Paper 1: Defining Contemporary Art
There is no one, simple absolute answer when it comes to defining what is Contemporary Art. In its most basic explanation, Contemporary Art refers to art created and produced “today.” However, what constitutes “today” may be different from person to person. This is why Contemporary Art is so difficult to define, because there is not one defining style or movement assigned to this category. This is in stark contrast to the rigid artistic styles pre-dating the Contemporary Art movement such as; Renaissance, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Realism. Contemporary art allowed the artist to express and reflect their own personality in their work, and how they wanted to depict that personal representation. From this new sense of freedom in content, medium, as well as technique, stemmed several new movements and styles. From modernism, a period which focused on the abstract, to postmodernism, a period when artists started to challenge the definition of the term “art” itself. It is because of this that I have always been especially fascinated with this postmodern era of Contemporary Art, Andy Warhol being one of my favorite artists in any time-period.
Andy Warhol, a name that’s synonymous with contemporary art. Warhol’s given name was Andy Warhola, being born on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to his working class Carpatho-Rusyn (today’s northeastern Slovakia) immigrant parents, Andrej and Julia Warhola. The Warhola Family were devout Byzantine Catholics, and had three sons, Andy, John, and Paul, with Andy being the youngest. On February 22, 1987, due to complications from gull bladder surgery Warhol died.
As a young boy Warhol was afflicted by Sydenham chorea, commonly referred to as St. Vitus dance, which is a neurological disorder causing involuntary movements. On occasion, these involuntary movements would get so bad that he would be bed ridden. Growing up in a working-class family during Depression-era Pittsburg, Warhol had few luxuries, so to pass the time he would read comics and Hollywood magazines, playing with paper cutouts that he got from those publications. Recognizing Andy’s talents for the arts, his father started saving money, so he could attend the Carnegie Institute of Technology, which is now Carnegie Mellon University, from 1945-1949. Receiving a degree in pictorial design, Warhol dropped the “a” from his family name and moved to New York City to follow his dream of having a successful career as an artist. Warhol’s view and approach to art vastly differed from the most well-known artists of the time, with Warhol writing in THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best...