David by Michelangelo 52 // WHY
WHY // 53
+ Reasons of Ridicule
Lack of Visible Skill The most common reason (70% of all the survey responses) people feel the need to ridicule contemporary art, is the legitimacy of the seemingly illegitimate and skill-less art pieces. The general public tends to seek evidence of academic art skills, use of color, and material use within a piece of contemporary art. Therefore the absence of these qualities generate controversy. People often say “it is ridiculous how an art piece (that could be done by a 3 year old) is worth more than a piece of art that requires years of practice and academic skills to accomplish.” publically voicing their disapproval of contemporary art. It’s all about the idea In the past, art had qualifications, guidelines, techniques and rules that clearly categorised art for its materialistic purposes. Thus the quality of a piece of art was quickly determined by the level of visible skills, use of color, evidence of the rules, techniques etc. But over time art has evolved from something materialistic and measurable in quality to something completely subjective. Contemporary art doesn’t have a definitive form or medium, neither does it follow rules, techniques, or qualifications established in the past. This then makes contemporary art impossible to measure in quality or legitimacy. “Art doesn’t have any meaning or any purpose. Like for chairs you have to be able to sit on it, and art doesn’t have this kind of objective.” -- Juliana Borinski Due to the shift of focus from aesthetics to concepts, the absence of visible skill generates controversy and ridicule. Through time the ‘focus’ and ‘definition’ of beauty has changed. An example would be the definition of feminine beauty in ancient China. At that time feminine beauty was defined by the weight of a woman (the heavier the better) whereas in the 21st century physical beauty is defined by how skinny a woman is. Just as people value the academic techniques visible in traditional art, people value the concepts and ideas behind contemporary art. Despite how art changed over time, the general public still searches for the traditional qualifications of art (such as use of color, visible techniques etc.) leading to shock and confusion when faced with art that doesn’t meet any of their qualifications. Thus, as art evolved throughout history, its purposes and values changed. The origin / history behind each contemporary art movement/genre explains its purpose and objective. By understanding the way contemporary art has evolved and its new ideals, we may be able to determine the beauty regarding the concept and/or the aesthetics in that piece of work. Strike By Richard Serra 54 // WHY
WHY // 55
+ Reasons of Ridicule
The Market In the 21st century, art has become a global commodity. Given its extraordinary prices ranging from thousands to billions of dollars, collecting art has become a symbol of status, a method of laundering money, and big business. Many have described the contemporary art scene as a place where “big disposable income comes to be disposed” or fig. 1 “ a case of the emperor’s new clothes” ridiculing the seemingly lack of effort or skill in the outrageously pricey art pieces. Many people don’t understand the idea that art collectors are willing to pay over 1.2 million USD for a canvas painted completely blue for example ( “ Untitled blue monochrome IKB 176” by Yves Klein in fig. 1 ) or 10,000 USD for thin air ( “ Invisible art” by Lana Newstrom ), when there are artists that excel in academic art skills who are neglected. Why do people pay millions for a blank canvas? “ The value of a piece of art is defined by those who purchase it. If you sold a pen cap for 5 million dollars, then its value would forever be 5 million dollars. When consumers of art pieces choose to believe an art piece is worth a certain amount of money the art piece becomes a tangible product “ --- Geeio Yuen The commercial value of a piece of art does not depict the quality of an art piece. Given that the quality of a piece is subjective, the commercial value of a piece may range from thousands to millions. However, being generally preoccupied by the prices of art pieces, the general public equates the commercial value of the art piece with its quality. For example - A book that has been passed down through generations in your family may be worth a lot to you, but to a stranger it may just be an ordinary book. In the same way contemporary art carries different values for different people who see different types of beauty in a piece of art. “ The hype doesn’t necessarily equate to the quality or importance of an art work. That is one reason for the strange phenomenon that sometimes contemporary art works seem wildly overpriced compared to past art works from recognized artists.” --- Frank Proctor The reasons people purchase art vary. Some may see beauty in it and decide that owning something beautiful is nice, just as any other art collector may collect traditional paintings. Some may see art as an investment, and some may see art as a symbol of status. 56 // WHY
WHY // 57
+ Reasons of Ridicule
People Aren’t Used to it “ Some art works have diverged very far from people’s everyday experiences. That doesn’t make them “bad art” but it means that people may not be willing or able to overcome the difficulties in understanding something that is far removed from things they can relate to. “ -- Frank Proctor When faced with situations we can’t exactly comprehend or understand, we tend to run away or forget about it. Given the general public’s limited knowledge behind the histories, origins, and background behind contemporary art, they may not understand most of the references made in the art pieces. “Art is full of references. Just like literature, when one book makes a reference to another book, under the circumstance that one hasn’t read the other book, one may not understand the reference the book is making. So the more you know, the more you get out of it.” -- Juliana Borinski Under the circumstance whereby the majority of the general public don’t know too much about contemporary art, they may feel intimidated or choose not to understand. “ We tend to be frightened of things we don’t understand. When we are frightened the response is either flight (run away or stop looking at the work) or fight (blame and insult the artwork/ the artist / the art institution).” -- Jane Deeth Contemporary art pushes us away with its unexpected form. When faced with this form of intimidation or confusion, it is our responsibility to approach art pieces with an open mind. Just as unconventional (sometimes shocking) cultural practices are respected by the general public, we should approach contemporary art with respect and acceptance for its avant garde nature. The LGBTQ+ community would be an example. Homosexuality still takes a rather controversial form today, but compared to the past has been widely accepted. Listed as a criminal offense in the past, homosexuality was viewed as taboo and wrong. But eventually under the grounds of cultural diversity/ sensitivity people have become more accepting. “ We have learned the languages for how to look at representation, expression and abstraction and the people who ridicule art are aware of the languages used for these three forms and are comfortable with them as they all require us to judge in some way. What these people are not so aware of is art that is about conversation and which therefore behaves differently. Judgment is not so useful a tool for looking at contemporary art the same way as it is not very useful for getting to know people.” -- Jane Deeth
58 // WHY
WHY // 59
+ Reasons of Ridicule
Superficial Artist Given contemporary art’s focus on conceptual art, the quality of ideas has become completely subjective. This has produced many superficial artists with superficial art pieces and also arrogant artists with superficial ideas. Many aspiring artists are then left with the impression that they are “masters” that people have not yet acknowledged. When art pieces are created with minimum effort and then sold at huge prices, people tend to question the legitimacy of the contemporary art industry. “A lot of people who call themselves artists are not doing it wholeheartedly. In my opinion a lot of contemporary art is just an imitation of something that was serious. There’s a superficial quality in art pieces or people who call themselves artists which I think is rightly ridiculed.” -- Jacqueline Shiu
60 // WHY
WHY // 61
+ Reasons of Ridicule
High Expectation The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
Taking a rather biblical form1 in art history, art served a purpose. Purposes such as recording history, decoration, visualising biblical texts, and tribute to God. In the past art had a measurable criterion to determine the quality of a piece of work whereas it is completely subjective. Because art was so impactful, so highly acclaimed and praised, people tended to carry the same expectations with art today. “ The general public apotheosizes art and expects too much from it when in reality it’s something rather simple. Given the expectations of something extremely detailed and academically crafted, when faced with something simple, they generally dismiss contemporary art as a joke.” -- Geeio Yuen The reality is that contemporary art has evolved into something simple and completely different from traditional art. Thus, I believe that our method of approaching such art needs to change. “People should see art as just an image or just a visual and not necessarily call it art. It’s just an image that gives you feeling, or a reflection of something. If you look at an apple you think of health or fruits, those are the things you think of. That is the extent to which art interacts with you, but you don’t have to go through the whole idea of how this is art, what should we do with it, how do we sell it. The word art carries so many expectations. So when people look at contemporary art they should just see it as an image that sparks their head, gets them thinking - expect less from it.” -- Jacqueline Shiu
1 Biblical form: Something people apotheosize; Carries a holy meaning
62 // WHY
WHY // 63
+ Reasons of Ridicule
Intention As previously mentioned, the appeal of art has shifted from aesthetics to concepts, ‘from what of art, to how of art.’ The intention of an artist may directly correlate with the way it is presented, its form, and its function. Within the book “ How Pleasure Works”, author Paul Bloom examines the connections between art and performance. ‘Art was created with the intention of an audience’ ---Paul Bloom Just as performance is created for an audience. Our taste of unorthodox art pieces is deeply rooted in our attraction to performances. Given our ability to appreciate what is visually attractive we also appreciate that of which is intended to be ugly, all justified by its intentions. Intentions matter. If an artist spilled paint on a canvas unintentionally it wouldn’t be considered art, whereas an artist with the intention of spilling paint on a canvas (Jackson Pollock) creates art. In cases like such, instead of seeing the artist as unable, we see the artists as creative. ‘We tend to like those who give us joy.’ --- Paul Bloom When a performance presents content that is bad in a comedic sense, we tend to enjoy it and accept it as something creative. Same goes with art. As the ironic and unorthodox nature of contemporary art stimulates thought and brings us joy in unusual means, we tend to enjoy it, and learn to appreciate it. The concept or intention behind each art piece could be considered a display or expression of one’s creativity or emotions, accomplishing what many claim to be the aim of art.
