What Art Is Online


Supplement to What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand
by Louis Torres & Michelle Marder Kamhi


Appendix B [Part II]

Artworld Buzzwords


The following list of artworld buzzwords and clichés supplements the original Appendix B [Part I] published in What Art Is. In most instances, one can safely infer that when these terms are used in criticism, the work in question is not art. The absence of recent examples or examples that are few in number should not be taken as an indication that a particular buzzword is no longer in vogue or is not relatively commonplace. Unless otherwise indicated, the emphasis in all cases is ours. For other examples, see Louis Torres, "Blurring the Boundaries at the NEA." Phrases and terms marked with an asterisk (*) also appear in the original appendix.


Buzzwords: appropriation, artist, avant-garde, become art, become art, blur, boundaries, but is it art?, cerebral, challenge, comment, complex, confront, consider art, contemporary, cutting-edge, daring, declare to be art, dialogue, difficult, dismantle, disrupt, disturbing, edgy, emerging artist, enigmatic, engage, establish as art, examine, expand, experimental, explore, force, gallerist, ground-breaking, innovative, intervene, invent, investigate, make, make a statement about, new, object, outrage, probe, progressive, provoke, push, push (press) buttons, push the envelope, push the boundaries, push the limits, question, quirky, raise questions, redefine, refuse, require, risky, seductive, subvert, unconventional, untitled, visual culture


August 2012 - New examples: blur, challenge, explore. New entries: complex, make. Search for each term, or scroll down to the tags.


appropriation
"Richard Prince: Appropriation artist." "The Influentials: Art," New York Magazine, 15 May 2006. See also Mia Fineman Slate quotation at "blur," 15 May 2006.

artist, the [the artist]

[Note: This term is often repeated in articles and reviews in place of specific terms such as "the photographer" or "the architect," or the person's name, as if to convince the reader that what the individual produces is, in fact, "art."]
"Because of the scale of the piece, 45 by 15 feet, the oregano ballast couldn't anchor the figures. The artist would have used so much oregano that the bulky bags would have overwhelmed the artwork." Alina Corday-Taylor, "Ernesto Neto's Work in Progress," Smithsonian, June 2002.
"The . . . scenarios are based on interviews conducted by the artist with women experiencing depression and psychotic episodes." Talya Halkin, "Small Housing & Big Sculptures in Chelsea," New York Sun, June 2002 [exact date unknown].

avant-garde

See discussion of this and related terms, with images of examples [more].

become art (see also consider Art, declare to be art, and establish as art, below, and elevate, Appendix B)

"There is, strictly speaking, no art in this exhibition, certainly no pure art . . . . The objects here confirm that design can rise to the level of art, through formidable concentration on its own purposes, materials and techniques." Roberta Smith, "A Bauhaus Couple [Josef and Anni Albers] Lived Their Less-Is-More Credo," New York Times, 1 October 2004.
"[Steve] Tobin [whose projects include making "sculpture" of bronzed animal bones, a forest floor, tree roots, and African termite hills] calls what he does--turning aspects of nature into sculpture--'visual science.'" Amei Wallach, "Back to Nature," Smithsonian, June 2004.
"Avant-Garde Books Become Art at MoMA" (by David Grosz), New York Sun, 16 May 2002.

