We had a very serious discussion in our art class about the significance of labels in art. The question was if impressionistic art impressionistic to the artist, or is that how the artist actually visualizes the world? In other words, is impressionism more realistic than realistic forms of art? I agree that sometimes my own work feels impressionistic to some people. It always throws me back a bit that a large number of the people that view my art consider it to be impressionistic. For me, it is totally realistic because I understand that each second that you view a subject, it changes. This change is reflected in many ways including the way the light hits the subject and things like wind. If I do not reflect the changes, then I am not being realistic, and even still it is referred to as impressionism.
I do not like this because I think the great masters of impressionism have sucked all of the wind out of the genre. All impressionistic work will be compared to those masters, and few critics will admit that any current work is better even if it is true. We also discussed the dilemma that is taking place in the contemporary art world. We got into this subject because a mindless official at a juried show labeled all of the art that had no category as contemporary art. To add fuel to the fire, she exclaimed that she placed them together because they were recently done. This was her definition of contemporary art. Of course the artists were upset, but it really was not her fault because contemporary art as a genre began in the early 1960’s. Additionally, it does not reflect the type of art that is being produced currently.
Contemporary art as a genre is hard to explain, but it does exist, and there are consistencies throughout all pieces just like any art genre. However, these things are different in contemporary art. The ambiguity of the term was intended when it was coined. This drew more interest to the works of the artists that produced contemporary art. It is equivalent to furniture from the 1950’s being called modern.
Contemporary art as a genre reflects the contemporary art that was being reflected during the 1960’s and 1970‘s when the most iconic pieces and artists were flourishing. We were also discussing it because mega investor Adam Sender recently released hundreds of the most iconic contemporary art pieces in existence. This savvy investor had the gall to gamble on the viability of this art as an investment. Currently, he is reaping the benefits of his forethought. The famous works that he re-introduced to the market have been all the news in the art world for several years now.