Is Contemporary Art Really Art, or Trolling for Money & Attention?

Is Contemporary Art Really Art, or Trolling for Money & Attention?

Let’s do some audience questions. We’ve got really good ones this week. Let’s jump right in Ryan wrote in saying Hey guys is contemporary art really art or is it [just] artists trolling for money and attention okay? We’ve talked a little bit about the whole contemporary art Avant-Garde art thing so let’s first start with a definition of art [alright] from the dictionary art is the expression or application of Human creative skill and imagination [typically] in a visual form such as painting or sculpture Producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power So I think that with the with the broad definition of art as read Contemporary art is art now I understand some people might say well if I urinate on a canvas and then Sprinkle sawdust on it to stick to [the] urine and then I put [that] up on the wall as a painting That’s not really art It’s me urinating on a canvas but I would [argue] that if it’s visually compelling if the Visual combined with the story about it makes people look and say that’s interesting then it is art in that sense, right? so there’s two sides here one is on the artist who is putting something forward that’s Creative and took a good amount of skill for them to produce and then the other side is completely subjective [what] the person taking in the art thinks of it? So how could I tell someone that they weren’t emotionally affected by the piece that they saw or something? I don’t think I’m in a position to say that something is there is an art If it was really easy to produce that sometimes people will look at like a Jackson pollock painting and say listen I could do that. I’m just going to splash paint up there and in fact years ago on the howard Stern [show] They did something where I think it was howard or someone else did some [pollack] type paintings? And they showed them to people compared to actual Pollock paintings most people couldn’t tell the difference right the pollock the pollock [asked] painting created by Howard Stern was indistinguishable [to] you know non art specialists from actual pollock paintings, but I don’t think that that really proves anything because It’s much easier to copy a style that has been developed that is different [than] creating something from scratch so I don’t even know that that necessarily disproves it there is lots of Guard and contemporary, art that doesn’t resonate with me right so like for example Things made from trash where sometimes I say wow that’s really interesting you’ve created Radios from old trash okay, that’s that’s cool or wallets. I find that artistic and interesting, but then sometimes you’ll have a picture Which is just of like a piece of plastic [that] someone has left on the ground. It’s photography There’s no doubt that by its definition is art it might not resonate with me But who am I to say that this is not art? Exactly, it’s like you may not have an interest in a specific topic like you’re not watching the makeup tutorials on YouTube Yeah, but you understand there’s a market for it and other people can appreciate that in their different ways this always seems to gain a lot of attraction when someone puts forward A Canvas with maybe a red dot and a splash of blue on it and it sells for thousands of thousands of dollars and People wonder why would anyone pay that much money, but if the person buying the art is willing to do that. That’s totally fine I should actually do that I just got some new paint because I’ve been you know getting into acrylic painting off and on for a while And I’m terrible [I] should take a canvas and I should just paint I have a color called I think [it’s] like titanium or something like that. It’s like an off-white I should paint the entire thing [off-white] and then place a blue dot and a red square on it Maybe somebody wants that right? I mean, maybe there may be the placement that comes instinctually to me You will really speak to someone and how could anyone say [that] it’s not art. You know that’s up to them It’s the percept the perception of the value right art is in the eye of the beholder Acting as what we’re trying to say all right, so there’s my answer I have no problem with contemporary art even if it doesn’t appeal to me. How can I say something is not art?

100 thoughts on “Is Contemporary Art Really Art, or Trolling for Money & Attention?

  1. Contemporary 'art' is defined Big Gallery Directors who know they can make mega bucks from so called 'shocking' and 'inovative'. The artists are complicit with this unspoken deception. Shit is Shit – let's Get Real

  2. The Nazis hated Contemporary Art. Hitler even commissioned a Degenerate Art Exhibit, which was seen by millions. Now Google what paintings were in the exhibition and tell me if there's anything degenerate about them.