The Golden Pearl Unicorn in Space by Aelita Andre 64 // WHY
WHY // 65
+ Reasons of Ridicule
How art is presented The packaging of a bottle of water changes our desire to purchase it just as the display of an art piece changes our respect for it. Why do we spend extra money on bottled water when we could just drink the same quality of water from our taps? Why do companies invest millions in the development of a visually interesting / attention grabbing package? This is because the perceived quality of something is relative to the way something is presented. We choose to believe something is more or less valuable than it actually is. An experiment was conducted to test this very theory. This experiment involved professional wine tasters blind testing wine samples, under influence of the brand or type of wine claimed to be given to them. The study found that even professionals in the field of wine tasting favored cheap wine in the disguise of expensive wine, reinforcing the statement that quality is relative to its presentation. Another study was conducted by James Cutting, investigating how some french impressionists are more favourable than others. It was later found that those who are more favorable are those with more exposure in publications, and further research focused on the reason why. Many participants mentioned how artists published in publications are generally more publically approved and are known to be good, therefore their work is more favorable. Thus despite the actual quality of the work, work presented in a well-known publication is bound to receive praise. We choose to believe in what we think is the truth.
66 // WHY
WHY // 67
+ Approaching Art
+ Approaching Art
“ I think people are giving the word art way too much credit.” --- Jacqueline Shiu
One of the reasons people ridicule art is because of their expectations for what art should be based on art history. Given our expectations and tendency to compare contemporary art pieces with famous traditional art pieces, we are often “ let down ” by what we see.
With the absence of expectations, we could see an art piece for what it is instead of what we want it to be.
Let go of your expectations “ People should see art as just an image or just a visual and not necessarily call it art. It’s just an image that gives you feeling, or a reflection of something. When you look at art, it’s supposed to create a certain feeling.If you look at an apple you think of health or fruits, those are the things you think of and maybe that’s it. That is the extent to which art interacts with you, but you don’t have to go through the whole idea of how this is art, what should we do it, how do we sell it. The word art carries so many expectations. So when people look at contemporary art they should just see it as an image that sparks their head, gets them thinking, expect less from it.” -- Jacqueline Shiu 70 // What
WHAT // 71
+ Approaching Art Many of us often make a habit of following the ” I’m right, they’re wrong, they just don’t know it yet ” philosophy which leads us to become rather stubborn and unaccepting of change or new ideas. When faced with something as unorthodox as contemporary art, many are blinded by what they think is right or what they think art should be, thus dismissing contemporary art as nonsense.
By keeping an open mind, we see and understand much more. “ We should be humble enough to realize that our own opinion is not a universal objective standard.” -- Frank Proctor
72 // What
An Open Mind “ I think we need a new language. We have learned the languages for how to look at representation, expression and abstraction and the people who ridicule art are aware of the languages used for these three forms and are comfortable with them as they all require us to judge in some ways. What these people are not so aware of is art that is about conversation and which therefore behaves differently. Judgment is not so useful tool for looking at contemporary art the same way as it is not very useful for getting to know people. Looking at contemporary art takes time and acceptance of the flaws that a particular work has. In fact the flaws are the keys to what the work is asking viewers to consider.” -- Jane Deeth
WHAT // 73
+ Approaching Art
“ In order to completely understand a piece of art, you’re obligated to consider its context, the emotional state the artist was in during the process of creating the piece of work, the connections between current affairs and the artwork, its purpose, use of color etc. To have access to that spectrum of information you must be great friends with the artist, which incidentally no one has time for. ” -- Geeio Yuen
Look at pieces that make you happy To most, art is a privilege. Generally there isn’t time to completely understand a piece of art, so we should choose to approach pieces that catch our attention in ways that are not limited to visual beauty. “Art shouldn’t be brought up as something so prestigious or highly acclaimed, instead something everyone could have access to. So we should approach pieces regardless of its market value or artist, and focus on how that piece makes someone happy. There’s no point doing research on an art piece that doesn’t connect or interest the viewer; it would simply be a waste of time.” ------ Geeio Yuen
74 // What
WHAT // 75
+ Approaching Art “ We should put effort into trying to understand what was in the artist’s mind when she / he created it, what it says about our times or our world, and our reaction to it. And in any case, taking an art work on its own terms and articulating why we don’t like it will, in itself, enrich our minds. People should put some effort into trying to understand the artist’s motivations, and what she/he is trying to say. One of the wonderful things about art is that it can be a window onto the mind and ideas of another person. By trying to understand what is in the artist’s mind, we expand our own thought and consciousness. But even if we don’t like a piece of art, we should try to understand and articulate our own opinions about it.” --- Evelyna Yee
Try, just a bit It is meant to affect each of us differently. By asking yourself questions and making an effort to understand the piece, you’re making your connection with that piece. “ You should first ask yourself what is it. Try to answer it yourself. Try to get your own experience into that work and see if that would answer your inquiry.” --- Evelyna Yee
76 // What
WHAT // 77
+ Value of Art + Full Interview + Summary
+ Value of Art
Value of Art Art is meant to make life a little bit better. -- Evelyna Yee
One of the hazards in contemporary society is that we feel isolated, or become trapped within our own narrow ways of thinking. Art helps us open ourselves to new ideas, to feel less isolated. -- Frank Proctor
Art is all around us and it is part of our ways of life. It enriches our soul and enlightens our hearts. -- Geeio Yuen
Contemporary art is art that seeks to engage the viewer in conversations about aspects of life.
Art is kinda like love. You don’t really need it, it doesn’t affect your survival but it’s something that we all want. -- Jaqueline Shiu
Art could be so wide, everyone likes jokes. What would the world be like without laughter? -- Juliana Bolinski
I think of artists as the barometer of the society, so if you want to see their mind or the politics sometimes that is of a country or a society, go to an art exhibition. -- Karen Patterso
-- Jane Deeth
80 // Who
WHO // 81
Evelyna Yee How would you describe your work as an artist? I would consider myself as a grandma, a mother then artist. Which means that whatever I do, I like to put other people first, and to have other people as my priority. I also intend to make people happy in terms of both body and soul, happy eating, happy happy happy, just like a grandmother.
