Use of the term 'Modern Art'.
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    Use of the term 'Modern Art'.

    Most people on CA would class as figurative artists, whose craft revolves around an ability to draw and paint (by whatever means) people and creatures in credible if fantastic settings. This is a very valid and current type of art, even if its roots run deep into the history of civilization. I would make the case that we should stop using the term 'modern art' (and 'Modernism') to describe abstract and non-representational art. This is an insideously propagandistic way of speaking, which suggests that we figurative artists are somehow not modern, that we belong to another, eariler time. The use of the word 'Modernism' for abstract and conceptualist art should always be avoided, especially as the so-called, (or rather self-styled) 'Modernist' movement/style recedes into history and proves itself of questionable relevance to the current tastes. ('Modernism' was an upstart, nihlistic, revolutionary style of the early twentieth century, and it was probably a failed experiment which achieved more cultural harm than good.)
    So long as this term is automatically used and accepted then it will always be difficult for figurative art to move back to the centre of the mainstream art world. Let's use rather a less biased word to describe a particular style and philosophy. One that does not arrogantly claim for to itself domination of the eternal now.

    Last edited by dashinvaine; July 20th, 2009 at 03:54 PM.
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    Contemporary Art is also used up. There is Installation art for 'look I cobbled something together' type art. I think the 'Art' world ran out of words.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    I can agree with this, at least on the basis that the people that call certain artwork "modern art" have it all wrong, as you said.

    Modern Art was a period that ran from about 1880 to about 1970, so the idea of calling any fine art (if we're assuming fine art is being discussed) as Modern Art is wrong. A more correct definition would be Contemporary or Postmodern Art (Contemporary art probably being the better choice of the two.)

    Modernism can't apply to any art produced today simply for the fact that there are different cultural ideas around. Modernism was produced as a rejection of Enlightenment thinking and ideals, and when applied to art, it was a rejection of traditional studio practices that were commonplace at the time.

    So, "Modern Art" as it's described today should be more accurately defined as "Contemporary Art," and not have any of the attachments of striving to move away from the norm, as Modern Art did. To me, at least (and like everything else in life, your mileage may vary,) Contemporary Art is a wasteful, terrible thing, the result of people looking at what Modern Art did at face value, and replicating it, without understanding the motives or why of Modern Artists (and in the end, being moot, since it's considered the norm now.)

    Of course, this all seems to be changing, as people who work commercially jump to fine art without changing their methods, and more and more people become interested in the artwork of the old masters and the ideas of figurative artwork and traditional studio practices come back into play.

    Maybe we should call ourselves the Figurative movement?

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    I don't like 'Contemporary' any better as it has exactly the same connotation as 'Modern'. (A living figurative artist is just as contemporary as someone stacking bricks or sawing up wildlife to pickle in formalderhyde, and has just as contemporary an audience.). 'Post-modern' is a nonsense phrase, meanwhile, as the only thing that can be post modern is the future, and we haven't got there yet!

    I know what someone would be driving at with a broader definition of 'modern art movements' extending them back to the Impressionists, yet in real terms these daubers were no more 'modern' than their Classicist, Symbolist or Rre-Raphaelite contemporaries, and those who follow these alternative traditions have as much claim to be modernity and relevance as any who follow the 'modernist' styles. So the very designation 'modern' is false and misleading. If the definition of modernist was rebelling against the received fashions and doctrines of the artistic establishment (the galleries and colleges), indeed, that representational artists are more modern than anyone, these days!

    Last edited by dashinvaine; July 20th, 2009 at 04:20 PM.
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    ???? I thought Contemporary art just meant art that was made in the last 50 years.

    I feel as though labeling myself a type of artist will have no real influence on my career. I find the process of art making much less stressful and more enjoyable if just don't worry about that. Other people can and will do that for me, whether I like it or not.

    I see figurative artists in galleries selling out shows just like I see abstract artists do the same. Western art is huge where I live and so are installations. What I'm saying is that some of these artists may feel they belong to a movement, but there is a wide range of art that is being produced that is profitable. Maybe I am naive, but I don't see the art world as exclusive as it used to be. Now there is such a large pool of really anything an artist can tackle and it's more about their connections, networking and business skills, and ability to find an audience.

    Also, I would like to contest what you said about modern art of the early 20th century and how it did cultural harm. Those artists opened the doors for new ideas and thought processes. Their art was relevant at the time and the searches for conceptual depth that were set forth really inspired a number of artists living and working today; conceptual or figurative.

    Last edited by JJacks; July 21st, 2009 at 02:35 AM.
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    Post Modernism would fit best seeing as how the philosophy supports such art.

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    While that's true that we can be Contemporary artists as much as Mr. Lookit-me-I-spray-painted-dog-doo-and-mounted-it-on-wood, to say that Postmodern is a nonsense phrase seems like a false statement.

