Terry Smith: What is Contemporary Art?

Reviewed by
February 2011, no. 328

Terry Smith: What is Contemporary Art?

Reviewed by
February 2011, no. 328

Czars of the contemporary

Joanna Mendelssohn

 

What Is Contemporary Art?
by Terry Smith
University of Chicago Press (Footprint Books), $39.95 pb, 329 pp, 9780226764313

 

At the beginning of his new book, Terry Smith writes that one of the fundamental qualities ‘of the contemporary: [is] its contemporaneousness’. He writes of the contemporary, contemporaries, contemporaneity, contemporaneous, noncontemporaries, cotemporality, cotemporalities, and cotemporal. It is a kind of tautological word game that goes down well in academic conferenceville, which is where some of this book first appeared. The function is to distinguish art of the last two decades, called ‘contemporary’, as distinct from that of earlier periods, labelled ‘postmodern’ and ‘modern’.

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comment (1)

  • My ladies art group can't put a description on what is contemporary and whats abstract. please answer in the most easily understood english. Thanks
    Posted by Lyn Hewitt
    02 July 2013

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