How do we differentiate art from trash? This question is too difficult to answer. It’s like the apple of the eye, one person’s trash could be another’s treasure. If you knew the background behind the piece of work your opinion may change. It’s like having a boyfriend, you may think he is great when others think otherwise.
How do you categorise contemporary art? A reaction to something that is happening now in our society. It is an expression to voice out your contemporary concerns about the society as well as contemporary thoughts. It is a method of expressing yourself. It’s contemporary so it can be anything.
How do you think the decreased demand of visible skill has changed the art scene? I can give you a two hour lecture on that! The contemporary art scene values concept over technique. It follows the trend. Just as people valued technique in the past, people value concepts now. But as of now the trend has started to drift closer back to the technical side of art.
How should we approach a piece of contemporary art? You first ask yourself what is it. What? You try to answer it yourself. Try to get your own experience into that work and see if that would answer your inquiry. If not then you could look into the artist’s concept. Why do people ridicule out? What you’re saying is quite true. A lot of contemporary artists could be quite superficial, or they could be somewhat pseudo philosophical, thinking that I have this great philosophy when in reality it isn’t a great philosophy. So they haven’t actually worked hard trying to get their concept out. Too many people are superficial. Is contemporary art a case of Emperor’s clothes? Yes and no. The story of the emperor’s clothes is the emperor being convinced that he is wearing something beautiful. This is because he thinks that if everyone else says that it’s beautiful it must be beautiful. That is what the contemporary scene is like. The media always comments on the art pieces saying that it’s beautiful or it is not beautiful then eventually we come to believe that it is true. Maybe we think it’s true when it actually isn’t. This is of the media’s fault, everything has to do with the phenomenon that is social media. 82 // Who
What should people look for in a piece of art? Depending on the perspective. What do you expect when you look at a piece of artwork? The artist would like the visitors to echo with the art piece. If I painted frozen, Anna, my piece would attract children but once the visitor goes beyond that age it means nothing. But if I brought an elder to look at this piece of art and their children were big fans of the franchise, would they see the frozen characters? or would they see their grandchildren? It all depends on who and how they echo/relate to the piece. How do you think art is necessary? Art is a way of expression. When you’re angry you have to make an angry expression. Art is like that, it is a medium of which you show the world you’re angry. The only difference is that it is presented in a more clear and straightforward manner. Do you have any advice? Art began as a way to make your life more pleasant. Just like cavemen, when they started having enough space enough food they wanted to get more comfortable. Then they realised I could weave myself a bed, I could make a house out of leaves etc. They then looked at the sky and saw something beautiful and decided it should be a sign for something, so they drew it on walls and on leaves. That was the beginning of art. Art is meant to make life a little bit better. WHO // 83
84 // Who
How do you categorise Art? I try not to rely too much on categories. It is too limiting if we try to pigeonhole art into specific categories. I try to look at each piece of art “ on its own terms. ” By that, I mean that I try to understand what was in the mind of the artist when she / he created the art work. I also believe it is important to reflect on the societal and cultural circumstances within which a particular art work was created and, of course, the artist’s overall mental outlook. One reason it is important to consider contemporary art in a different way from classical art is that we have centuries of perspective on classical art. Some people may believe that the level of artistic talent was higher in the past, before “contemporary” art. But the work of a select few classical artists, like Michaelangelo or Shakespeare or Su Shi, has stood the test of time. We know, however, that there were also scores of other painters and writers in those eras, some of whom were once very popular, whose works are no longer significant. How about the art that is being created now? No one really knows which contemporary artists’ contributions might still resonate with people 100 or 200 years in the future, and which ones will fade into insignificance. So we are on our own when it comes to contemporary art, and have to use our own critical thinking to evaluate it. And part of the enjoyment of contemporary art comes from the fact that the artist is responding to life in our own time, rather than a by gone era. How should people see contemporary art (given its abstract and confusing medium and form)? Should people understand the concepts? People should see a contemporary art work as the representation of one individual’s ( the artist’s ) thought and ideas. People should put some effort into trying to understand the artist’s motivations, and what she/he is trying to say. One of the wonderful things about art is that it can be a window onto
the mind and ideas of another person. By trying to understand what is in the artist’s mind, we expand our own thought and consciousness. Sometimes, even after contemplating an art work, I don’t understand what the artist is trying to say, or it doesn’t speak to me because it doesn’t relate to my own experience -- that is ok! Art is subjective, and it would be too much to expect that every single viewer would understand and appreciate a particular work of art. But even if we don’t like a piece of art, we should try to understand and articulate our own opinions about it. Why do you think our society ridicule the contemporary art scene so much? One important reason is that some art works have diverged very far from people’s everyday experiences. That doesn’t make them “ bad art ” but it means that people may not be willing or able to overcome the difficulties in understanding something that is far removed from things they can relate to. Not just in the world of art, but in other areas of life too, it is an unfortunate human instinct to make fun of things that we don’t understand. This doesn’t only happen in the abstract / contemporary part of the art world. Some people look down on graphic novels or comic books, and claim that that they do not count as worthwhile literary or visual works of art. Of course they are! The important thing is to consider them on their own terms and to think about whether the artist’s ideas and implementation are relevant to us and have something important to say. Personally, I admire artists like the contemporary composer John Adams, who went against the trend toward a tonal, highly abstract classical music of the 1960s and 1970s. He thought that music could be appealing or pleasing to the ear, yet still be important and relevant in contemporary times. Although I prefer Adams, I can still appreciate composers like John Cage, who composed the piece 4’33, a “ silent ” composition of
4 minutes 33 seconds when the audience is supposed to listen to, not music, but the sounds of the audience members around them. That was a bold and important musical statement at the time, although some listeners might dismiss it as nonsense. I think that Cage was very creative and was making important points with works like these, but that only becomes clear if we put some effort into trying to understand them. How is art necessary in our society / what is the value of Art? I think art is essential -- I am talking about the arts in general: visual arts, literature, music, etc. One of the hazards in contemporary society is that we feel isolated, or become trapped within our own narrow ways of thinking. Art helps us open ourselves to new ideas, to feel less isolated. It can help us see the world in a completely new way. And art, its best, can make us think about higher ideals. Not all artworks accomplish this, but without art and artists, it would be a much poorer and less interesting world. To someone without any knowledge of contemporary art, a well known piece may appear as trash or nonsense, do you have any advice to change that? My only advice is to realize that whether something is “ nonsense ” or not can be subjective. When we look at a piece of art, we should put effort into trying to understand what was in the artist’s mind when she / he created it, what it says about our times or our world, and our reaction to it. If, after putting in that effort, we can’t relate to the artwork or don’t understand it, we are perfectly justified to say we don’t like it and it doesn’t make sense to us. But we should be humble enough to realize that our own opinion is not a universal objective standard. And in any case, taking an art work on its own terms and articulating why we don’t like it will, in itself, enrich our minds. WHO // 85