  3. Art is basically a very capitalist thing: as soon as there is a person who spends a lot of money on it and this person calls it "art", then it is art.
    the market defines art.
    and it's a sad fact for all hobby painters who like to become a well known artist for their painting skills. if they do not find anybody who is willing to pay some kind of amazing amount of money, then it's not art, but at maximum craftsmanship.
    ("amazing amounts of money": not just the price of the used materials plus a house painter would get for spending the same amount of hours.)

  4. "Is it art?" is a pointless, meaningless question. The only worthwhile question is whether it's good/affecting art- if it DOES something, whether in the individual or broader cultural sense. As much as I love classical art, you have to recognize that almost all of it was commissioned by aristocrats for the purpose of pissing contests as opposed to some grand ideal of enriching the masses. Sometimes the side-effect is that art becomes iconic and shifts things on a cultural balance, but mostly art is just people making things because that's what people DO.

  5. ideas and creativity is inate in all of us it's the skill set used to minupulate reality and to make them real which is more important than ideas alone. Contemporary arts skill set is often based in word plays to justify their lack of physical skills. It is also are formula of practice that has been around for decades now, it is a traditional form of art in many ways with the usual money and power games. Anything can be art, anybody can call themselves an artist without real art skills as a foundation. Imagine​ that in a profession such as medicine were anyone could say they where a surgeon. Many contapory artist are just to lazy to commite to the time and challenges need to learn the phiscal skills that have defined and remained thought out the many fades in the art world.

  6. Asks a 5 year old to scribble on a page using red and black paint.

    "that isn't art!"

    It was made by a blind, gay, one armed refugee from Syria

    "OMG! such spirit! Such passion!"

  7. I don't know about that, but that giant metallic balloon dog is definitely art. That thing is beautiful.

  8. For me, art is done by an artist. An artist requires a certain skill to be afforded that title. Therefore if something doesn't require skill to accomplish… in my eyes, it's not art. I don't begrudge people selling spilled paint on a canvas… I begrudge people willing to buy it.

  9. Is there a time in history when art is something different than money and power (museums, galleries, kings, oligarchs, governments, corporations, priests) and narcissist people desperate for attention (artists)?

  10. This balloon animal is cool. I've seen art exhibits where every single piece of art is worse than that.

  11. Great art can't easily be copied. In his film "F For Fake," Orson Welles makes a case for the mastery and skill of the art forger. To fully understand art, it's best to attempt to do it seriously for money. Only then can you understand the difference between trolling and quality art, and the madness and corruption in the so-called art world. For example, In my opinion, Jeff Koons is a true artist because at the core of every one of his creations is a completely un-cynical reverence for and celebration of the viewer, executed with great precision, skill, dedication, and sacrifice. Who is to say what is art? Each of us. Art is a reflection of the society that holds it up, so if modern art comes down to urine and sawdust, then so have we – but I will argue that the likes of Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer won't be disappearing from museums and galleries any time in the foreseeable future.

  12. Now I want to see that painting David. Make it auction if off for a good cause.
    PS tip don't make the red square too much look like the YouTube logo.

  13. When you can see everything as art you dont need art.
    Contemporary museum art is just fetishism. Outside of that boring and meaningless bubble people design and enjoy art in an hounest fation.

  14. in my school here in Germany I chose arts as ine of my main classes, such like mathemathics. since then i have a completely different view in art. i kind of learned a new way of analyzing.
    Masterpieces like the Monalisa are boring compared to other portraits like the ones from Rembrandt.
    I have a completely new view on modern art and some I enjoy eventhough most of it is still weird.

  15. Totally trolling. A contemporary artist is as much an artist as a woman is a model because she posted a pic of herself in a bikini on Instagram.

