contemporary art

13Sep 2021 by
I want you to find a work on the Internet by a contemporary artist that you enjoy or find interesting. A contemporary artist simply means someone that is still alive. Either attach or post a picture of the artist’s work along with your comments. The piece can be in any medium.
To find artists, I recommend one of the following websites:
 (click on “the artists” then “slideshows” for a list of artists and their work)

 (there are many artists that are not contemporary, be sure the work is from a living artist)

Try to avoid “poster art.” In other words, if the artist is selling prints of dolphins jumping out of waves with the moon behind it, you will probably not have much to say about the work. Try to find something interesting and challenging. Any of the work you find in the websites above would be great, just be careful with what you choose if you use other sources. Google search for “contemporary art” to find other sources. 

For your first post write a least three paragraphs analyzing the piece you have chosen. You can look at form (line, color, composition), content (the meaning), historical context, biographical context or any other aspect of the artwork. Use your own thoughts and opinions when analyzing the piece.

A good place to start would be to simply google “contemporary art.” You can also find artists in the first and last chapter of your text. Good luck!

I will start things off by analyzing a work from a contemporary artist that I enjoy. His name is Paul Chan and the piece is a still from his video My birds…trash…the future. You may want to look up some of the pieces that I reference to better understand my analysis.

Since this picture is part of a video still, I am necessarily leaving out important information regarding the context of the piece, but nonetheless, I think it is possible to glean some of the content from this one image. Chan uses simplified colors and borrowed images from both fine art and commercial culture to create a landscape that is both familiar and strange. Since the content of his images are difficult to pin down, his message is ambiguous and can read more universally than a straight political statement.

In this still, as in the entire video, Chan uses high contrast and simplified color fields that resemble contemporary advertising, such as the Apple corporation’s exuberant iPod spots. His images are both familiar and strange, partially due to their juxtaposition, but also due to the disturbing nature of each individual image, such as the Hummer filled with bodies and figures, some nude, hanging by nooses from the tree. The viewer is given signposts of familiarity, which both horrify and tease the eyes. The aforementioned Hummer definitely fits into the horrifying category, while the nude figure in a pose reminiscent of classical sculpture or Gauguin’s Tahitian earth goddesses definitely occupies the latter category. This contrast extends to the birds, whose beautiful colors barely mask their functions as scavengers and predators. Even the figure in front of the Hummer displays unusual contrasts. He is dressed in denim reminiscent of Los Angeles gangsters from the Dennis Hopper movie Colors, while his face is like Salvador Dali, due to haircut and handlebar mustache.

All of these elements combine to create a world of contrasts, certainly, but one that almost seems like a disturbing future. The black cloud in the background speaks of the horror as forcefully as the more definable images of bodies and predators. These images provoke feelings of unrest in viewers, without allowing them to clearly define intellectual content.

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