GeeioYuen What kind of art do you produce? I’m not exactly a full time artist, on top of art I also do design. Design and art are two completely different things, so as a designer I would like to prevent myself from commercialising my art. So in terms of the art that I do, I’ve started a campaign called ‘Nice to Meet You’, where I take the opportunity to communicate with people around me whether they are those whom I’m familiar with or complete strangers. As I communicate with them and exchange stories I spend some time drawing a portrait of them as a documentation of that experience. Through this project I intend to capture art is something personal, something you use to communicate and something you use to express something. My intent for my art in general would be to bring something original and something interesting to our society. How do you categorise Art? Art is like water. Contemporary art is like steam, shapeless. Looking back into the early works of art you could clearly determine its form as it has specific qualifications that need to be met, or purposes to serve. Those art pieces usually don’t carry meaning, or emotions but is a physical art piece serving a religious purpose. Further on artists began movements in order to distance art from something with form, something with qualifications pushing art to its shapeless limits, by demolishing its previous values and ‘qualifications’. Examples would be how artists developed impressionism with the sole purpose to strip away the religious meaning in art, how Picasso developed Cubism to move away from form or Fauvism etc. Now our perception of art is completely different from the previous perception of art. Under the genre of contemporary there are performance arts, installations and art pieces that are considered happenings. This then begs the question, does art need a specific form or is the idea behind the work already enough? So contemporary art is like steam because it doesn’t carry a form and people are no longer able to justify what is and is not art through materialistic or physical means. Contemporary art now carries an immeasurable form similar to how steam is immeasurable; whilst having its existence undeniable. In my opinion, contemporary art is just trying to escape the expected. How should people see contemporary art? It really depends where. In order to completely understand a piece of art, you’re obligated to consider its context, the emotional state the artist was in during the process of creating the piece of work, the connections between current affairs and the artwork, its purpose, use of color etc. To have access to that spectrum of information you must be great friends with the artist, which incidentally no one has time for. I think art shouldn’t be brought up as something so prestigious or highly acclaimed, instead something everyone could have access to. So approaching pieces regardless of its market value or its artist, I believe the most important component is how the art piece makes someone happy. Because before understanding the concept behind the piece you must first be interested or attracted to it to a certain extent. I would say looking at art would be like looking at a window frame. Despite its function as a window frame, window frames only function as something entertaining to the eye, something that attracts attention, what matters is the scenery within it. Given a situation with a thousand window frames, one might stop in front of the most eye catching or visually stunning to further investigate. Same goes with art, you’re first visually attracted to the art piece when you feel some sort of connection with it, you then stop to generate inquiries and eventually begin to understand the piece. There’s no point on forcing someone to understand the concept behind a piece of art when they’re not interested to any degree. 86 // Who
Why do people ridicule contemporary art? People generally have too high of an expectation for art. The general public apotheosizes art and expect too much from it when in reality it’s something rather simple. Given the expectations of something extremely detailed and academically crafted, when faced with something simple, they generally dismiss contemporary art as a joke. The market and commercial value of art changes people’s perspectives on how much art is worth and eventually creates speculation on what should or should not be considered art. On top of tha the accumulation of artists who put minimal thought into their work changes people’s expectations. Do you think contemporary art is a case of Emperor’s clothes? I believe the market is a case of emperor’s clothes. I feel like the true value of art is within its process of creation, the final product is just a mere documentation. The decision of whether or not I should share this with the world in terms of commercialising my work is what changes things. There are extremely meaningful art pieces in our society that were not shared in a commercial sense. Say for example Art Basel in Hong Kong, instead of a gallery it appeared to be an Ikea decoration corner as people only sought to purchase works. It is the definition of value that really differentiates art from the art market, the value of a piece of art is defined by those who purchase it. If you sold a pen cap for 5 million dollars, then its value would forever be 5 million dollars. When consumers of art pieces choose to believe an art piece is worth a certain amount of money the art piece becomes a tangible product just as the emperor believed the invisible garment was a garment. How do you differentiate a piece of art from a pile of rubbish? It depends on your definition of trash, it all comes down to the purpose of the piece. To a certain extent trash could be a change of purpose for a specific object as opposed to being trash. Because what people are looking for in contemporary art is no longer the visible skills or the academic excellence portrayed in them, the concept, purpose or intent of the piece is what determines something to be art. Given the example of a pen cap. With the context being that the purpose of a pen cap is to cover a pen, in a situation where the pen cap has lost its pen it technically becomes trash. But by changing the purpose of the pen cap (for example, a tiny vase for a plant or its small volume is perfect for drinking medicine) you change the value of the pen cap. If an artist creates a pen cap with the purpose of it not fitting any pen we then ask the question, is a pen cap still a pen cap when it doesn’t fit any pen? Just like the piece of art René Magritte known as the treachery of images, it changes the way people think and stimulates original thought. So in order to categorise something as art you should first determine its purpose and the reason for its existence in this spectrum of time. How do you think the unconventional mediums have influenced the industry? I’m fearful of putting art on a peddle stool because it is meant for everyone, because it is a form of expression. The decreased demand for visible skill artworks has definitely allowed more people to expresse themselves. How is Art necessary in our society? Art is all around us and it is part of our ways of life. It enriches our soul and enlightens our hearts.
WHO // 87
What is the value of contemporary art? Contemporary Art is art that seeks to engage the viewer in conversations about aspects of life - they can be big or small things but in the end they are asking us to consider how we relate to the world around us.Conversations by definition need to have something unresolved about them otherwise there is no need to have a conversation. Proper conversations teach us something new. Why do people ridicule contemporary art? I think mostly people ridicule Contemporary Art because it does not behave as they would like it to - it is not made well enough or beautiful enough or about important things etc. I think as contemporary art needs to be unresolved in some way it doesn’t meet their expectations. They find this odd and scary. We tend to be frightened of things we don’t understand. When we are frightened the response is either flight (run away or stop looking at the work) or fight (blame and insult the artwork/ the artist / the art institution). How should we approach contemporary art? I think we need a new language. We have learned the languages for how to look at representation, expression and abstraction and the people who ridicule art are aware of the languages used for these three forms and are comfortable with them as they all require us to judge in some way. What these people are not so aware of is art that is about conversation and which therefore behaves differently. Judgment is not so useful tool for looking at contemporary art the same way as it is not very useful for getting to know people (we can’t tell a book by its cover). It is better to sit down and have a chat to find out what the person believes and values. Looking at contemporary art takes time and acceptance of the flaws that a particular work has. In fact the flaws are the keys to what the work is asking viewers to consider. To a certain degree it would be reasonable to believe that the whole contemporary art scene is a classic case of Emperor’s clothes, do you agree and why? I think it is a matter of confusion. Viewers are used to art being immediate not needing
88 // Who
to take time and work to understand. It is impossible to make sense of conversational contemporary artwork when viewers look at it using a formal aesthetic or expressionist way of looking. If they use a conversational form of engagement, such as outlined above, interpretation can improve. How do you think new mediums have changed the art scene as a whole? This kind of art invites us to consider a proposition or idea rather than think of art as purely aesthetic objects. This has been happening since Duchamp presented Fountain in 1917. This was the moment that shifted art into this philosophical or conversational phase. Fountain asked: What is the relationship between real life and art? How should we approach art? Step 1 Invite the viewer to select an artwork that is not liked or that we are not immediately drawn to.While this is counterintuitive, it is not that complicated to do. Step 2 Ask them to notice what seems right, wrong, out-of-place, strange, etc. The trick is to judge as we always have done, but rather than seeing our judgments as the end of the process, we use our judgments as a beginning. Step 3 Get the viewer to speak aloud or write down as many elements as possible. This is an important step I think. Looking carefully is important because a tiny detail could be pivotal. Speaking aloud or writing down is important because conversation is not in our heads, but rather, is the articulation of thoughts and feelings. The process of speaking provides the opportunity for us to hear what we are really saying. I include writing here, as writing is another way to articulate our thoughts. Step 4 Ask the viewer to gather the elements together to make a sense by converting what we have found into a conversation that has some value. WHO // 89
