ART SEMINAR GROUP ONLINE PROGRAM
Recent Tendencies in Contemporary Art: The Contours of Contemporary Art: An Overview of Recent Developments
Kerr Houston, professor of art history, theory and criticism, Maryland Institute College of Art
The past two years have been marked by considerable turbulence, loss, friction—and resilience. But how have active artists been responding to this dynamically changing world? In this three-part series, Kerr Houston will offer a compressed overview of contemporary art through several lenses. In focusing on work made since 2019, the lectures will identify common artistic aims and strategies, consider a range of attitudes towards materials, and investigate the themes of geography and site as they relate to contemporary art. We will focus largely on specific examples, supplementing references to a number of works exhibited recently in Baltimore and New York City with allusions to work made around the globe. Ultimately, though, our goal will be synthetic and comparative: how might we begin to isolate common threads, or to characterize art in the present tense?
The first in a three-part series, this lecture will identify a number of important recent tendencies in the art world, with a marked attention to larger social and geopolitical contexts. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the motions for social justice following the killing of George Floyd, and from Hong Kong to the polar ice caps, the past two years have witnessed remarkable upheavals. In looking at work by Wangechi Mutu, Amy Sherald, Patty Chang, David Hockney, Maya Lin, and others, we will think closely about themes such as figurative representation, solitude, social and institutional critique, and environmental activism.
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