blur (push, ignore, etc.) the boundaries (tear down, walls, barriers, etc.)*

"Gregory Scott blurs the lines between painting, photography, and video to create humorous and often challenging works of art. In these hybrid artworks, Scott seamlessly blends imbedded computer screens with still photographic and/or painted images. The result is a series of complex, narrative compositions that, although entertaining, explore a range of issues from perception and illusion, to identity and loneliness. Scott combines art with entertainment, making the viewer reconsider the traditional role of art within the context of modern technology. Outside the Frame: Gregory Scott [Interactive exhibition images on Scott's website], Shaw Center for the Arts, Louisiana State University Museum of Art, March 3, 2012 - October 7, 2012.
"Marguerite Van Cook, a friend and collaborator who showed his work at the Ground Zero Gallery, which she owned with husband James Romberger, emphasized that breaking artistic boundaries was central to [David Wojnarowicz]. 'As a painter, his work is expressionist. How do you transfer that to the Dada and German influence, and then just plain punk?' she said." Pia Catton, "Censored, Censured, but Never Forgotten: Rescuing the Legacy of a Controversial New York Artist," Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2011.
"In this final panel, printed white on white, the tiny digits are barely perceptible, blurring the line between nothingness and infinity." Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, "An Artist for Whom the 'Glitch' Is the Message," Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2010.
"It was a typically revolutionary idea for [Robert] Rauschenberg, who disdained barriers and, perhaps because he was a Texan, did not like being fenced in. Among the most notorious found objects incorporated into the sculptures were a stuffed angora goat [Monogram, 1958-1959], a paint-spattered unmade bed [Bed, 1955] [more] and an American bald eagle [Canyon [more]." Barbara Rose, "Rauschenberg's Revolution. . . [ellipsis in original]," Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2008.
"Translating into visual terms [John] Cage's inclusive multidisciplinary aesthetic, which launched Happenings and tore down the walls separating the arts, became [Robert Rauschenberg's] life's mission." Barbara Rose, "Rauschenberg's Revolution. . . [ellipsis in original]," Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2008.
". . . [Frank] Stella has said of this working period ["Frank Stella: Paintings 1958-1965"], I was pushing [the boundaries of] abstract painting as hard as I could,' and he possessed a compulsion not to separate himself from his predecessors, but to bluntly interrogate [question] their subjective impulses and ultimately move painting forward." Alix Finkelstein, "Stella's Year of Magical Painting," New York Sun, October 18, 2007.
"[Richard] Prince . . . has long played cat and mouse with [blurred the] distinctions between life and art, reality and fantasy, truth and fiction." Randy Kennedy, "The Duchamp of the Muscle Car: Richard Prince Blurs the Distinctions Between Life and Art" [subtitle from print edition]," New York Times, September 23, 2007.
"The retrospective focuses on the development of his signature innovation--harnessing gunpowder to create powerful explosions resulting in drawings, created at the moment of the blast ignition, which blur the boundaries between drawing and performance. Three entire levels of the rotunda's ramp will be dedicated to illustrating how this practice coheres with the indoor and outdoor explosion events that Cai [Guo-Qiang] has produced in over twenty cities around the world, challenging and expanding the possibilities forephemeral, site-specific art." "Guggenheim Museum Presents Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe, Exhibition Overview, Press Release, September 6, 2007.
"Design art is an area which is exceedingly exciting because there is a blurring between the contemporary art market and the design market." Alexander Payne, worldwide director of design at the auction house Phillips, de Pury & Company, quoted in Wendy Moonan, "Where Modern Art and Furniture Profitably Meet" (antiques column), New York Times, 2 June 2006.
"Richard Prince: Appropriation artist. Blurred the line between ad icon and art object with his "Marlboro Men." "The Influentials: Art," New York Magazine, 15 May 2006.
"In 1983, [Prince] showed a group of photographs called Cowboys [Untitled: 1990, 1993, 1995] , in which he re-photographed Marlboro cigarette ads, cropping out the text and blowing them up to nearly life-size. These heroic images of Madison Avenue cowboys perfectly embodied the screwy zeitgeist of the Reagan years: a B-movie cowboy for president and a pill-popping first lady whose political mantra was "Just Say No." The "Cowboy" pictures made his name; their appropriations were like projections from inside the vaults of the cultural unconscious." Mia Fineman, "The Pleasure Principle: Richard Prince's Post-Pulp Art Takes a New Step," Slate, 30 October 2003.
"Elizabeth Murray (American, b. 1940) belongs to a generation of artists who emerged in the 1970s and whose exposure to Cubist-derived Minimalism and Surrealist-influenced Pop inspired experimentation with new modes of expression that would bridge the gap between these two historical models." [Source: Museum of Modern Art - # 1] "Murray continues to push the boundaries of traditional printmaking with three-dimensional, shaped, and collaged editions, underscoring the collaborative relationship between artist and master printer. [MoMA - # 2] "These works straddle the line between representation and abstraction, revealing how ordinary objects often serve as a point of departure for an artist's abstract vision, or, alternatively, how an artist's abstract forms may subtly suggest recognizable elements." [MoMA - # 3], 19 October 2005 - 9 January 2006 [see other links for respective dates].
"[Arthur Danto] seems most sympathetic to protean, jack-of-all-trades artists like [Gerhard] Richter, who makes a point of working in a variety of styles, or [Dieter] Roth, who purposely blurs the boundaries between art and refuse--creators, that is, who self-consciously parade their freedom in what Danto has identified as the age of freedom." Barry Gewen, "Art for Arthur's Sake," New York Times Book Review, 27 March 2005.
"There's not much doubt that the art world is a lot more porous than it used to be, open to all kinds of visual and not-so-visual activity previously considered beyond its borders." Roberta Smith, "Invading Genres Breach the Art World's Porous Borders," New York Times, 9 March 2005.
"An avant-garde work pushes the known boundaries of acceptable art sometimes with revolutionary, cultural, or political implications." Definition on website of National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., [accessed November 2004].
"The 13 artworks in No Boundaries: Fiber + Art lead us to the intersection of fine art and fiber art. Artists known primarily for their work with textiles are represented by painterly compositions or sculptural, three-dimensional objects, while painters, sculptors, and photographers find artistic expression through weaving and sewing. No Boundaries: Fiber + Art brings together objects from the Museum's textile art, Asian art, native art, and modern and contemporary collections." Description of the exhibition (6 November 2004 - 10 July 2005) on the website of the Denver Art Museum (see image there of Lucas/Rug, by the much-hyped Chuck Close).
"Blurring the boundary between landscape architecture and art, the Cornerstone Festival of Gardens is the first gallery of avant-garde landscape architecture in the United States . . . ." [This article also refers to "experimental landscapes."] Christopher Hall, "Avant-Green: Landscaping as a Fine Art," New York Times, 15 August 2004.