JacquelineShiu Who are you as an artist? I’m still trying to be an artist. I’ve recently just found my style and what I’m passionate about so I’ve kind of just begun on this journey as you say. I’m looking forward to completing a body of work because the more you do it the better you’ll get at it and it will evolve. I took up buddhism pretty much when I was born so quite religious. To me I’ve always wanted to do something meaningful with my life so I’ve combined my art with my religion. I guess this thing started a year ago and I’ve combined my painting and my design with this religious style, mostly using a lot of tanka elements. I’m hesitant to call myself an artist as I haven’t really exhibited in galleries or anything. What is your definition of contemporary art? My definition of contemporary art is very literal. It’s basically art that is been made now. Not even modern art, because modern art was made in the sixties now it’s contemporary art. So my definition of contemporary art is art that is being made in these few decades. I know everyone has a different style and I wouldn’t say this style is contemporary and that style isn’t contemporary because living in the times that we live now everyone’s art would have a time of presence. How should we approach contemporary art? I definitely think it would be good for people to understand contemporary art because I remember there was a time where I looked at contemporary art and I was like huh? like what’s going on. I think it’s part of an education and part of allowing people to develop subjective points of view and to voice their own opinion. It is to educate people on how to see something and critique it. I think it is important. No matter if it’s a piece of art or anything, we should be able to see a piece of art and 90 // Who
respond to it. What is your opinion on the notion: contemporary art is something anyone could’ve done but didn’t do? I think that is an unfair statement because everybody could do it, but if you could do it then why didn’t you do it. This is from my teaching experience, most of my students just sit there like blank not knowing what to do. The difficult part is coming up with the idea, the easy part is to solidify the idea. Its the coming up of the idea that people don’t take into consideration. Why is contemporary art being ridiculed? Personally I think contemporary is being ridiculed because a lot of people who call themselves artists are not doing it wholeheartedly, if you’re really serious about something and put all your effort into creating it and trying to really express yourself, then even though the object that you create may look ridiculous the effort always shows through and you could be appreciated for your efforts. In my opinion a lot of contemporary art is just an imitation of something that was serious, there is this kind of superficial quality of contemporary art forms. I wouldn’t want to call it contemporary art but there’s a superficial quality in art pieces or people who call themselves artists which I think is rightly ridiculed. How has new mediums transformed the art industry? I personally don’t like it, because it makes people lazy. But it’s unfair to say it implies to every single artist, as I’m sure that there is a contemporary artist that truly believes in what they’re doing. They have a desire to sell thin air for example. Again, I think its about whether you think that price the certificate that you want, what is that they want from this piece
of art, why are they paying this sum to buy it, does it make them look better, does it remind them of certain things, or are they just buying it so they could sell it for a higher price. Is contemporary art a case of Emperor’s clothes? I wouldn’t say yes as that would belittle Contemporary Art, I can see the comparison but instead of saying it should be ridiculed its Emperor’s clothes it doesn’t exist or saying it exists, the value is that it has a meaning. Because Emperor’s clothes is a meaningful story, so if you say contemporary art is a comparison to that story then it has its values in a sense that it has meaning given to contemporary art as well. So I wouldn’t use the emperor’s clothes as a comparison but I can see contemporary is more about the meaning than the actual clothes. Its not about having the actual clothes there rather I would dwell on the meaning behind the story. What is the value of Art? It is only called a piece of art because it is being called a piece of art. If you talk about throwing millions dollars worth of art away, I would say I never thought that art should be worth that much. Because as an artist (of course if someone bought my painting for a million bucks I would be very happy) I would never pay a million bucks for a piece of artwork. I just think once you get to the speculation (bidding etc.) it’s not about the art anymore. I think the value of arts is created by demand, and the demand of that particular piece of art is created by the popularity. You can’t clearly distinguish art from a piece of trash. I But then the people who buys the art are the people who see the value in it, it’s not the artists themselves buying the art. Couple years ago we went to the Hong Kong Art Fair and there was an installation of a lot of duct tapes and it was coiled and created a huge mountain of duct tape. It costed around 600,000 HKD, and a friend of our asked about the piece of artwork saying that it was 600,000 HKD. However it will be much cheaper,
200,000 if we give you the duct tape and the certificate to take home. Of course there is a concept in this installation and the act of paying this sum of money to create the artwork is another concept. So I guess the more important question is how much does money worth to you. It’s not about how much the piece of art is worth to you it’s about how much money is worth to you.
Further advice? Art is kinda like love. You don’t really need it. It doesn’t affect your survival but it’s something that we all want. Everyone wants to fall in love, wants to be in love, wants to be loved. It’s a little bit like arts on a very basic level. You want fashion, or if you’re buying a car you want it a certain color. So in terms of that it’s important and it makes our lives more meaningful. For me when I look at a painting I’m like, wow it looks so nice, I really like the texture and I really like the texture, the edges, the difference in color, it’s a treat. Kind of like love, you don’t need a boyfriend you don’t need a husband but it kind of makes you happy when you have one. You don’t need it but it’s nice that it’s there.
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92 // Who
Tell me about yourself, what kind of art do you create and who are you as an artist? My name is Juliana Borinski, and I work in experimental photography [which] borders of expanded cinema which is a genre of cinema as installation, and I’m trying to create different artworks to open up the mind. Artists like me aim to break the rhythm of life that is working sleeping, eating, in order to enable people to daydream, imagine and generate some sort of inspiration. What is your definition of Art? Art is very wide. It could be a book, it doesn’t always have to be a painting or a photograph. It can really transcend all kinds of media. Art is also architecture, how to build a house, how to make a chair. There are also artists that say cooking is a form of art. What kinds of things do you think highly influence the way people view art? That’s very individual. When I go into a museum not all pieces of art talk to me, it also happens that I don’t understand anything when I’m watching something that is exposed to a museum and is considered art. Maybe it’s because of my limited knowledge about the context and background of the piece. Looking at art is like learning a language. When one learns a language you first familiarize yourself with the vocabulary, then the grammar, then the sentence. In order to appreciate art, the more you know the more you get out of it. Like reading one book may make a reference to another book, but without reading the other book one may not understand the reference. How do you want people to see your art and how do you think they see your art? For my art pieces I’m referring to a lot of experimental stuff in the early 20th century, and my big inspiration comes from Man Ray or Marcel Duchamp. They were experimenting with different techniques and materials and were working with surrealism / conceptual art. So I agree with what Marcel Duchamp said :” It’s up to the visitor. You can dispose some kind of art or art pieces, and you don’t impose your vision of it.” So its all up to those who look at it and what they think of it. Thats also the freedom that art gives, and because everything else is the society is like, there is a red light ( lets say you’re driving a car), so you’re accustomed to stop, but a piece of art could be playing with green light which drives you out of your comfort zone, interfering with your normal knowledge of what to do. How do you think the increasing lack of technical skill in the contemporary world has
