Something that we discussed as we decided on our first lecture series topic was that, at the time of this writing at least, it seemed rare to come across any writing that focused specifically on this question. This is not to say that it’s never written about. Just not for a general audience. Most of the time, it involves wading through theoretical essays, and drawing conclusions out of broader academic discussions.

 

The questions “what is art now as opposed to what defined it 100 or 50 years ago,” and “what does ‘contemporary’ mean other than ‘made right now”, seem so basic, yet really are difficult to answer. Rick Poynor is a British writer on Design and Contemporary Art and attempts to address the subject in this article from 2010.  Read the excerpt below, and click through to Design Observer to read the entire piece.

 

Does it matter whether art exists? I don’t mean art in the ordinary sense of “visual forms of expression.” This kind of visual output clearly exists in abundance. There’s more of it coming at us, from every direction, than ever before in history. But what about “art” in the more particular sense of something that conveys deep meaning and is consequently judged to possess a special value — both cultural and monetary? Do we need that kind of art? And how do we decide what it is?