You just need to embrace the power of art to move you.
I think that the best approach to understanding contemporary art is to come at it with an open mind. The truly wonderful thing about art being produced today and over the past few decades is the extreme breadth of styles, subjects, movements and techniques, and artists are continually developing new practices that are changing the way we look at art and ourselves. There are certainly artists and styles that won’t resonate well with everyone, and that’s ok, you don’t have to love everything to be a supporter or collector of contemporary art, you just need to embrace the power of art to move you.
Jessica Backus, Director of the Art Genome Project at Artsy, about understanding of art
To understand contemporary art you need to start by looking. Look at everything! Go to all the galleries, the museums and institutions, follow artists on their social media channels, and start making lists in your head or on paper of what and who you like or don’t like. Start thinking about why it is that you feel the way you do about their work. You can’t possibly read everything written today about current artists and their practices but identify some key artists or styles that really resonate with you either positively or negatively and start reading up on them.
If there is one thing in common with all art dealers, advisors, curators and auction house experts, it’s that we all love to talk about art, and even more so when we can engage with someone who is truly interested in understanding what it’s all about, so don’t be afraid, get out there and come talk to us!
Yayoi Kusama, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016
When I don't know much about art... 🤔
Seven questions to ask yourself when looking at art :
1 Does the artwork tell a story?
2 Are there any issues in the work?
3 what kind of images, objects, materials or symbols are there?
4 Does it have a title?
5 Is colour important?
6 Does the work interact with the space it is in?
7 How was the work made?
How to visit a modern art gallery and enjoy it nceptual art can be intimidating: it is a brave new artistic world of works that can range from the obtuse to the confrontational, provoking both outrage and confusion. "People perceive there to be a barrier when it comes to contemporary art, says Emma Thomas, head of learning at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and creator of Smart Arts, a light-hearted course offering a way into the subject.
"There's a fear factor with people wanting to find out more. So for those of us taking our first tentative steps into Tate Modern, the Baltic or one of the countless other modern art galleries dotted about the country, what should we expect?
Paul Merrick, a contem porary artist and Smart Arts course teacher, suggests keeping an open mind: "It's not necessary to have an art degree to enjoy contemporary art, just curiosity. We're all inquisitive, so it's important to simply go in and ask yourself, your friends, even members of staff questions about the art galleries are much more open places now, so the crew members tend to be knowledgeable, friendly and willing to talk. If you hate a piece, ask yourself why you hate it rather than just dismissing it. The key thing to remember is that there's no single way to interpret a work just allow yourself to think about it.
Today's media tends to bombard people with quick, easy answers, so the idea of really having to spend time looking at and thinking about something as unusual as contemporary art can be intimidating. But if you take genuine curiosity into a gallery, it can be incredibly rewarding.
Note: Questions printed on cards handed to visitors at the Baltic Centre, Gateshead
Source: The Observer Book of Art