  16. as a sculptor working for over 20 years, especially in the west, be it commercial or fine arts is nothing more than selling an exclusive product to exclusive audience most fine artist once establishing a brand or signature motif never leaving or more on especially if it continues to sell they will continue thru out their careers regurgitating the same theme fine arts is devoid of serving the common good but only serving itself the bottom line is profit margin

  17. I feel like contemporary art is all about context context context. As such the same thing made by different people or under different circumstances could have widely different "values" attached to it.

  18. i heard/read that expensive/overly evaluated art is basically a collectivly agreed form of evading taxes and storage of wealth. when you and your super rich friends agree that this painting is worth 100 million, then you can use it as a store of value, but you don't need to pay wealth tax on that painting. you basically took 100 million dollar out of the equation by buying a piece of decoration.

    modern art is just pretentious weird stuff from people, that think art has actual value. of course a well crafted painting can be worth a few thousand dollars since it' beautiful decoration, but it will not have value because you draw with your period and if it woun't be regarded as a pawn in the game of evading taxes, it woun't be worth mentioning.

  19. I think that art should have two separate definitions:

    1) Objective Art: Any piece created to be an artistic endeavour with the purpose of primarily acting as the dictionary definition of art as a whole

    2) Subjective Art: Art may be personally defined as 'not art' subjectively, but still be considered art objectively. Subjective art allows for the 'not art' phrase to be used to express disdain for the form of the art as it is considered to not fulfil its purpose to elicit a response beyond 'this is not art'.

  20. I just want to point out that the example your giving is the epitome of an artist doing it for fame. That dog was made by Jeff koons, as I'm sure some of you would know. But maybe you don't know that he makes non existent of his own work. He fills a studio with talented and up and coming artists and makes them work on his idea, wile he then goes on to reap the benefits of fame. As a painter and animator, it is disgusting to see someone like that. Someone who exploits the work of others for his own gain. However not all contenporary art is a grab for attention. These people rather look at koons or others and think I want to do that, without realizing that he makes none of us work. Others just like the style of contemporary art, and for some it's what fits in their skill set. Not every artist can create realism or surrealism easily. Some feel that contemporary work is how they want their voice to be heard. So it is a little difficult to put artists in any particular frame, but the ones that seek the most attention are there to make a name for themselves and make money. And lastly, if you think of what trolling is, after the invention of the camera, the need for art changed. And since then artists have found that they no longer need to paint stiff portraits but could paint whatever they desired. Think Banks's, and his dismaland. That's the best troll I've ever seen. And as I said, I am a painter and animator with 2 art degrees, so most of this analysis is from experience.

  21. I might be stretching this a little, but I think this could also bring up a discussion on consumerism. Practically everyone buys tons and tons of useless things, many things we throw out after a couple of months, buying new technology every time they come out, etc… Globally, about 2 billion tons of waste is generated every year, but when someone buys an art piece, that is one of the few times people go, "What?! How stupid! Why on earth would someone buy something like that?!"

  22. People forget another aspect of art that is important which is effort. How much effort was put into it. This can include how much time, money, imagination, and energy was used by the artist. The problem is most contemporary/modern art is talentless shit that can be recreated effortlessly with minimal resources and skill and the concept of making it be "thought provoking" is fueled by stupid lies and circle jerks. Also now modern art is used to fuel stupid fucking agendas like feminism.

  23. You have lost all credibility when you can claim pissing on a cavass is art. Most of these "styles" are at least now, no more than gross attempts by amateur artists to get paid. It's a system of rich shills attempting to follow the art scene, which is gearing itself towards the systematic promotion of a community groupthink. Only a sucker pays for shit in a can because it's edgy.

  24. Tangential subject: in Cuba, the communist government decides the worth of artists' creations & collects the profits, while the artists get a bare subsistence salary. Doesn't seem fair to me, but what do I know?

  25. It depends on the impetus, the narrative, his example of the urine and sawdust could be a VERY compelling creative expression of how the corporate elite are pissing all over the blue-collar workers like carpenters, it all depends on how you view it and if there is a PURPOSE behind the piece- what the narrative actually is.

