A: “Contemporary art” is defined formally as art made since 1970 by living artists who are still making new work. People often confuse the term “contemporary art” with “modern art,” but they are not the same. “Modern art” refers to art made during the period between, roughly, the 1860’s to 1970.
Nowadays there are so many different kinds of art – new forms are developing all the time – and almost anything can be considered contemporary art as long as someone, an artist, says it is art. Ours is a fascinating, but bewildering, crazy, and often silly art world. Since I am based in New York, I see a lot that makes me ask, “Is this really art?” and “Why would anyone make such a thing?”
If there is one single element I look for in visual art it would have to be a high degree of craft. I enjoy seeing work that is beautiful, well-crafted, and that makes me wonder how the artist made it. With the exception of Ai Weiwei and Julie Mehretu (maybe others I can’t think of just now), I prefer art made by a single creator, as opposed to artists like Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst, who employ dozens of people to make their work.
Comments are welcome!
Q: You recently spent several weeks in Sri Lanka. After experiencing so many new sights and sounds, is it difficult to get back to work in your studio?
A: It definitely requires some readjustment and a period – maybe a day or two – during which I feel removed from the painting on my easel and need time to become reacquainted with it. It’s a time to refocus, stay put, and reflect. For weeks I’ve led an action-packed life, exploring a fascinating country on the other side of the world. Over time, all of the experiences I’ve had will stay with me, or not, and in some ways begin to influence my work.
It’s funny. I often think of my studio as a cave. It’s a rather dark place and sometimes I have to force myself to go. In Sri Lanka I saw many ancient Buddhist cave temples, wild and vibrant, with colorful paintings on the walls and ceilings, chock full of statues of Buddha and other deities. My travels have given me a new appreciation of the riches to be found in caves of all sorts, including (especially) my own studio!
Comments are welcome!