Visual Studies 1: Creative Arts Today: Part one: Contemporary Art: Page 26, Exercise 3

Reading about art

Pooke, G and Newall, D (20018) Art History: The Basics. Abingdon: Routledge

In the extract provided I have highlighted and made notes on the following:

  • Art is a cultural performance about our time.
  • Art is relevant to the current time and culture.
  • A broader understanding is needed of the dynamics of culture and the history of propaganda and patronage to study in parallel to art history.
  • Art is something which artists do.
  • Art is aesthetic , something to look at.
  • Fine art is traditionally promoted by the art schools and academies and is usually used to describe paintings, drawings and sculpture.
  • Craft based arts normally have a second purpose as a functional item, such as ceramics, glass, jewellery.
  • Contemporary art sometimes blurs the boundaries of these two categories although there is still often a distinction between display items and functional items (in which design and technical related concerns are paramount).
  • The most widely used definition of art is that associated with the Institutional Theory of Art, being that what classes as art is determined by the “art world” being the artists themselves and the art experts and institutions.
  • All definitions of art are mediated through culture, history and language. To understand the different concepts of art we need to understand the social and cultural context.
  • Historically (Classical Art) would have been judged by what extent the art had fulfilled the social and civic role which was expected of the craft as well as the technical abilities demonstrated. Sculpture and paintings were to be life-like and true to reality.
  • Throughout Europe and North America. Cultural assumptions of what classes as art were primarily associated with the origins and development of the academic subject of art history itself. Definitions were established of how art should look and what it should do, some variations of this still continue today.
  • Ideas and definitions of art are neither timeless or beyond history. They relate to the social and cultural assumptions of the societies and environment which fashion them.
Photo by Caio Resende from Pexels [accessed 21/04/19]

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