changed the art society? ( For examples an artist painted an entire canvas blue and sold it for a lot of money but was heavily criticised based on how its so simple ) That artist was Yve Klein, he was working with a special kind of blue color he created, and he got to know that because of this really special kind of color that he probably died because of how it was really toxic. He was also a conceptual artist. Art was originally considered a representation of something real, the first pieces of art ( Modern Art ) started with the craziness that was making dots of lights or shadows. Modern art took off from there and newer means of art were heavily criticised. Photography or even cinema didn’t really have any recognition in the arts field because it isn’t made by hand, instead its the machines that do the work of capturing reality. Now a hundred years have passed, and cinema and photography are considered art, all these standards are changing, culture is constantly changing, language is constantly changing. Art is a mirror of our society, you’re living in your environment. I think artists should try to reflect on the contemporary discussions, political situations, try to the find the language people use. Media art is heavily criticised nowadays, and considered not a part of this general art field. But I think it’s just like the brush of a painter, the medium is changing, before they painted with canvases and now they film with film. What differentiates art from nonsense? I think there is a really simple answer to that question. Because art doesn’t have any meaning (from the perspective of a conceptual artist) or any purpose. Like for chairs you have to be able to sit on it, and art doesn’t have this kind of objective. I think you need a lot of skills, art is very underestimated, not a lot of people take it seriously it’s true. Mostly people think artists are lazy, they don’t think they work and they [ the artists themselves ] tell you it’s the exact opposite. Imagine an enterprise with 50 people working, and just one person taking up those jobs. So you’re doing 50 different jobs. Do you have anything to add? What’s your opinion on this thesis? I think everybody needs art in some kind of form. But not everybody knows it that clearly, I don’t know. It’s like when you walk around you see everything in color, and imagine the world in black and white. Without any color I think this would be a world without art. To be very simple at least. Art could be so wide, everyone likes jokes. What would the world be like without laughter? WHO // 93
KarenPatterson How do you categorise Art? Art I like and art I don’t like? I would say starting from the top you focus down, I would say that there is kind of like conceptual, abstract, then art that is neither conceptual or abstract. I didn’t know much about conceptual art before I moved to Beijing and I have studied Art, Art History, Photography in Canada for three years and I didn’t understand what conceptual art was until I moved to Beijing and I met chinese conceptual artists and performance artists. Then I learned what difference between conceptual art is and everything else. So I would separate art into those three categories. How should we approach contemporary art? People who look at art in a sense where they either consume or they go to art exhibitions. Anybody who has the ability to go into a gallery could get something out of it, you don’t have to have a PhD in Art History or Art critic to understand work. Some people feel intimidated or overwhelmed or out of the loop or not part of the group going to an art thing and that is why art and artists are a lot more approachable in China than they are North American. So it’s easier for people to get something out of art sometimes in other countries because you’re not covered with who is who or what is what, things like that. So I would say that if people who want to go to an art exhibition and get something out of it, anyone could do that and they should have an open mind ask questions and try as much as possible to read about the artists so read the news read about the work, if the artist is at the tendons exhibition ask them about the work. Be consistent, if art interests you go to as many art exhibitions as possible, different artists etc. Make it a hobby. From that hobby you might get an idea of what you might like and what you don’t like if you 94 // Who
see a variety of art over a period of time. Why do people ridicule the contemporary art scene so much? A lot of people don’t understand it and thinks that there is too much to understand. It’s intimidating or overwhelming of it and they’re critical of that of which they do not understand. However if you are dealing with certain kinds of art, like art dealing with nudity, or performance arts. That is when you really need to understand the concept behind the piece of art instead of just someone running around naked. You have to approach it as if you’re inquiring the concept about it. People mock it and ridicule it to express a certain kind of fear, for example on a large scale example: The chinese government is threatened by Chinese avant garde and Chinese contemporary art. It’s not that they don’t want to understand it, it’s that they avoid understanding it because they believe that it could have power over the society. Different cultures and different artists treat different types of art differently. Is contemporary art Emperor’s clothes? That is an interesting question and I think it goes back to the artist. People thinking that the artist is sort of arrogant or is showing off it doesn’t have any clue about the society. I would say that there is give and take on both side. It’s not always the artist that is the Emperor. It’s sometimes the audience, the society. As contemporary art explored new mediums, how do you think the industry has changed? High test concept art. It’s easy for people to walk by it and not get it. It was a movement at some point, where different artists would use different kinds of medium to create art but
avoiding a tangible object. Following the philosophy that “I’m making art but I don’t want to make something that could be bought or sold”, so the guy selling the thin air is making the exact statement, making a mock of the art world in terms of consumables. So the artists who live well by making paintings and making photos or selling videos are tangible objects that could be bought and sold. So there are artists who purposely make something that could not be bought or sold. Performance art is a good example or making something out of water or air that is more in the moment. How do you deem good art? You know the saying “one man’s poison is another man’s meat” so what you like and what you think is successful may not be what I think is successful. So when an art critic or an art historian or a chinese artist or an american collector would obviously have our own opinions about a piece of work, it’s not good or bad, it’s more successful in the execution of the concept. You could look at the concept of being successful, you could also look at the quality of craftsmanship. People don’t like the word craftsmanship, but it’s the technicalities of how everything is made. Sometimes you go to a gallery and see an art piece and it is not very well done, but the concept is good but the actual execution of the physical thing is not very good. It’s a layered answer of looking at a piece. Some people break it down. But you could have a very beautiful object that has no meaning or concept or hasn’t been successful on transmitting the concept or the opposite it would really depend of how you’re looking at it.
essay about how society reaches it highest peak by having or engaging in the arts. So if the society is not well positioned or it’s having troubles, it hasn’t found itself, it’s going to have a harder time having unified or established art scenes compared to a country that may be safe. Countries under war typically won’t put arts funding as a priority, a country that is relatively safe ( fear from external war terrorism) is probably going to have more access and abundance in art compared to a country under war. Another thing is that as much as everybody in society might not engage all the time at the same time in art with the same level, it is important in the society. I think of artists as the barometer of the society so if you want to see their mind or the politics sometimes that is of a country or a society, go to an art exhibition. You could get a pretty good idea of what’s going on with a physique of a society by exploring the arts.
How do you think art is necessary in our society? When I was in university there was a book or an WHO // 95
Art has evolved. Its standard of beauty, values and mediums, all have changed. But what most people oversee is the fact that those changes occurred with reason. Historical events, people, and movements have influenced the changed definition of art, values of beauty, and choice of mediums. Being more accustomed to previous traditional means of art people remain reluctant to accept something new, reluctant to give in to change. We face an odd form of intimidation, one of which we canâ€™t understand or comprehend. Just like the first time trying a different type of cuisine, the first time talking to someone new, the first time riding a bike. We begin with an irrational fear, irrational reluctance. Upon trial and experience we realise how much weâ€™ve been missing out, how wonderful it is to try. Sometimes we have to take a risk.
Risk our feeling of stability, significance, security, and give in to change, and I promise you it would be well worth it.
Heads On by Cai Guo Qiang 96 // Who
WHO // 97
Appendix + Profile of the interviewee + Bibliography + Further Reading
+ Bibliography of the Contributing Artists
Upon graduation from University of British Columbia in the early 1970s, Evelyna is the founder of “ Garden Streams – Hong Kong Fellowship of Christian Artists ” in the 1980s, and organized the “ Art in the Camp ” in response to the Vietnamese boat people residing in detention camps which was supported by the UNHCR and also the International Rescue Funds from New York. She has also associated herself with the formation of “Art in Hospital” in 1994, founded “Art for All” to advocate art on the grassroots level and done several art exhibitions across Asia (typically addressing women’s issues). Additional to such, she has taught in youth art classes in Cambodia and Tsinghai, China, as well as Polytechnic University of Hong kong.
Jane Deeth is an arts writer, curator and educator. With over 20 years of emersion in the visual arts across the gamut of roles, she has had much experience with the controversy of art. She has earned a PhD in art theory from the Tasmanian School of Art and have proceeded to teach at the Art School, design theory at the Furniture School and now teaches arts administration at the Polytechnic.