"The selected works in this latest exhibition [Corporal Identity: Body Language] demonstrate the new frontier of craft, decorative arts and design, where the boundaries among creative disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred. . . . This probing and experimental foray into the significance of the applied arts and design as they relate to the human body crosses traditional boundaries among the arts and embodies [the museum's] expanded mission: to explore the rich intersections of international craft, art and design." Website of the former American Craft Museum (or, it now insists on calling itself, the Museum of Arts & Design), 26 April 2004.
"Like many predecessors and contemporaries-- notably Robert Rauschenberg--[Dieter Roth] chose to emphasize the street over the ivory tower, the disorder of daily existence over the eternal verities. He crowded art and life together. . . . He was not an artist who tolerated boundaries, in time, place, or works of art." Peter Rainer, "Things Fall Apart," New York, 12 April 2004.
"'New art is always shocking,' says Lisa Phillips, director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and co-curator of a McCarthy retrospective in 2000, 'because you don't know what you're looking at. And that is the case with Paul McCarthy. If you had to say something was shocking about his work, it would not be the sex or the violence. It would be about the threshold between sanity and insanity. Its about boundaries being permeated and transgressed. It makes people nervous when there aren't any boundaries.'" Linda Yablonsky, "How Far Can You Go?" ARTNews, January 2004.
"'One of the jobs of an artist is to be careful where to draw lines,' [photographer Jeff] Burton says. 'Boundaries are made for the artist to test.'" Quoted in Linda Yablonsky, "How Far Can You Go?" ARTNews, January 2004.
"These [new] paintings . . . are sumptuous, absorbing, and masterful. . . . [Helen Frankenthaler] was once an artist pushing the boundaries of the language of painting." David Cohen, Gallery-Going, New York Sun, 15 May 2003.
"The Role of the Document" [a Continuing Education Course]. "Dialogue about the boundaries between art making and the documentation process." GuggenheimGuide (Exhibitions/Programs, Guggenheim Museum, New York City), May-June 2003.
"[The exhibition] 'Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism' . . . pulses with a heady sense of artistic breakthrough and derring-do. It initiates the viewer into a fulminating geometric universe suffused with mystical fervor and decorative punch that burst the boundaries of painting and drawing." Roberta Smith, "A Bombshell of Modernism Recaptured," New York Times, 13 May 2003. [For more images, see Suprematist Compositions.]
"During the last several years, [Richard] Tuttle has made series of pieces that walk the line between painting and sculpture: entire shows of vague, geometric forms depicted in thinly applied paint on modest squares of plywood--only steps away from what could have been produced by a child." Alex Mar, "Gallery-Going," New York Sun, 15 May 2003.
"I believe that there are sets of tendencies that art today is following. These are often best understood by looking at individual artists who exemplify them, and thinking about how these artists are stretching our understanding and definitions of art. Eleanor Hartley, "The Visual Arts: Blurring the Boundaries, U. S. Society & Values, April 2003.
"One reason that glass has made the jump from being perceived as craft to being perceived as art is the work of Dale Chihuly, who critics say pushed the boundaries of glassworking and, in his sculpture, blurred the line between decorative and fine art. . . . 'Boundaries between artists and craftsmen have melded considerably since the 1960's, when I began exhibiting,' Mr. Chihuly said. . . . David Revere McFadden [chief curator of the former American Craft Museum, now calling itself the Museum of Arts and Design] explained: . . . 'There's been such an eroding of the traditional borders between various fields that we decided it was a mistake to keep using [the term 'craft']." Stephen Kinzer, "The Luster of Glass Joins Art's Mainstream," New York Times, 28 April 2003.
"Seen together as a series, Ms. Leonard's small c-prints [photographs] straddle the line between the documentary impulse to preserve images of meaningful sites or objects and the conceptual thrust to create series that share a common formal or typological denominator of individual significance." Talya Halkin, Gallery-Going, New York Sun, 27 March 2003.
"Sharon Lockhart's work [such as Teatro Amazonas (1999)] walks the line between documentary and art film, between what's real and what's theater. . . . [Werner] Herzog himself is one of the all-time greats at walking the razor's edge between fiction and documentary--with daring and dangerous results." [Herzog, whose work inspired Lockhart's, is most renowned for his 1982 film Fitzcarraldo.] Alex Mar, Gallery-Going, New York Sun, 27 March 2003.
"Unerring and intuitive in their sense of color, shape and scale, [Rosie Lee] Tompkins's quilts are formidably joyful events that ignore the usual boundaries between cultures, histories and mediums." Roberta Smith, "Art in Review," New York Times, 1 November 2002.
"No Labels, No Boundaries: An Artistry of the Moment." Headline for article about Doug Aitken, a "multimedia artist" who is "one of his generation's most celebrated artists, working . . . in video, film, installation, photography, sound, artist's books or, more typically, some combination of these." Jeffrey Kastner, New York Times, 6 October 2002.
"The boundaries between art, design and craft have broken down. We view the word craft as a process of transforming materials, not a final object." Holly Hotchner, director, the American Craft Museum (New York City), quoted from her announcement of the institution's new name, the Museum of Contemporary Arts and Design. Carol Vogel, "In New Name, Museum Goes Contemporary," New York Times, 3 October 2002.
"Many contemporary artists, who have blurred the boundaries between not only high art and low art, but also art and other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, have challenged both artistic process and artistic authority. Performing archeology [for example], Mark Dion's artistic process entails urban archeological digs in different parts of the world." Dipti Desai, "The Ethnographic Move in Contemporary Art: What Does it Mean for Art Education?" Studies in Art Education, Summer 2002, p. 320.
"I don't know how she happened to have a two-point trapeze bar, but she was always one to push boundaries." Nancy Smith, founder-director of the Aerial Dance Festival, quoted on Terry Sendgraff, who "invented" the genre of "aerial dance" in 1974.) Glenn Giffin, "Aerial Dance Festival Shows Off Emerging Art Form in Boulder [Colorado]," Denver Post, 7 August 2002.
". . . artists themselves have been pushing the boundaries of any . . . definition [of 'art'], challenging our preconceptions, and leaving most philosophers, psychologists and critics well behind--to say nothing of the general public. . . . Environmental art pushes the definitional boundaries by placing art outside the museum, in a (more) natural environment. Well known examples include earthworks, e.g., by Robert Smithson, and wrapped buildings by Christos [sic]." Joseph A. Goguen, "What Is Art?" Introduction to Art and the Brain, Part 2, Journal of Consciousness Studies, special issue, August/September 2000.
"Childhood, and the shifting boundary between documentary and art in the realm of photography, are also the subject of Beloved Child, an exhibition of works by the German artist Andrea Frank." Talya Halkin, "Children in Photography," New York Sun, 16 May 2002.
"The role of the contemporary artist in any culture is to push the boundaries of people's perceptions. . . . A truly vibrant, healthy, innovative culture needs these artists to be free." Michael Zerella, letter to the editor, New York Times, 16 February 2001.

