is an interesting (and well designed) site that I found via Make Magazine's blog
. It is a gallery of generative artworks done in the Processing
programming language by Jerry Tarbell. If you check it out, be sure you not only view the static images but also launch the applets so that you can trigger Tarbell's generative algorithms and see new artworks being formed.
A thought that has been in the back of my head lately is how New Media art often seems to be automatically considered Contemporary. But that isn't always the case... for example, generative art (such Tarbell's) is often focused on formal aesthetics in a way that I'd characterize as Modern.
I suppose the temporal names all these art categories have (new, contemporary, modern) does nothing to help clarify... Many, many people (including those who should know better) seem to think that Contemporary refers to a time period (i.e., art being made today is Contemporary because it is contemporary). But that's not really any more true than all art today is Modern
because we're modern. Post-Modernism
seems to confound as well... more than once it's been argued to me that there can never be another art movement because everything that comes after Modernism will be post-modern (I usually counter by pointing out by the same logic we're all making Post-Impressionist
art). And of course the cherry on top is the Pre-Raphaelites
who were founded 300 years after Raphael
Incidentally, the Wikipedia currently has a particular bad definition of Contemporary Art
. I spent a week or two discussing it with the folks who edit the entry... I managed to convince them to mention the idea that Contemporary doesn't not simply mean "art made today." But overall, the entry tries to describe the movement as a moment in time. For example:
The institutions of art have been criticised for regulating what is designated as contemporary art. Outsider art, for instance, is literally contemporary art, in that it is produced in the present day.
The idea of outsider art always makes me a bit queasy. I find the category patronizing and overly focused on the human-interest aspect of the artists' lives (i.e., the artist is insane, has a low IQ, a murderer, etc.). Oddly, while I agree most "Outsider Art" isn't Contemporary Art (because the intention behind the art isn't really Contemporary), faux-Outsider Art (which is Contemporary) was a fad for a few years recently. If this seems wrong-headed, consider this... a child's scrawling might be reminiscent of of Picasso or a Pollock, but that doesn't mean the child is a Modern artist (because the child isn't trying to address Modern concerns).
Labels: art movements, computers, generative, interactive, Wikipedia