Hold on.

Explore how the history of art can be a beautiful and true reflection of culture.

The history of art is becoming more complex than ever. The mark has evolved a great deal from prehistoric times. The purpose of art is no longer to create representations of the hunt. Marks on cave walls or anywhere at all have new purposes. Even the last few dreary centuries have been an improvement. No longer are artist protesting world wars in the history of art. No longer is art an experiment to show what painting truly is. The reasons for creating art in the 19th and 20th centuries directly relate to the cultures of the time. As the world changes so does art. And the world is changing fast. New inventions and innovations affect arts and culture. Even the simple ways people live out their daily lives is a direct influence on arts and culture. This change and evolution in culture has created a new complex need for art.

Examples of Art

The History of Art in Contemporary Times

There is a new Big Bang in the universe. It’s the latest development in arts and culture and has created many satellites. Contemporary Art has been created in response to its surrounding culture. And with it has come the rise of many new themes in the history of art. It’s called big for a reason. There are many new themes arising in Contemporary Art. Just to name a couple, big ones are nature and community. These new themes can take shape in many ways, too, like performance or installation. However, a notable theme in the history of art and visual culture is the idea of the self. This can specifically pertain to the artist as well as the viewer. Sometimes it even involved people like collectors, curators, and institutions. New themes about the artist’s self are what inspire contemporary examples in the history of art such as performances and Installation Art.

Between 1981 and 1986 Abramovic and Ulay endured periods of fasting and silence that lasted up to sixteen days at a time. Each day the artists occupied seats at opposite ends of a long table installed in a museum. They spent all the hours the museum was open staring transfixed into each other’s eyes. They were the work of art” – Linda Weintraub.

A new theme has exploded out of new culture. Marina Abramovic’s exploration of the self is the result of the history of art that is reflecting new culture. No longer is art a grumpy, wrinkled, and dying art skeptic. In contemporary times critics have realized that art must include the, “real-life experience of people who call themselves artists” (Weintraub 62). People who admire and study Contemporary Art need to be youthful and open to the continuous changes in art like these new themes. Abramovic and Ulay are the deans of the college of this new theme of the artist’s self. In there many works “they walked in the manner of prolonged meditation, with no purpose but to achieve awareness” (Weintraub 63). They are easily experts at looking inside themselves and pulling out the artists within. Marina Abramovic is a master of meditation. “Abramovic stills the mind and stirs the consciousness” (Weintraub 64). Her very stressful works are like meditation because they exhibit the dialogue of the self against external dialogue of the world. This idea of the artist’s self is one foundation of the history of art.

There are five reason why his mission could not be fulfilled within the standard format of a painted representation. Painting concentrates on surface appearance and neglects nonvisible aspects of personality. It records a single moment instead of an entire lifetime. It presents the image from the artist’s vantage point and neglects the multiple and varied impress of others. It isolates the subject from the historic, cultural, political, and scientific events that influence that life. And finally, it tends to present the public persona and not the private one.” – Linda Weintraub

Just as Installation Art in the history of art needed to change in relation to culture, so did the theme of the artist’s self. Felix Gonzalez-Torres uses Installation Art to create sorts of Contemporary self-portraits. Gonzalez-Torres shows people that a traditional self-portrait is just a mask. There is more to the portrait of a person that what is visible. Therefore a simply painted representation of a person is superficial and merely a mask. No. It is not a mask, but a snapshot of a mask! A painting can only offer insight into one moment of time, but an artist exists during a span of time. Therefore a meager self-portrait painting can only be as good as a photograph. This pathetic photo would need to be in a frame too. It doesn’t belong in an equally pathetic frame with only four corners and a wire on the back. The frame should reflect the artist’s history. It should glisten with their cultural struggles. It should shine with the politics that person faces. It should be a sparkling vision of anything that relates to or influences that person. Gonzalez-Torres’s installations of the artist’s self, like all Contemporary art in the history of art, should be juxtaposed in the context of culture and should reflect society around it.

David Hammons literally surrounds the artist’s self with the culture around it. In this fashion, Hammons is his artwork. Like in the works of Yves Klein, Hammons’, “expressive parameters were confined to his own body” (Weintraub 85). Quite literally the shape of Hammons’ body was the artwork. However, his work became as evolutionary as the world around him. “Hammons moved to Harlem in the mid-1970s and steeped himself in the black, urban, ghetto experience” (Weintraub 86). The artist connected the space between him and the world around him. This made his works into cultural shotguns. “Some pieces grabbed racial slurs and hurled them back at bigots” (Weintraub 87). More than knowledge became the artist, culture all around him became him, thus he was like a weapon in the history of art and culture. These examples of the history of art show the powerful relationship an artist has with his surroundings.

David Hammons Examples of Art

Conclusion

These examples of the history of art may be more important than some critics realize. Surely these are only a few examples of the history of art, but they are of Contemporary Art. These artworks in the history of art are the most recent. By definition, they relate closely to the context of people’s current time. This and the many themes within Contemporary Art are what make it important to everyone. It is these themes that people should hold dear and open up to. These themes of the artist’s self are not only important to Contemporary art but vital to every single person alive today.

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