boundaries

See blur, above.

but is it art?

(For examples and a brief discussion of this phrase--sometimes "Yes, but is it art?"--see "The Ubiquitous Question: 'But Is It Art?'" in What Art Is Online.)

cerebral

"Back at Dance Theater Workshop, only one choreographer showed signs of making the space work: the astute, visually oriented John Jasperse. In the stunning 'Just Two Dancers' . . . Mr. Jasperse, who has won international acclaim for his cerebral, moody choreography, surpassed even himself." Gia Kourlas, "Where Dance Is Moving: Off the Stage," New York Times, July 27, 2003.

challenge*

"Gregory Scott blurs the lines between painting, photography, and video to create humorous and often challenging works of art. In these hybrid artworks, Scott seamlessly blends imbedded computer screens with still photographic and/or painted images. The result is a series of complex, narrative compositions that, although entertaining, explore a range of issues from perception and illusion, to identity and loneliness. Scott combines art with entertainment, making the viewer reconsider the traditional role of art within the context of modern technology." Outside the Frame: Gregory Scott [Interactive exhibition images on Scott's website], Shaw Center for the Arts, Louisiana State University Museum of Art, March 3, 2012 - October 7, 2012.
"Drawing inspiration from already existing art, Bocanegra challenges conventional notions of art and the various forms that art can take." Elizabeth Porfido, "Bocanegra's 'I Write the Songs,'" Skidmore News (student newspaper, Skidmore College), December 11, 2010.
"[At] Florence Gould Hall, animated at frame rates that challenge human perception, these images took on a life of their own, shooting by like glittering schools of fish." Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, "An Artist for Whom the 'Glitch' Is the Message," Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2010.
"Curated by Mary Jane Jacob, executive director of exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Partisan is a special exhibition of works culled from Art Chicago galleries that are dedicated to the artistic exploration of social and political ideas. With hopes of initiating dialogue about art, activism and social change, Partisan provides a critical and challenging space of thought provoking and project-oriented works within an art fair context." Special Exhibitions at Art Chicago, 2009.
"Yoko Ono is a multimedia artist who constantly challenges the traditional boundaries of sculpture, painting, theater, and music. Since the late 1950s, her groundbreaking conceptual and performance work, experimental films, and music established her as an influential and major artist." Americans for the Arts, National Arts Awards (Kitty Carlisle Hart Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts), 2008.
"The retrospective focuses on the development of his signature innovation--harnessing gunpowder to create powerful explosions resulting in drawings, created at the moment of the blast ignition, which blur the boundaries between drawing and performance. Three entire levels of the rotunda's ramp will be dedicated to illustrating how this practice coheres with the indoor and outdoor explosion events that Cai [Guo-Qiang] has produced in over twenty cities around the world, challenging and expanding the possibilities forephemeral, site-specific art." "Guggenheim Museum Presents Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe, Exhibition Overview, Press Release, September 6, 2007.
"Publicly launched in 2005, Art in General's New Commissions Program centers on developing and exhibiting new and challenging projects by artists who are interested in creating new work." Art in General, New Commissions, 2008.
On Luis Camnitzer, a "pioneering Conceptual artist": "The single early piece here, "Sifter (The Mechanism for Killing a Spectator)" [more] (1978), is . . . word based [see also Last Words, made up of hundreds of "short, direct-address sentences . . . from final statements made by death row prisoners"]. But in this case the words are written by Mr. Camnitzer and challenge viewers to respond positively to the art experience he is providing or risk instant electrocution [an example of his 'mordant wit']." Holland Cotter, "Luis Camnitzer," New York Times, April 11, 2008.
"Chris Burden [more] made a name for himself early in his career by testing the limits of his body and the temperament of his audience. In Shoot (1971), he held a gallery opening where, assisted by two friends, he was shot in the arm while the event was filmed. . . . / Paul McCarthy . . . uses a variety of tactics designed to elicit discomfort from his audience, including the liberal use of a variety of materials that simulate bodily fluids and waste. . . . / Both artists explore the boundaries of the human body in their work, typically through violent actions: Burden through self-inflicted pain, and McCarthy through the destruction of the performance space, remnants of which have been displayed as works in their own right. Through these acts of violence, they disturb the separation between performer and audience, challenging Western theatrical traditions." Robert W. Sweeny, Art and Art Education Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, "'This Performance Art is for the Birds:' Jackass, 'Extreme' Sports, and the De(con)struction of Gender," Studies in Art Education, Winter 2008.
"The [Cranbrook Art Museum's] changing exhibitions are a continuing commentary on our society and world. From contemplative to cutting edge, the exhibitions challenge emotions and sensibilities." Cranbrook Art Museum website, Exhibitions, accessed June 2008.
"Like other Conceptual artists who gained international recognition in the late 1960s and early 1970s, [Lawrence] Weiner has investigated forms of display and distribution that challenge traditional assumptions about the nature of the art object." Biography of Lawrence Weiner, Guggenheim Museum website, accessed September 2007.
"Neon Templates of the Left Half of my Body, Taken at Ten Inch Intervals (1966; priv. col., see 1972 exh. cat., no. 17) and the colour photograph Self Portrait as a Fountain (1966; New York, Whitney) show [Bruce Nauman] first extracting strangely compelling neon forms from the contours of his body and, in the latter, whimsically challenging preconceived notions of the 'fountain.'" Artist Summary, Bruce Nauman, Artfact, accessed January 2006.
"When Bruce Nauman, Michael Snow and Peter Campus turned to video technology in the 1960's, they did so to challenge viewers' expectations by tipping them off balance, providing an ambiguous experience rather than a familiar one. / Mr. Nauman's 'Spinning Spheres' from 1970, for example, is a large, and, to that extent, immersive four-screen projection featuring a spinning steel ball. Its effect is truly dizzying." Michael Rush, "In Love with Reality Truly, Madly, Virtually," New York Times, 8 January 2006.
"Most mainstream ensembles are wary of new music and fearful of alienating subscribers who, it is assumed, like their music tried and true and resist challenging modern musical languages. . . . Ideally, mainstream ensembles must embrace rather than fear challenging works. . . . The small house for the Chamber Music Society's Birtwistle program grew smaller still as this gnarly and astringent music began, and a number of people truckled out. Still, those who stayed must have been provoked and engaged by the challenging music . . . challenging as "Pulse Shadows. . . . So the moral of today's sermon is that mainstream institutions . . . should embrace challenging works, sell them as sometimes discomforting experiences that can be exciting because they are discomforting. . . ." Anthony Tommasini, "Helping Music Audiences Get Beyond the Shock of the Contemporary," New York Times, 25 December 2004. For a critique of this article, see Louis Torres, "He Felt Like Shooting Himself," Aristos, August 2005.
"[Ben] Nicholson challenges the capacities of a flat surface with an architectonic approach that merges painting and carving. Color itself is handled as a form of relief. Areas of solid pigment advance from sections scraped back with renunciatory scruple [!], sometimes to the raw linen." Maureen Mullarkey, New York Sun, 16 September 2004. [A version of this review is on the writer's website, as "From Poetry to Pseudo-Politics."]
"Speaking at a National Campaign for the Arts conference at the Royal Festival Hall in London yesterday, [British Playwright David] Edgar said it was the responsibility of artists to challenge the country's great cultural institutions." Charlotte Higgins, "Outrage Is Central to Art, Says Dramatist," The Guardian (London), 22 June 2004.
"[Edgar said] 'If the arts are to have . . . centrality to our human experience . . . , then the inevitably patrician institutions that provide them need to be challenged and held to account by the spirit of provocation rather than flattened out by the market.'" Charlotte Higgins, "Outrage Is Central to Art, Says Dramatist," The Guardian (London), 22 June 2004.
"'The traditional narrative time-line,' wrote [Robert] Coover [an advocate of 'hypertext narrative'], who makes it clear that he has a personal investment in 'fictions that challenge linearity,' 'vanishes into a geographical landscape or exitless maze, with beginnings, middles and ends no longer part of the immediate display.'" Tim Parks, "Tales Told by the Computer," the New York Review of Books, 24 October 2002.
"The [art] museum is most provocative when it challenges our notion of art . . . with artwork that stretches the boundaries of . . . definitions." David Grosz, "Avant-Garde Books Become Art at MoMA," New York Sun, 16 May 2002.
"My goal as curator is to challenge our natural inclination to remain inflexible." Toby Devan Lewis, curator of corporate art for the Progressive Corporation, a Cleveland insurance company. Quoted by Tanya Mohn, "Office Artwork Brings Out the Critic in Employees," New York Times, 31 January 2001.
"Let us first consider 'found art,' also called 'readymade' art, which challenges the role of the artist as the constructor of art. An especially famous example is Duchamp's urinal [1917]. . . . Conceptual art challenges the materiality of art, by using physical forms that may themselves be relatively prosaic or even boring, such as hand-lettered posterboards, perhaps to suggest a concept, or a reconceptualization of an existing situation. In addition, there are traditions, such as performance art and body art, that give new roles to the artist, e. g., as part of the artwork, and also challenges current ideas about boundaries among various art forms, e. g., between theatre and visual art, or between music, literature and theatre." Joseph A. Goguen, "What Is Art?", Journal of Consciousness Studies, August/September 2000.