    Postmodern Art was born as an argument to Modern art. Things like Dada, Installation Art, and Multimedia art are all considered to be Postmodern. To say it's a nonsense phrase because postmodern implies from the future is saying the same thing about the Futurists!

    Jjacks, you brought up a good point, and looking at it again, Contemporary Art would be defined more as all art in the past 50 years or so (or post WWII, to be more accurate.) Modern and Postmodern Art would both be considered Contemporary, just at different time periods (and with Modern Art being really late to the game.)

    I think you're right about the artworld not being as exclusive as it once was, but I do think there's probably some hold-outs in areas from a bygone time (Please correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Andrew Wyeth still considered middle or lowbrow by some critics not too long ago?)

    If anything, it's probably all a big mash-up now.

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    'Contemporary' and 'modern' are both words describing something of the present. It's hardly appropriate to use such a word to describe a particular style and technique in a moment when multiple styles of presumably equal value are in existence. It's a silly as saying that Esperanto is the only valid Modern language. Yet 'contemporary' sometimes gets used as an euphemism for non-representational art, for example in catalogues by the makers of fine art prints. Other sections might be given self-explanatory titles like 'figurative' or 'animals' or 'landscapes'. The one that gets called 'contemporary' would be more fairly described as 'lines and squiggles' or 'gradations in colour depicting nothing'. My point is that by using words like 'modern' and contemporary' to describe such art we attribute it with a false air of currentcy and validity, that is contrary to the interests of the altermative styles.

    'Futurism' was a silly phrase too, adopted by its Italian adherents for the same blatantly propagandistic and provocative reasons as 'Modernism'. I know what the word 'Postmodernism' is used to refer to, which doesn't stop it being a nonsense word. It largely represents the piss-taking, nihlistic strand of tradition, stemming from Duchamp and his urinal (which no-one should ever have taken seriously). To me it's just as odious as the pompous minimalism and abstractionalism of the mid twentieth century, and as much an affront to good art. Anyway we surely can't go on talking about a period in the now-nigh-antique past as the age of 'modernism', which is another reason to abandon use of the term in that context.

    Last edited by dashinvaine; July 21st, 2009 at 04:44 AM.
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    You know whats ironic about Duchamp? He initially signed that urinal to laugh at the current exhibition which was largely post modern.

    As Gorgon stated postmodern was a response to modern. The modern movement was extremely formalistic, reality over took subjectivity. Postmodern came along with Nietzsche being its main influence and so the re-evaluation of current values. While yes, I find that Duchamp was taken to far up the ranks, what he did was more or less a parody of the current post-modern trend. Sadly, most people don't see that way. Art isn't necessarily about just making pretty pictures but more importantly about communication of ideas. You may not like it but some do.

    And seriously man there's no need getting so mad over words representing a movement.

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    I'm alive. I'm working at my art today. I am NOT an artist from the 1800s, the Renaissance, or 3400 BCE. Therefore, until I am dead, I will consider myself a contemporary, current or modern artist. I don't give one flying fuck what the rest of you do, though I am getting a little pissed off with words in the dictionary being appropriated and applied narrowly by idiots with nothing better to do.

    If you want to know what technical, visual or mental approaches I have to my craft/art, ask. I'm fairly certain i can describe myself without resorting to invented euphemisms. Otherwise, get the fuck off my planet and lemme alone...

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    So much time is wasted on semantics and being self-analyzing rather than spent working on the art!

    Why do people feel that they need a label?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    ...Therefore, until I am dead, I will consider myself a contemporary, current or modern artist. .
    How will you consider yourself after that?

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    Hopefully, a good investment...

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    Since I can see we are all racing to grab up labels, I hereby proclaim my art as supercalifragilisticexpialidoshusism. Man! I hope I spelled it OK.

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    I dub my art...




    ...


    Progessive Art!

    What is that you say?

    Progressive- adjective:

    Favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, esp. in political matters: a progressive mayor.

    2. making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community

    Art-noun

    The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

    2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection.


    In other words, as I get better, I call it art.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    I will, from now on, call what I do "Harry Froedleman."

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    I agree with what Mr. Study said.

    Duchamps intentions were to point out that the heroic role of an artist is a stupid self absorbed concept, and to point out that people will accept almost anything as art, even when it's ridiculous. he's poking fun at society as well as artists.
    It's a pretty powerful statement if you ask me. It was less about making the art and more about proving a point--quite frankly I don't find that silly or offensive at all.

    And we're well past being able to label our time periods. People have resorted back to traditional values, as well as adopting influences from all the modern/post modern/conceptual, etc etc eras.

    You can be what you want like Ilaekae said.

    "Be either full-assed or no-assed. There is no half assed."

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    Meh - just do what you do, and let the art historians figure out the labels.

    For now, I shall refer to my art as "Conrad". Thank you very much.

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    Why do we have to label things?? Just pick up a pencil or brush and just make some art. The rest is just noise.

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    What's up with all the labelling? Stop with the labelling people!

