Art has changed. Today’s works of art may have no obvious focal point. Traditional artistic media no longer do what we expect of them. The styles and movements that characterized art production prior to the twenty-first century no longer exist.
This book provides a straightforward guide to understanding contemporary art based on the concept of the tabula rasa – a clean slate and a fresh mind. Ossian Ward presents a six-step program that gives readers new ways of looking at some of the most challenging art being produced today. Since artists increasingly work across traditional media and genres, Ward has developed an alternative classification system for contemporary practice such as ‘Art as Entertainment’, ‘Art as Confrontation’, ‘Art as Joke’ — categories that help to make sense of otherwise obscure-seeming works. There are also 20 ‘Spotlight’ features which guide readers through encounters with key works.
Ultimately, the message is that any encounter with a challenging work of contemporary art need not be intimidating or alienating but rather a dramatic, sensually rewarding, and thought-provoking experience.