comment

"The [Cranbrook Art Museum's] changing exhibitions are a continuing commentary on our society and world. From contemplative to cutting edge, the exhibitions challenge emotions and sensibilities." Cranbrook Art Museum website, Exhibitions, accessed June 2008.

complex (see also difficult)

"Gregory Scott blurs the lines between painting, photography, and video to create humorous and often challenging works of art. In these hybrid artworks, Scott seamlessly blends imbedded computer screens with still photographic and/or painted images. The result is a series of complex, narrative compositions that, although entertaining, explore a range of issues from perception and illusion, to identity and loneliness. Scott combines art with entertainment, making the viewer reconsider the traditional role of art within the context of modern technology." Outside the Frame: Gregory Scott [Interactive exhibition images on Scott's website], Shaw Center for the Arts, Louisiana State University Museum of Art, March 3, 2012 - October 7, 2012.

confront

See Force, below.

consider art (see also declare to be art and establish as art, below, become art, above, and elevate, Appendix B)

"The recent movement in contemporary site-specific art, however, has transformed not only what we consider art and the value we place on artistic authority, but more importantly, the entrenched belief in the artist as object maker." Dipti Desai, "The Ethnographic Move in Contemporary Art: What Does It Mean for Art Education?" Studies in Art Education, Summer 2002, 319.

contemporary

In artworld discourse the term "contemporary art" does not simply refer to work "of the current period," as ordinary usage would lead one to expect. Instead it refers to postmodernist work and abstraction, but never to traditional realist painting and sculpture. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, for example, claims that "contemporary art" means "work produced since 1940 in all media," then declares that it "identifies and supports the most significant and challenging art of its time [emphasis added; see buzzword challenge above]." On this practice, see "What About the Other Face of Contemporary Art?" (Aristos, June 2008), and "The Interminable Monopoly of the Avant-Garde" (Aristos, forthcoming).]

"Some art can seem so far removed from our everyday experience that it is hard to understand. Contemporary art . . . can be especially difficult." Laura Lopez, et al., "The Individual Video Experience (iVE): The iPod as an Educational Tool in the Museum," Art Education, January 2008.

cutting-edge* (see also new, unconventional)

"The [Cranbrook Art Museum's] changing exhibitions are a continuing commentary on our society and world. From contemplative to cutting edge, the exhibitions challenge emotions and sensibilities." Cranbrook Art Museum website, Exhibitions, accessed June 2008.
"In the past few years, collectors have made a sport of sneaking in early to art fairs, where the real dealing gets done. Since 2003, the nada fair has been among the most tempting targets, with a mix of cutting-edge alternative galleries . . . and for-profit dealers." "The Influentials: Art," New York Magazine, May 15, 2006.
"The Department of Art is committed to cutting-edge professional art training within the context of a liberal arts university. Headed by a faculty of internationally recognized artists and theoreticians and complemented by a roster of distinguished visiting lecturers, the department provides a strong grounding in the principal art traditions and in the visual language of contemporary studio practice." UCLA, Department of Art, Undergraduate Degree Programs. (No college department of art is more radical than the one at UCLA. See, for example, the work of such faculty members as Nancy Rubins, a professor of "sculpture," and Paul McCarthy, a professor of "new genres" who has been described as specializing "almost exclusively in human degradation, mutilation, scatology and perversion." Representative images of his "work" accompany "The Mechanical Id," a review of a solo exhibition.)
"The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum presents 80 cutting-edge artists and design firms in the exhibition 'National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now,' which runs to January 25, 2004." "Designer in the Hot Seat," Smithsonian, May 2003.
"Nowhere in the nation is there anything like Boulder's Aerial Dance Festival. It is unique. It is cutting-edge . . . this 'emerging art form.'" Glenn Giffen, "Aerial Dance Festival Shows Off Emerging Art Form in Boulder," Denver Post, 7 August 2002.

daring

"Few cultural groups have done as much to make compelling public art possible as Creative Time. For 30 years, the nonprofit has commissioned and helped to fund daring works. The pieces they commission are deliberately 'temporary'--defying the cliché of public art as something that must be permanent as bronze. They have also demonstrated a predilection towards projects that allow artists to 'try something new.'" Alex Mar, Gallery-Going, New York Sun, 28 August 2003.

declare to be art (see also become art and consider art, above, establish as art, below, and elevate, Appendix B)

"When Carl Andre laid plates of steel on the floor, declared the work a sculpture and invited us to walk on it, asking that we be alert to how we felt in doing so, we and the gallery became integral to the art, which, in a sense, was incomplete on its own." Michael Kimmelman, "How Not Much Is a Whole World," New York Times, 2 April 2004.

dialogue

"Curated by Mary Jane Jacob, executive director of exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Partisan is a special exhibition of works culled from Art Chicago galleries that are dedicated to the artistic exploration of social and political ideas. With hopes of initiating dialogue about art, activism and social change, Partisan provides a critical and challenging space of thought provoking and project-oriented works within an art fair context." Special Exhibitions at Art Chicago, 2009.

