Have you ever seen a piece of art in a gallery and thought ‘Really? That’s art’. This question begins your relationship with that artwork, and this relationship is based on a conversation that you and the artist have through the art. Modern art is about how we perceive our world and how artists perceive us. It is not limited to certain art-forms or a certain scale of difficulty; it is defined only by the interaction between artist and audience.
The Great Depression, the World Wars, and the Civil Rights movement gave us an era packed with art that was dark, nostalgic and unfiltered. The art commented on the social classes, politics, and lifestyles of that time; it had a distinct style of its own. The art was easy to comprehend then and, amazingly, now too. It was art that spoke to audiences willing to listen. As society continues to evolve, our artists need to evolve as well but so do our audiences. We have come a long way from the traditional understanding of art, as only encompassing sculptures, paintings, literature, and architecture to an array of art genres and mediums literally too vast to list. But as audiences we need to evolve our understanding of art; not all art is meant to be only viewed, some are to be felt with our hands, some are to be heard as well as seen. Art, much like it was in Ancient Greece, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the early 20th century, needs to be an experience for both artists and audiences.
What is art? What should be considered as art? Who is responsible for choosing art? All are questions that are irrelevant in this time and age. Rather we should understand how to experience the vast forms of art that are present today. It is too easy for people to make bad, meaningless art without an understanding of what it is they are presenting. It is equally too easy for us to dismiss art without even the slightest effort to understand it. For us to progress it is critical that artists and audiences understand their respective social responsibilities.