  26. To look at a canvas on a wall with urine and sawdust on it, how far away from it (to avoid the smell) should one be to declare it "art"?

  27. If modern art is taking a piss off the audience and it's donors than it does the same that big corporations do with the rest of the world. Very post modern 😄

  28. The first Jeff Koons balloon art "might" have been art, but give me a break, this is no more creative.

  29. Art is communication, if it doesn't say anything to you it is crap. Most types of art qualify as crap, minority of it speaks. In Washington state a small percent of projects must be spent on it, bad idea. So often you drive by something and go WTF and find out what it cost the taxpayer you go WTF again. If it is exceptional, then okay.

  30. The two aren't mutually exclusive. It can be both.

    Now of course, just because it technically is art, you can still think it's bad art.

  31. Don't think visual artists seek fame as much as performing artists..contemporary avant garde world is whimsical and fun especially Dada surrealism

  32. What a terrific and complex issue to raise! I think that the debate about modern & contemporary art is amongst the most heated, fraught, interesting and intense confrontation of ideas within our society. I am myself an artist, and I can assure any 'non-artists' out there that the debate simmers just below the surface within the art community in general, as well as amongst interested gallery-goers and collectors. My view sounds like fence-sitting, but from where I stand, it isn't: I love modern & contemporary art, yet I'll cry "Bullshit!" along with many over some work, while at the same time being captivated and moved by something that bears a similarity to the offensive piece of 'poseur art'. One thing is for sure: it's complicated.

  33. *high-end art is mostly auctioned off to the most wealthy people on the planet. These high-end art is a status symbol for their wealth; they are expensive not because they appreciate the art very very much, because the very wealthy elite are able to afford it and want to show it off to others.* the price of a piece of high-end art is heavily correlated with the wealth of these elites.

  34. I've studied in Fine Arts and I can tell you Conceptual Art is 100% trolling. You pretend that meaningless shit has meaning when it doesn't. Then you watch as the intellectual wannabes pretend to understand what they're looking at.

  35. i disagree with the definition given- a more elegant and robust definition is that art-good art- is communication, not simply shallow emotionality or aesthetics. but it is true that most modern conceptual or abstract expressionist art is bollocks. art is not all a case of subjectivity- otherwise all experience would qualify as art and thus nullify the very concept. this is the narrative that frauds want you to believe. we can speak to a standard of objective quality in the arts and to deny such is simply a demonsration of intellectual limits.

  36. I know schooled artists have been taught different. My opinion is that artists should have skills and prove them, they should aim either beauty or human passions, depict reality or fiction, but no abstract art. If not, they're just trolling, degenerating, mocking. They were taught to believe their own BS and they transmit it to future generations. 20th century fucked up art.

  37. It does depend on the eye of the beholder. I do like the Jeff Koon's ballon dog in the background, but some of his other stuff is trash… I like stuff like Antony Gormley and Ron Muek… but yeah those fall into the category of something that takes more thought and skill to produce.

  38. I completely agree with you, personally I'm not a big fan of modern art, Renaissance art is probably my favorite era of art, but at the end of the day art is subjective. Just because I don't find it beautiful or interesting doesn't mean that other people won't either.

  39. I've been shitting and pissing on a canvas for years and still nothing. Thanks for the sawdust idea. That might be the break I need.

  40. Art exist in the eye of the beholder. But the partions of art does not always buy the art because they like or think its artful, but because they like to brag about how mush money they can waist on useless objects.

  41. If contemporary art is trolling, then it's totally Dadaistic, and dada was the best, most important high art movement of the 1900s, because I t showed that art wasn't about making realistic, or even surrealistic paintings, which are judged by how much they resemble reality (or surreality), the way a camera takes pictures.

    Dada showed that art was all about the frame, and showing people something from a different perspective, like the quintessential "The Fountain," by Marcel DuChamp. So, it essentially changed what "art is," and it's concept contrasts from what (high/fine) art used to be.