difficult (see also complex)

"Some art can seem so far removed from our everyday experience that it is hard to understand. Contemporary art . . . can be especially difficult." Laura Lopez, et al., "The Individual Video Experience (iVE): The iPod as an Educational Tool in the Museum," Art Education, January 2008.
"Dia:Beacon offers some of the most potent art experiences to be found anywhere, in some of the most well-considered settings. But it was conceived largely to present difficult work for long durations in one space. And for much of what it offers, difficult is the word." Richard Lacayo, "Let's Supersize It!" Time, 20 May 2003.

dismantle

"Karen Maness uses materials such as Ivory soap and dried rose petals to dismantle notions of beauty. 2009 Master of Fine Art Thesis Exhibition, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

disrupt

"Employing such materials as rubber, carpet, painted aluminum, Styrofoam, and paint, Rudolf Stingel's work [e. g., Untitled, 2000, styrofoam, each: 48 x 96 x 4 inches; overall: 96 x 96 x 4 inches] questions and disrupts the viewer's understanding and experience of an art object. Although Stingel's work does not always involve paint on canvas, it continually reflects upon some of the fundamental questions concerning painting today, including authenticity, hierarchy, meaning, and context. While Stingel, who was shown in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, has created major installations for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and numerous other institutions, this is his first solo museum exhibition in the United States, surveying his career to date and including a new site-specific work." Press Release, Rudolf Stingel, Whitney Museum of American Art, Special [Past] Exhibitions [scroll down], June 28-October 14, 2007.
"[The playwright David] Edgar said art 'has been properly concerned not to preserve national identity, but to question it . . . disrupting rather than confirming how we see the world.'" Charlotte Higgins, "Outrage Is Central to Art, Says Dramatist," The Guardian (London), 22 June 2004.

disturbing [disturb]*

"Chris Burden [more] made a name for himself early in his career by testing the limits of his body and the temperament of his audience. In Shoot (1971), he held a gallery opening where, assisted by two friends, he was shot in the arm while the event was filmed. . . . / Paul McCarthy . . . uses a variety of tactics designed to elicit discomfort from his audience, including the liberal use of a variety of materials that simulate bodily fluids and waste. . . . / Both artists explore the boundaries of the human body in their work, typically through violent actions: Burden through self-inflicted pain, and McCarthy through the destruction of the performance space, remnants of which have been displayed as works in their own right. Through these acts of violence, they disturb the separation between performer and audience, challenging Western theatrical traditions." Robert W. Sweeny, Art and Art Education Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, "'This Performance Art is for the Birds:' Jackass, 'Extreme' Sports, and the De(con)struction of Gender," Studies in Art Education, Winter 2008.
"Quite possibly the most fascinating, beautiful, disturbing and difficult exhibition of the current season is the retrospective of Arshile Gorky's drawings at the Whitney Museum through Feb. 15." Karen Wilkin, "Beautiful, Disturbing and Difficult," Wall Street Journal, 28 January 2004. [See item on Gorky, "Notes & Comments," Aristos, February 2004.]

edgy

"As a group, the works in POPulence are celebratory and edgy." Current Exhibitions, Blaffer Gallery (the Art Museum of the University of Houston), June 25 - August 27, 2005.
"The other purchases [by the Seattle Art Museum] are edgier and, in some cases riskier. . . . Seattle sculptor and designer Roy McMakin [more] will explore the sculptural aspects of chairs and benches." Regina Hackett, "SAM Rounds Up Impressive Art to Launch Olympic Sculpture Park," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 15, 2004.
"If the art world no longer possesses the kind of central, identifiable avant-garde that existed for much of the 20th century, there are nonetheless artists that dominate the international dialogue. Their often edgy, conceptual works are trumpeted in the pages of Artforum and Flash Art, spotlighted at the Whitney Biennial and Documenta and eagerly purchased by chic, attention-grabbing collectors." Kyle MacMillan, Critic-at-Large, "Unsung Botanical Art Enjoys Healthy Existence," Denver Post, October 28, 2002.

emerging artist

"A gantlet of paparazzi flanked the entrance to the Guggenheim on the night of the museum's annual Young Collectors Council gala last month. . . . After their initial milling about, the guests dropped off their cocktails and walked through a silent auction of works by emerging artists, which served as the focal point of the evening." Dana Vachon, "Darling, You Look Marvelous in Matisse," New York Times, 15 January 2006.
"The Museum of Arts & Design . . . , known for creating exhibitions that showcase emerging artists and new art forms, has joined with two German museums . . . to present Corporal Identity - Body Language. The exhibition, to be presented in the United States and Germany, intriguingly probes [see explore] contemporary attitudes toward the human body and the relationship between body and self." Website of the former American Craft Museum (or, it now insists on calling itself, the Museum of Arts & Design), 26 April 2004.

engage

"The art of Taro Shinoda engages themes of science, philosophy, and desire, and investigates our place in the universe." Taro Shinoda: Lunar Reflections, November 5, 2009 - January 31, 2010. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Upcoming Exhibition.

enigmatic

"[Richard] Prince's dark, funny, enigmatic work will be the subject of a 30-year retrospective . . . at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan." Randy Kennedy, "The Duchamp of the Muscle Car: Richard Prince Blurs the Distinctions Between Life and Art" [subtitle from print edition]," New York Times, September 23, 2007.

establish as art (see also declare to be art and become art, above, and elevate, Appendix B)

"[T]he International Center of Photography helped establish photography as an art form." Matthew Mirapaul, "Arts Online" column--"Concrete Dreams: Actual Museums to Hold Virtual Art," New York Times, 28 October 2002.

examine

"Although he was a formidable draughtsman, [Bruce] Nauman's neon works, films, videotapes, performances, installations, sculpted body parts and word plays at first seemed frustratingly art-less. His was an art of exploration: he used himself, his person and his witty brand of inquiry to examine the parameters of art and the role of the artist." Artist Summary, Bruce Nauman, Artfact, accessed January 2006.

expand (see also blur (push, ignore, etc.) the boundaries)

