‘That’s Not Art!’
Many students tell me about how they are turned off by contemporary art exhibitions or are confused by the present art world. I am not going to take a side, rather give a deeper explanation, and let you make up your mind.
People creating Art in the u.k are now put into 3 categories, established artists (about %10) outsider artists (practicing artists but not big names) and amateur artists.
Art, is now a much wider encompassing word than it used to be. Contemporary art is not art as we have previously understood it because it is about design, not craftsmanship. This change happened in the 60s but really started with the invention of photography because it was no longer necessary for art to be about representation. Art can now be about anything you like, from Manga cartoons to piles of bricks.
Primarily, Art is a reflection of the society that creates it. For example, cave paintings depict the world of those that created them and Andy Warhol prints depict the U.S world of consumerism and celebrity. The big name established artists such as Tracy Emin fit into this understanding of Art History because her work reflects her culture, liberal capitalism.
The outsider artist still reflects their culture but is not constrained by any idea of what is ‘good’ or ‘relevant’ by the art establishment.
Amateurs primarily use traditional skills and create purely representational art.