Term Paper: What Is Art Now?

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¶ … art now?

What is Art Today?

One of the questions that the Art Now series brought to the table was "What is art today?" Today, it doesn't seem like there is a lack of art anywhere in the world. However, what constitutes 'real' art? And when we think of art, do we also have to think of its purpose? Does art need meaning and purpose in order to constitute art? The art world tends to imply that art can be anything as long as the person who created in says it is. However, what is it that drives people to become artists and what is it that makes them successful as opposed to others who never achieve success in their art? After the series, perhaps it is not crazy to come to the realization that artists' success is directly related to commercial interests. If an artist is going to sell a piece of work and get good money for it, then that means that there has to be a purpose for that piece of art and there has to be some kind of demand for it. For example, in the case of Bruno Billio, his installation pieces have been used in fashionable hotels where the commercial idea is to give the hotel a certain highbrow feel. "Also at play is the artist's allusion to luxury culture; the contemporary phenomenon of a distorted supply and demand" (Billio 2011). Billio's art often uses objects such as a chair, suitcase, or book -- common objects that speak "to an ambivalent need for the bracketed re-insertion of nostalgia and the personal into the context of commodity culture" (2011). However, in using objects in his installation pieces, which he calls art, the question that comes to mind is "Is this really art?" It will be argued here that art can be defined by the viewer and not necessarily by the artist and in many cases with what we consider 'modern art,' it is the experience that is created that is the art, rather than the piece itself.

One of the issues that come up with the type of artwork that Billio creates is how an object can embody art. The art then seems to be in the way in which an individual views the object rather than in the object itself. There is really nothing inherent in the object that can constitute it as a piece of artwork. Yet, we still call this 'art.' The art is not necessarily, in the case of Billio, in the artist, but rather in the person viewing the object. But the viewer will still think that they are seeing something that is art, because that is the name that it has been given. So perhaps what we call the 'artist' should be renamed because that person is not necessarily creating a piece of art, but rather, they are creating an experience. Not everyone thus will view the object and think that it is art. So like beauty is in the eye of the behold -- so is art, and it is up to the viewer to constitute whether or not something is art.

Of course this point-of-view could have a dramatic effect on the art world because how are people -- curators, critics, historians, etc. -- going to decide what constitutes real art and what does now? If we are to think in these terms that it is almost impossible to say for certain what art is. Art lacks a definition that makes one satisfied. Again, using the example of Billio, today his work is regarded as art, but there is no way of maintaining that his pieces would have constituted as art in the past or that they will constitute as art in the future. However, looking at a piece of art like the Mona Lisa is entirely different. The question then is "why?" Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece we know for certain was considered a piece of art in the past as he was considered a great artist even in his own time and his artwork today is in the finest museums of the world and attracts millions of spectators to them each year. But then looking at other pieces of 'art' that are in museums may be considered art today but they were not considered… [END OF PREVIEW]

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