Frank Proctor Frank was born in the United States and moved from New York to live in Hong Kong in 1997. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in history, he received his Master of Philosophy in international relations at Cambridge University in the U.K., and later an M.B.A. at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Frank was publisher of a Hong Kong arts and culture magazine called Muse, from 2007-2011. Before that, Frank spent 14 years as an executive at Newsweek magazine, and served as Newsweek’s General Manager for Asia from 1997-2005. He currently runs a book publishing company that publishes bilingual, translated, and original English works, in both printed and electronic form. He enjoys studying and collecting art. Geeio Yuen After studying in Birmingham City University, Geeio has done over 30 shows around Hong Kong. He has started movements such as the “ Nice to meet you campaign ”, “ Anita Mui: Charm at ease ”, “ People I meet, People I know ”, “ Capture life in motion ” etc. He has designed for a few famous local Pop Artists, concerts, and magazines. Jacqueline Shiu
Jane also helps run an organisation that develops an audience for contemporary art by establishing connections with arts organisations on public programs relating to contemporary art ( New Audiences for Art ). She is also the winner of several major prises such as Heritage Awards - Promotion of Heritage Category, Museums Australia MAPDA Award 2012, and Individual Artists Grant 2014 for Interactive Content Creation. Additional to such she is part of ( and directs several ) a variety of different organisations such as Looking at Landscape, Active Audiences for Art Workshops, and New Audiences for Art Juliana Borinski Born in in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1979 Juliana is now based in Paris. She studied Academy of Media Art Cologne ( KHM ) in Germany where she graduated with an Master of Fine Arts in Media Arts(graduate degree typically requiring 2–3 years of postgraduate study) and further continued to study in the Villa Arson, art school in Nice ( FR ) for 2 years. During 2011- 2012 she was guest lecturer at the Free Arts department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) Ghent (BE). She has been nominated and awarded for different art prices, notably the Karl Schmitt-Rottluff grant for exceptional artistic talent 2012 (Ger), Time is Light Award 2011 (Ger), Update II & IV Zebrastraat Gent 2012 & 2008 (BE) in collaboration with ZKM (Ger), Aide à la création DRAC Île de France 2011 (FR) Tiger Award, Rotterdam 2011 (NL). Karen Patterson Karen is a cross cultural trainer / artist / entrepreneur currently stationed in Calgary Canada. She is a MA candidate at RRU and business startup mentor. Working with students and artists from a variety of different countries she has substantial understanding of the cultural aspects of art. She also use to teach visual arts at a variety of different schools, carrying a substantial amount of knowledge in art history and photography.
With a Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California, Jacqueline has taught art in schools across Hong Kong and is now working as a private art teacher. She has extensive experience with children and people who are new to art and new to understanding the concepts of traditional art. She works with traditional art techniques and mediums as opposed to contemporary mediums.
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Appendix // 101
Works Cited Adams, Ansel. Moon and Half Dome. 1960. Black and white. - - -. Moon and Half Dome. 1960. Black and white. Andrea, Pat. Volcano. 2009. mixed media on paper. Nouvelle Subjectivite. - - -. Volcano. 2009. mixed media on paper. Nouvelle Subjectivite. Anonymous. “The difference between Modern Art & Contemporary Art” [“The difference between Modern Art & Contemporary Art”]. Daily Inspiration. Ed. Daily Inspiration. Daily Inspiration, n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2015. <http:// www.dailyinspiration.nl/the-difference-between-modern-and-contemporary-art/>. - - -. “The difference between Modern Art & Contemporary Art” [“The difference between Modern Art & Contemporary Art”]. Daily Inspiration. Ed. Daily Inspiration. Daily Inspiration, n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2015. <http://www.dailyinspiration.nl/the-difference-between-modern-and-contemporary-art/>. Art. “Marilyn’s Iconic Photo from “The Seven Year Itch”” [“Marilyn’s Iconic Photo from “The Seven Year Itch””]. Arts-Stew. Ed. Arts-Stew. Arts-Stew, 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Sept. 2015. <http://www.arts-stew.com/classic-stars/ marilyn-monroe/marilyns-iconic-photo-from-the-sevenyear-itch/>.
June 2014. Web. 21 June 2015. <https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=pyy4B8RxBEY>.
Artsnova. “Computer Art and Artist Quotes” [“Computer Art and Artist Quotes”]. Artsnova. Ed. Artsnova. Artsnova, 24 June 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2015. <http://www.artsnova.com/computer-art-quotes.html>.
- - -. The Secret History of Contemporary Art | Episode 3 |Sean Landers | Artist. Youtube. Youtube, 10 July 2014. Web. 21 June 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=oztde4Aei40&feature=iv&src_vid=pyy4B8RxBEY&annotation_id=annotation_3366788781>.
The Art Story, ed. “Fluxus Movement” [“Fluxus Movement”]. The Art Story. Ed. The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015. <http://www.theartstory.org/movement-fluxus.htm>. The Arty Factory. “Art Movements and Styles in Modern Art” [“Art Movements and Styles in Modern Art”]. The Art Factory. Ed. Arty Factory. Artyfactory, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. <http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/ timelines/modern_art_timeline.htm>. Azevedo, Néle. “Ice men by nele azevedo in belfast, Ireland” [“ice men by nele azevedo in belfast, ireland”]. Designboom. Ed. Nina Azzarello et al. Designboom, 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://www.designboom.com/art/nele-azevedo-in-belfast/>. - - -. “Ice men by nele azevedo in belfast, Ireland” [“ice men by nele azevedo in belfast, ireland”]. Designboom. Ed. Nina Azzarello et al. Designboom, 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://www.designboom.com/art/ nele-azevedo-in-belfast/>. Azevedo, Nele. Melting Men. 2009. Ice cubes.
Art Observed, ed. “London – Georg Baselitz: “Farewell Bill” at Gagosian Gallery through March 29th, 2014” [“London – Georg Baselitz: “Farewell Bill” at Gagosian Gallery Through March 29th, 2014 - See more at: http:// artobserved.com/2014/03/london-georg-baselitz-farewell-bill%E2%80%9D-at-gagosian-gallery-throughmarch-29th-2014/#sthash.2T7FwXKB.dpuf”]. Art Observed. Ed. Art Observed. Art Observed, 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://artobserved.com/2014/03/ london-georg-baselitz-farewell-bill%E2%80%9D-at-gagosian-gallery-through-march-29th-2014/>. - - -, ed. “London – Georg Baselitz: “Farewell Bill” at Gagosian Gallery through March 29th, 2014” [“London – Georg Baselitz: “Farewell Bill” at Gagosian Gallery Through March 29th, 2014 - See more at: http://artobserved.com/2014/03/london-georg-baselitz-farewellbill%E2%80%9D-at-gagosian-gallery-through-march29th-2014/#sthash.2T7FwXKB.dpuf”]. Art Observed. Ed. Art Observed. Art Observed, 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://artobserved.com/2014/03/london-
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- - -. Melting Men. 2009. Ice cubes. Baeder, John. John’s Diner with John’s Chevelle. 2007. Oil on canvas. - - -. John’s Diner with John’s Chevelle. 2007. Oil on canvas. Baselitz, Georg. Auch Wirt Lern Helm Mich (Able fwill red). 2013. Oil on canvas. Gagosian Gallery. - - -. Auch Wirt Lern Helm Mich (Able fwill red). 2013. Oil on canvas. Gagosian Gallery.
- - -. The Secret History of Contemporary Art | Episode 3 |Sean Landers | Artist. Youtube. Youtube, 10 July 2014. Web. 21 June 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=oztde4Aei40&feature=iv&src_vid=pyy4B8RxBEY&annotation_id=annotation_3366788781>.
stored”]. The New York Times. Ed. The City Room. The New York Times, 5 Sept. 2007. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/harings-crack-is-wack-mural-is-being-restored/>. - - -. “Haring’s ‘Crack Is Wack’ Mural Is Being Restored” [“Haring’s ‘Crack Is Wack’ Mural Is Being Restored”]. The New York Times. Ed. The City Room. The New York Times, 5 Sept. 2007. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/harings-crack-iswack-mural-is-being-restored/>. Christie’s The art People, ed. “Sale 8052” [“Sale 8052”]. Christie’s The art People. Ed. Christie’s The art People.