"The retrospective focuses on the development of his signature innovation--harnessing gunpowder to create powerful explosions resulting in drawings, created at the moment of the blast ignition, which blur the boundaries between drawing and performance. Three entire levels of the rotunda's ramp will be dedicated to illustrating how this practice coheres with the indoor and outdoor explosion events that Cai [Guo-Qiang] has produced in over twenty cities around the world, challenging and expanding the possibilities for ephemeral, site-specific art." "Guggenheim Museum Presents Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe, Exhibition Overview, Press Release, September 6, 2007.

experimental

"Read [an interview] or scan the creator's 'statement' [or that on the "artist" by the museum or gallery publicist] . . . . His views most often consist of jargon patterned o n scientific or metaphysical discourse. It has to sound distinctive and profound, it must suggest heroic grappling with problems hitherto unimagined and now at last solved. / This scenario . . . is taken from the romance of the scientist. And so, of course, is the now accepted notion that there is such a thing as experimental art [all italics added]. The pretense is of course absurd. . . ." [pp. 105-106]. Jacques Barzun, "Art and Its Tempter, Science," in The Use and Abuse of Art.

"Yoko Ono is a multimedia artist who constantly challenges the traditional boundaries of sculpture, painting, theater, and music. Since the late 1950s, her groundbreaking conceptual and performance work, experimental films, and music established her as an influential and major artist." Americans for the Arts, National Arts Awards (Kitty Carlisle Hart Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts), 2008.
"Although he himself is now gone, both [Robert] Rauschenberg's life and his art, his fearless experimentation and his nonstop innovation, continue to inspire the generations of artists who succeed him." Barbara Rose, "Rauschenberg's Revolution. . . [ellipsis in original]," Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2008.
"The year of 1958 was one enormous productivity and bold experimentation [e.g., Yugatan and Delta] for Frank Stella." (Peter Freeman Gallery---see link to exhibition below---reports that Delta is Stella's "first true 'Black Painting'" and that "Stella himself considers [it] to be the single most important work of his long and prodigious career." Alix Finkelstein, "Stella's Year of Magical Painting," review of "Frank Stella: Paintings 1958-1965," New York Sun, October 18, 2007.
"Elizabeth Murray (American, b. 1940) belongs to a generation of artists who emerged in the 1970s and whose exposure to Cubist-derived Minimalism and Surrealist-influenced Pop inspired experimentation with new modes of expression that would bridge the gap between these two historical models. In this context, Murray has produced a singularly innovative body of work. [Source: Museum of Modern Art - # 1], 23 October 2005 - 9 January 2006. "These works demonstrate the artist's experimentation with a wide variety of mediums and trace her exploration of both abstract motifs and playful depictions of domestic themes." [Source: MoMA #2]
"Blurring the boundary between landscape architecture and art, the Cornerstone Festival of Gardens is the first gallery of avant-garde landscape architecture in the United States . . . ." [This article also refers to "experimental landscapes."] Christopher Hall, "Avant-Green: Landscaping as a Fine Art," New York Times, 15 August 2004.
"Ping Chong, titan of the Asian-American experimental theater scene, sets his heart on the present, but he sets his gaze on the past. . . . In a pastiche of fiction and documentary, [he] explores [the] Congo's founding and the first time foreign interests slept through its slaughter." Helen Shaw, "Congo Line," New York Sun, 22 June 2004.

explore* (See also probe)