    With cameras, we could duplicate reality, with the push of a button, and so the Dada movement asked a fundamental question about "what art is" and demonstrated the value of perspective and ritualizing and transmitting one's perspective through art. It's when "what art is" a central question, too, if not that.

    So, if new art is trolling, then it's ironic Dadaism, which is great. It tests the boundaries of the perspective about perspectives.

  42. that definition of art is just not anyway near what art is really about. art is the interaction between the observer and the artwork. nothing else. anythng else is craft.

  43. abstract art is the only kind of art I like personally. I don't really see the point of representational art, but to each their own I guess

  44. First we should agree on a definition of art, then we could say if something is art or not. Secondly the art market is wholly unrelated to the real "artistic" value of the pieces. As long as something has the right signature on it, it can be sold for a lot of money even if it is a piece of trash. Art market is about branding not about excellence. The great masters of the past made a name for themselves because they were the best in their craft and everyone could see it. Nowadays "great artists" are manufactured by critics and art dealers to milk money out of upper class people.

  45. Contemporary art is ART period. Making an art piece needs emotion, subject, life and important things that will make it controversial or to be talked to by people. In this video you have to consult an art critique to understand more what is contemporary art. btw i'm an undergrad of fine arts in advertising.

  46. To pick just a few, the Emin unmade bed, the Duchamp "Fountain"/urinal, and the Hirst pickled shark and/or his gem-encrusted skull are all very well in their narrow ways (BUT all of them rely heavily on third parties to make the essential components of individual works). So far as there is "creativity", it is trifling – reputedly, Hirst entirely delegated both the layout and the fixing of the gems on the skull. (Faced with so much value, could the worthy Damien feel he lacked the skill, or could he just not be bothered?)
    Call me old-fashioned, as some no doubt will, I have never found inspiration, or even enduring interest, from those types of "pretend-art". On the other hand, I much admire Paul Klee (before his eyesight deteriorated), Van Gogh (drawings more than paintings) and a fair part of the less self-indulgent output of Picasso. Never-ending accustomisation to Middle Ages religious works can put one off those, TBH, even if the artists' skills are astounding.
    Overall, it seems to be rather a coin-flip, though agents' money must lie at the heart, with artistic accomplishment trailing far behind. Good luck, folks, when the bubble deflates.

  47. Sometimes it's both. A lot of really popular art that can be found in the most prestigious galleries, museums, and art fairs aren't always sincere. Some can be made purely to upset viewers or to make some ironic statement… Some made purely for spectacle. Often seen in white Conceptualism.

  48. The examples you give that attempt to challenge the notion of "what is art" like urination, trash, splashing paint, etc. I believe fall under Postmodern Conceptualism or Anti-Art. This does not reflect upon the larger body of Contemporary Art, much of which is very different. Many people consider such types of Postmodern Art as attempts at original art from those who weren't creative enough to come up with anything original, the way that art was always approached previously, essentially from the inside -> out rather than the outside -> in. They create something for the mere sake of it being original as part of the initial intention rather than the originality being the end result. So it's far more about impression than expression – the extreme of left-brained, intellectual art. But it's still a style of art by definition. Whether one likes it or not is a different story.

    I'd recommend checking these out for Contemporary Art works that you might find much more visually & emotionally engaging, yet still encompassing originality:

  49. I think it isn't a question of whether or not a piece is art or not, but whether that same piece is actually good art or not. I have no problem with people forming negative opinions over a piece they see. I have done that myself. However, the freedom the art community has given itself has also created things I would have never expected to see and in some cases I am glad to see.

  50. Isn't there a contradiction between asking "Who am I to say that it's not art?" and then concluding "Art is in the eye of the beholder"?

  51. It is actually trolling for money and attention, and in the meanwhile kill the few good art left. But there´s a light of hope, people are waking up.

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