Project 1: Art & Ideas

Exercise 3: Reading about art

Excerpt (pp.1-8) from Art History: The Basics, by Grant Pooke and Diana Newall (2008, Abingdon: Routeledge).


In this excerpt, Pooke and Newall trace the evolution of how we typically define art in the Western world. They illustrate how longheld “classical” distinctions in the art world, and the measures by which we evaluated and defined fine (academy) art, as differentiated from craft-based arts (held to aesthetic but also functional and design criteria), have loosened and blurred with the advent of modern and (later) post-modern art.

Today’s definition of what constitutes contemporary art is so inclusive as to mean almost nothing.

Relevance to my own work:
For me, its interesting to be reminded of the fact that any aesthetic value or judgement we apply to art is necessarily informed by the context of the cultural moment. For all sorts of reasons (preference, cities I’ve lived in or traveled to, books and artists I was exposed to by my parents and teachers), I’ve been far more exposed to “academy” art forms and standards, and often apply very limiting (and perfecting) notions of “classic beauty” to my own work (which inevitably falls way short; I’m comparing myself to the masters, after all), even if those ideas have nothing to do with the ideas or experience (usually personal) inspiring and informing my process.


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