    When the labelling stops, then we'll have world peace.

    And go do art! Instead of labelling! Why are you people worried about labels! When you have really important art to make.

    _

    If people spent less time talking about labels, and more time making labels or art, then nobody would need a logo and the world would be free from corporate dominance and gallery worries. I don't mean those patches for elbows either! You nutty fink you!

    And no more talking about art! Unless its an approved topic. Like what kind of paper is best for markers. Or where do I download shit for free? Or Where do I post this?

    And no more labelling! Shouldn't you be drawing instead of labelling or talking about modern art propaganda and what it means to the artist and how to combat it? I mean, like, really. What a waste of time. Not an approved topic. Go draw go draw go draw, cries the church choir.

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    But wait... shouldn't The Righteous Ones be drawing instead of telling other people to go draw! Who the #*@% elected y'all hall monitors? Oh, I guess somebody's up for a "Go Draw" merit badge. I've put one in the mail for each of you lil' righteous ones, along with a "I Don't Worry About Labels Because My Mind has been Freed" button. Ain't that special? Now you can let people discuss unapproved topics knowing full well your achievements as hall monitors have already been duly acknowledged.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Noise is needed. Galleriers suport forms of art that are based on noise and waffle. And labels are the things that decide what is acceptable or not, and what gets hung or installed in galleries. It's not a matter of getting one's knickers in a twist about a side issue, it's the very heart of the matter. While these terms continue to circulate those who do stuff that does not resemble preconceived notions of 'modern' art will always suffer an unfair disadvantage (and be 'mere' 'illustrators'). Going and drawing would not be a good idea if one wanted credibility as a 'modern' artist. That's the problem! Someone who actually makes labels would have more luck and get more of a look in. It's a tad hypocritical to turn up in a discussion forum and say 'go draw'. If that's your policy, why are you reading and writing in a forum at all? Is it a postmodern ironic conceptualist performance?

    Drawings are one thing, but art floats in a sea of words. It needs the support of the right words, precise words, not propagandistic ones that give one form of art claim to dominance and which relegate other styles to supposed historical obsolescence.

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    I don't see why we can't spend 8 hours a day drawing, and at least 1 hour a day discussing why we are doing it. A lot of you are instructing us to just draw and shut up. What possible good can come from not speaking when you have something to say?

    You say not to label things, but if I apply that concept to another art such as music and say, "there is no difference between ambient electronic music and death metal, it's all just music, so to hell with these silly descriptive labels," I should hope you all would look at me like an idiot.

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    My teachers, like, at school totally just label me constantly. Like, they're so stupid that they can't see that I'm, like, an individual and, like, unique. Don't laaaabel meeeeeeee

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    At least for me the thread seemed to start out with something analogous to "It shouldn't even be allowed to call itself death metal. There is already something that is death metal as far as I'm concerned and it is better. Unfortunately, that other thing that I say is death metal (and is better) can't be called death metal because of the thing I am currently complaining about. Therefore I propose that we stop calling death metal by that name and instead call the thing I happen to like by the name death metal. Then the world will be a better place."

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    Quote Originally Posted by arttorney View Post
    At least for me the thread seemed to start out with something analogous to "It shouldn't even be allowed to call itself death metal. There is already something that is death metal as far as I'm concerned and it is better. Unfortunately, that other thing that I say is death metal (and is better) can't be called death metal because of the thing I am currently complaining about. Therefore I propose that we stop calling death metal by that name and instead call the thing I happen to like by the name death metal. Then the world will be a better place."
    Death Metal might have been a bad example since it accurately describes what it is labeling without including some kind of reference to a time period. "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" and "Post-Hardcore" are both recognized musical labels which do reference a time period.

    NWBHM might be in need of a different label because it is no longer a new thing. It occurred in the late 70s to early 80s. This is similar to saying modernism shouldn't be called modernism because it's no longer modern.

    I'm not arguing either way on what modernism should be called. It is true that modernism is no longer modern, so we should question why it is still called that, but we have referred to it as such for about 100 years, and it might be convenient to continue doing so.

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    Labels give substance to human existence. Whether it is correct or not matters less to the group & more to the individual.

    To change the label, is to make change to the group consciousness. One can cause dissension, possibly giving pause to the group, but to truly alter the perception, a more viable label has to created to give the established "Modern" art label, a contender for position.

    The very notion that one label to replace another will automatically correct conceived ideas of the label "Modern", implodes due in fact that once it is in place as the proper, another notion of that will be created, and the cycle starts again.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    Exclamation

    There have been several differing sets of values in play simultaniously this past century in terms of what constitutes "Art." One of which is the resurrgence of interest in classical fine art skills, representation and the figure.

    There have been several brief periods in which people championing differing values have clashed, but we are not in one of those periods currently.

    It can be fun to educate yourself on recent and past movements, but if skill based illustration is your thing, focus on it and have a blast!

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