The Boundaries of Modern Art
About The Author
Richard Pooler obtained several degrees from the University of Cape Town, studying philosophy with an interest in philosophical aesthetics. His work is presently focused on the writings of Leonardo da Vinci, and a study of his Treatise of Painting, and his lost manuscripts. He has worked in the publishing industry all his life, editing and writing educational and general books. His hobby and major interest is in watercolour painting, and he has held several joint and one-man exhibitions. He lives in Cape Town, and is married with four children, and an increasing number of grandchildren.
About The Book
‘Conceptual art in the Western world is in crisis.’ That is the view of many people who are disillusioned with what they regard as its attention-seeking antics, where artists themselves have proudly proclaimed ‘the death of art’. Why has art been on this road to destruction, and how did it get there? How does one make sense of the bewildering complexity of Conceptual art, and how does one extract meaning from its diverse and sometimes bizarre manifestations? This predicament needs explanation, and an exploration of the theoretical underpinnings of modern and contemporary art, and a means to evaluate it.
This book starts with a summarised overview of the major art movements since the beginning of the twentieth century, a tracing of the extraordinary journey that art has followed in modern times.
The next part considers contemporary art movements, to explore whether they have value, and how that value can be determined. Are the activities that take place in the name of art actually art? Or, as some would have it, is it a gigantic sham, manipulated by clowns to make a trap for fools? To some, it is an outrage that modern and contemporary artists can splash paint around quickly and freely, with a modicum of skill, or assemble a range of found objects, and regard themselves as gifted and creative artists.
Others see this as a new, forward-rolling wave, with art at last released from the suffocation and restrictions of the past. The rules have been cast aside. There are fresh ways of exploring and seeing the world, and expressing it freely. The world is constantly changing, and art must change with it.
Modern art has followed a long journey. Traditions have been largely cast aside, and replaced with an unceasing search for the new. Our apparent progress is now being questioned. Where do we go from here? Are we on the right road? The second half of this book discusses how we can make sense of contemporary art and assign value to an artwork.
Traditional painting and sculpture have physical limits, Conceptual art does not. This is a new freedom - but is it freedom for art, or freedom from art?