Reserach Paper: Contemporary Art

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Week 9 – Midterm Contemporary art breaks the rules of the past. With the invention of the camera and rapid exchange of ideas via the media, artist not longer need art to record and represent reality. This new sense of freedom opened the floodgates for art to be ‘anything an artist can imagine’ (Rubin, 2010.). Since 1945 and the end of World War II, contemporary art have especially broken away from traditions and rules of the past (Rubins, 2010). Artists can now engage their imaginations. Taking ideas from everyday life and using traditional and non-traditional materials, they seek to produce unforgettable experiences for audiences. Children and students are experiencing this rebirth and are realizing that art is no longer confined to museums, only understood by scholars, and only deemed valuable if their technique can mimic the masters. Contemporary art also refers to art made and produced by artists living today who work in and respond to a global environment that is culturally diverse, technically advancing, and multifaceted (Getty, 2000). Contemporary artists manipulate ideas and imagery to make meaning, are accessible to students, and the simplicity and directness are especially effective in constructing complex meaning (Marchall, 2010). Utilizing contemporary art in the classroom is a relatively new practice. It has been twenty years since the last major paradigm shift in thinking about visual art education, represented by the critical and contextual movement. (Page, 2006). This led to the broader inclusion of critical and contextual studies, gallery and museum visits, artists in schools and a global perspective to art education and classroom practices. That is not to say that only ‘new’ art is considered valuable and worth exploring. Contemporary artists may acknowledge and find inspiration in art works from previous time periods in both subject matter and formal elements (Getty, 2000). Helene Illeris agrees that contemporary art is an obvious theme for debate and discussion of our culture and world, our expectation for life and our possibilities – how we should act in the complex contemporary world (Illeris, 2005). It is important to include contemporary artists and issues in our classrooms as a way for our students to process and react to their personal and communal societies. Reflecting and contributing to the construction of knowledge, identity, beliefs, imaginations, sense of time and space, feeling of agency and the quality of life at all ages are all benefits of choosing contemporary art examples (Keifer-Boyd, Amburgy, & Knight, 2003). Contemporary art requires viewers to engage with artworks in new and different ways. The artists seek to move beyond the notion that art should only be valued as an aesthetically pleasing product and challenges preconceived notions of art as high priced, high brow, and only decipherable by elite members of society (Getty, 2000). Eisner commented that thinking in the arts is a form of qualitative inquiry in which sensibility is engaged, imagination is promoted, technique is applied, and appraisal is undertaken (Eisner, 2002). These are the same goals that traditional art educators strive to accomplish by using Eurocentric focused curriculum. Contemporary art instruction now demands that incorporation of content that includes art works created by artists who represent the diverse cultures of our communities and are currently living creative lives (Gaudileus & Speirs, 2002). Art education has a major role to play in creating situations through which the senses can be refined (Eisner, 2002). The senses of students today are bombarded with visual culture images at a dizzying pace. Contemporary art demands questioning and thinking about ideas rather than the art itself. This, for me, is the most significant difference. I am presenting art that is a part of their time...
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