- - -. The Secret History of Contemporary Art | Episode 2 | Amy Phelan | Art Collector. Youtube. Youtube, 3 July 2014. Web. 21 June 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=zZV2PMFsh1Y>.
Christie’s The art People, 12 Feb. 2012. Web. 27 Aug. 2015. <http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/ yves-klein-untitled-blue-monochrome-5533772-details. aspx>.
- - -. The Secret History of Contemporary Art | Episode 2 | Amy Phelan | Art Collector. Youtube. Youtube, 3 July 2014. Web. 21 June 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=zZV2PMFsh1Y>.
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BITE Spring 2013. Print. AN blog, ed. “Jennifer Steinkamp Turns the Contemporary Art Museum Inside Out” [“Jennifer Steinkamp Turns the Contemporary Art Museum Inside Out”]. AN blog. Ed. An Blog. AN blog, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Sept. 2015. <http://blog.archpaper.com/2013/10/on-view-jennifersteinkamp-turns-the-contemporary-art-museum-st-louis-inside-out/#.Vgu_UROqqko>. Brown, Mark. “Haywards gallery’s invisible show: ‘the best exhibition you’ll never see’” [“Haywards gallery’s invisible show: ‘the best exhibition you’ll never see’”]. The Guardian. Ed. The Guardian. The Guardian, 18 May 2012. Web. 30 Aug. 2015. <http://www.theguardian. com/artanddesign/2012/may/18/hayward-gallery-invisible-show>.
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104 // Appendix
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106 // Appendix
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Appendix // 107
+ Further Reading
Ravenel 1 Nov. 2014. Print.
Theartworkproject, ed. “Don Judd” [“Don Judd”]. Don Judd. Tumblr, 11 Aug. 2013. Web. 20 June 2015. <http:// Rivero, Daniel. “‘Pretty is Not Important’: Mock Kids Book donjudd.tumblr.com/page/6>. Pokes Fun At Modern Art” [“‘Pretty is Not Important’: Mock Kids Book Pokes Fun At Modern Art”]. Fusion. Ed. Fusion. - - -, ed. “Don Judd” [“Don Judd”]. Don Judd. Tumblr, 11 Fusion, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 23 June 2015. <http://fusion. Aug. 2013. Web. 20 June 2015. <http://donjudd.tumblr. net/story/4952/pretty-is-not-important-mock-kids-book- com/page/6>. pokes-fun-at-modern-art/>. Torres, Louis, and Michelle Marder Kamhi. “Morley Safer and Murphy Brown Take on the Experts” [“Morley Safer - - -. “‘Pretty is Not Important’: Mock Kids Book Pokes and Murphy Brown Take on the Experts”]. Aristos. Ed. Fun At Modern Art” [“‘Pretty is Not Important’: Mock Kids Louis Torres. Aristos Foundation Incorporation, 1994. Book Pokes Fun At Modern Art”]. Fusion. Ed. Fusion. Fu- Web. 23 June 2015. <http://www.aristos.org/backissu/ sion, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 23 June 2015. <http://fusion. yesbutis.htm>. net/story/4952/pretty-is-not-important-mock-kids-bookpokes-fun-at-modern-art/>. - - -. “Morley Safer and Murphy Brown Take on the Experts” [“Morley Safer and Murphy Brown Take on the Rouse, Ilva. “Richard Serra” [“Richard Serra”]. museuo Experts”]. Aristos. Ed. Louis Torres. Aristos Foundation reina sofia. Ed. Museuo reina sofia. museuo reina sofia, Incorporation, 1994. Web. 23 June 2015. <http://www. n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015. <http://www.museoreinasofia. aristos.org/backissu/yesbutis.htm>. es/en/exhibitions/richard-serra>. Visual Art Cork. “Contemporary Art Movements” [“ContemSafer, Morley. “Even in Tough times, Contemporary art porary Art Movements”]. Visual Arts Cork. Ed. Visual Arts sells” [“Even in tough times, contemporary art sells”]. 60 Cork. Visual Arts Cork, n.d. Web. 21 June 2015. <http:// Minutes. Ed. CBS. CBS, 1 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 June 2015. www.visual-arts-cork.com/contemporary-art-movements. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/even-in-tough-times- htm#conceptualism>. contemporary-art-sells/>. - - -. “Contemporary Art Movements” [“Contemporary Art - - -. “Even in Tough times, Contemporary art sells” [“Even Movements”]. Visual Arts Cork. Ed. Visual Arts Cork. Visual in tough times, contemporary art sells”]. 60 Minutes. Ed. Arts Cork, n.d. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://www.visualCBS. CBS, 1 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 June 2015. <http:// arts-cork.com/contemporary-art-movements.htm#conwww.cbsnews.com/news/even-in-tough-times-contem- ceptualism>. porary-art-sells/>. Visual Arts Cork. “Contemporary Art” [“Contemporary - - -. Yes..But is it Art? CBS News. CBS, 12 Sept. 1993. Art”]. Visual Arts Cork. Ed. Visual Arts Cork. Visual Arts Web. 23 June 2015. <http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/ Cork, n.d. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://www.visual-artsyesbut-is-it-art/>. cork.com/contemporary-art.htm>. - - -. Yes..But is it Art? CBS News. CBS, 12 Sept. 1993. Web. 23 June 2015. <http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/ yesbut-is-it-art/>. Serra, Richard. Betxixt the Torus and the Sphere. 2001. Weatherproof Steel. - - -. Betxixt the Torus and the Sphere. 2001. Weatherproof Steel. “60 Beautifully Modern and Inspirational Magazine / Book Layouts” [“60 Beautifully Modern and Inspirational Magazine / Book Layouts”]. Inspiration Hut. DISQUS, n.d. Web. 19 June 2015. <http://inspirationhut.net/inspiration/60-beautifully-modern-and-inspirational-magazine-book-layouts/>. Souvenir 7 Sept. 2013. Print.
108 // Appendix
- - -. “Contemporary Art” [“Contemporary Art”]. Visual Arts Cork. Ed. Visual Arts Cork. Visual Arts Cork, n.d. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/contemporary-art.htm>.
Jane Deeth’s TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjh7b5yP2Vc Engaging Strangeness in the Art Museum: an audience development strategy Jane Deeth https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/museumsociety/documents/ volumes/deeth28.pdf How Pleasure Works Paul Bloom Gifts of the MUSE reframing the debate about the benefits of the Arts Kevin F McCarthy, Elizabeth H Ondatje, Laurai Zakaras, Arthus Brooks The effort heuristic Justin Kruger, Derrick Wirtz, Leaf Van Boven, T. William Altermattc Taking out the guesswork: Guide to using research to build Arts Audiences Bob Harlow Wallace Studies in Building Arts Audiences by Bob Harlow, Thomas Alfieri, Aaron Dalton, and Anne Field Cultivating Demmand for the Arts: Arts learning, Arts engagement and State Arts Policy Laura Zakaras, Julia F Lowell Thriving Arts Organisation, Thriving Arts: What we know about building audiences for the Arts and what we still have to earn Pamela Mendels MoMa Learning https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/what-is-modern-art Metropolitain Museum http://www.metmuseum.org/ Whitney Museum http://whitney.org/ The New Museum http://www.newmuseum.org/ The Arty Factory http://www.artyfactory.com/ Visual Arts Cork http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/ // 109
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2016 Tiffany Ng