"Gregory Scott blurs the lines between painting, photography, and video to create humorous and often challenging works of art. In these hybrid artworks, Scott seamlessly blends imbedded computer screens with still photographic and/or painted images. The result is a series of complex, narrative compositions that, although entertaining, explore a range of issues from perception and illusion, to identity and loneliness. Scott combines art with entertainment, making the viewer reconsider the traditional role of art within the context of modern technology." Outside the Frame: Gregory Scott [Interactive exhibition images on Scott's website], Shaw Center for the Arts, Louisiana State University Museum of Art, March 3, 2012 - October 7, 2012.
"[Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes] addresses contemporary ideas about landscape and geologic phenomena . . . [and] explores how people perceive and experience the landscape in a time of heightened technological influence and environmental awareness." Preview the Exibition, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., March 14, 2009 - July 12, 2009.
"Curated by Mary Jane Jacob, executive director of exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Partisan is a special exhibition of works culled from Art Chicago galleries that are dedicated to the artistic exploration of social and political ideas. With hopes of initiating dialogue about art, activism and social change, Partisan provides a critical and challenging space of thought provoking and project-oriented works within an art fair context." Special Exhibitions at Art Chicago, 2009.
"Margie Livingston [o]rdinarily . . . paints in oils from models she constructs to explore the relationship between three-dimensions and their translation onto canvas. Her end results tend to look like forests fractured by colored light." Regina Hackett, Another Bouncing Ball (weblog), November 27, 2009.
"In their work, Anthony DiSarno and Jules Rochon explore how personal identity is tied to notions of the body." 2009 Master of Fine Art Thesis Exhibition, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
"Chris Burden [more] made a name for himself early in his career by testing the limits of his body and the temperament of his audience. In Shoot (1971), he held a gallery opening where, assisted by two friends, he was shot in the arm while the event was filmed. . . . / Paul McCarthy . . . uses a variety of tactics designed to elicit discomfort from his audience, including the liberal use of a variety of materials that simulate bodily fluids and waste. . . . / Both artists explore the boundaries of the human body in their work, typically through violent actions: Burden through self-inflicted pain, and McCarthy through the destruction of the performance space, remnants of which have been displayed as works in their own right. Through these acts of violence, they disturb the separation between performer and audience, challenging Western theatrical traditions." Robert W. Sweeny, Art and Art Education Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, "'This Performance Art is for the Birds:' Jackass, 'Extreme' Sports, and the De(con)struction of Gender," Studies in Art Education, Winter 2008.
"'Your Lips Are Blue' [1958] . . . reflects [Frank] Stella's continuing exploration of horizontal stripes, the rectangle, and the conflict of figure against ground." Alix Finkelstein, "Stella's Year of Magical Painting" (review of exhibition Frank Stella: Paintings 1958-1965), New York Sun, October 18, 2007.
"In the succeeding decades [1970 to present], [Lawrence] Weiner] explored the interaction of punctuation, shapes, and color to serve as inflections of meaning for his texts." Biography of Lawrence Weiner, Guggenheim Museum website, accessed September 15, 2007.
"Like other Conceptual artists who gained international recognition in the late 1960s and early 1970s, [Lawrence] Weiner [see Collection Selections] [more] has investigated forms of display and distribution that challenge traditional assumptions about the nature of the art object. . . . In the succeeding decades, [he] explored the interaction of punctuation, shapes, and color to serve as inflections of meaning for his texts." Biography of Lawrence Weiner, Guggenheim Museum website, accessed September 15, 2007.
"'Crises' [choreographed by Merce Cunningham] consisted of a mutual exploration of personal space between [Rashaun Mitchell] and four women." Joel Lobenthal, "Malfunctioning eyeSpace," New York Times, 12 October 2006.
"Richard Prince: Appropriation artist . . . explored celebrity obsession long before Brangelina came to dominate the news cycle." "The Influentials: Art," New York Magazine, May 15, 2006.
"Although he was a formidable draughtsman, [Bruce] Nauman's neon works, films, videotapes, performances, installations, sculpted body parts and word plays at first seemed frustratingly art-less. His was an art of exploration: he used himself, his person and his witty brand of inquiry to examine the parameters of art and the role of the artist." Artist Summary, Bruce Nauman, Artfact, accessed January 2006.
"These works [by Elizabeth Murray] demonstrate the artist's experimentation with a wide variety of mediums and trace her exploration of both abstract motifs and playful depictions of domestic themes." [Source: Museum of Modern Art - #2], 19 October 2005 - 9 January 2006.
"The set of Dendron, a dance installation by Mark Jarecke, . . . was only the first step in [his] attempt to explore what it means to customize one's surroundings. (We're living in an MP3 generation.) Dendron completes a trilogy of dances that explore the relationships between architectural and emotional environments. The work was presented in the round, and audience members were given portable radios and headphones." Gia Kourlas, "Customizing the Audience Experience," New York Times, 12 February 2005.
"Many contemporary artists are exploring sound in their work or are using sound as a pure medium to create works that challenge our notion of what art is and should be. Sound art [cited in Appendix A--Part II, "New Forms of 'Art'"; see also multimedia art] demands a sensory reeducation; we may experience a disconnection as sound alters or disrupts our perception of space." "CAA Members' Exhibition at Consolidated Works in Seattle," CAA (College Art Association) News, January 2004.
"Matthew Barney's epic Cremaster cycle (1994-2002) is a self-enclosed aesthetic system consisting of five feature-length films that explore the process of creation." "Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle," GuggenheimGuide (Exhibitions/Programs, Guggenheim Museum), May-June 2003.
"[Richard] Tuttle was a part of the Post-Minimalist movement of the 1960s and 1970s--these artists made use of simple, pathetic materials to explore space and mass." Alex Mar, "Gallery-Going," New York Sun, 15 May 2003.
"['Conceptual' photographer Daniele Buetti] intends to explore 'the process of identity formation by intervening in commercial advertising's commodification of the self." Daniel Kunitz, "Trendy Internationalism," New York Sun, 1 May 2003.
"Throughout his . . . career [as a sculptor], Muñoz was as adept with ideas and the written word as he was with his hands, producing images and objects that explore the techniques of observation and mental perception." "The Intrigue of Spanish Contemporary Artist Juan Muñoz Presented in Career Retrospective," News Release, The Art Institute of Chicago, 14 August 2002.
"Several of the show's . . . documentary films and videos--such as Amar Kanwar's stunning exploration of the Pakistani-Indian military frontier in Kashmir--are skillful, alluring, and notably uncomplaining." Peter Schjeldahl, "The Global Salon," The New Yorker, 1 July 2002.
"Follow the path of an ax-wielding sex doll. Crawl through a destroyed library. Enter a light tunnel. Notions of artifice and luxury are explored in an installation by Olaf Breuning, which turns the clichés of pleasure into art." Calendar, New York Sun, 5 June 2002.
"If art in the broadest sense peers into the mysteries of life, then an art dedicated to the structure of life itself is of momentous relevance. That imposing premise informs 'Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics,' an exhibition that opened in April at the University of Washington's Henry Art Gallery in Seattle." Steven Henry Madoff, "The Wonders of Genetics Breed a New Art," New York Times, 26 May 2002.

force (see also require)

Exposing the relational dynamics between experience, interpretation, and representation in the artwork, [J.] Brookner forces us to simultaneously confront ethnographic authority and artistic authority." Dipti Desai, "The Ethnographic Move in Contemporary Art: What Does it Mean for Art Education?" Studies in Art Education, Summer 2002, 314.

gallerist [defined]

"Larry Gagosian: Gallerist. The George Steinbrenner of dealers--he just keeps drinking up talent (John Currin and Paul Pfeiffer, lately), leaving less for everyone else." "The Influentials: Art," New York Magazine, 15 May 2006.

ground-breaking

"Yoko Ono is a multimedia artist who constantly challenges the traditional boundaries of sculpture, painting, theater, and music. Since the late 1950s, her groundbreaking conceptual and performance work, experimental films, and music established her as an influential and major artist." Americans for the Arts, National Arts Awards (Kitty Carlisle Hart Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts), 2008.

innovative (see also cutting edge, ground-breaking [above], new, unconventional)

"Robert Rauschenberg, whom many, including this writer [better yet, "me"], believe to be the biggest innovator in art after Jackson Pollock, died on Monday at age 82, an acknowledged hero of the avant-garde." Barbara Rose, "Rauschenberg's Revolution. . . [ellipsis in original]," Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2008.
"Although he himself is now gone, both Rauschenberg's life and his art, his fearless experimentation and his nonstop innovation, continue to inspire the generations of artists who succeed him." Barbara Rose, "Rauschenberg's Revolution. . . [ellipsis in original]," Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2008.
"[Elizabeth] Murray . . . has produced a singularly innovative body of work. Warping, twisting, and knotting her constructed canvases, she has given the elastic shapes of surrealism a space in their own image." [Source: Museum of Modern Art - # 1], 23 October 2005 - 9 January 2006.
A major contributor to the international art scene, [David] Pagel has curated innovative and ground-breaking exhibitions across America and Europe and has written regular columns for the LA Times and major art magazines such as Flash Art, Frieze, Art + Text, and Bomb. Current Exhibitions, POPulence (Blaffer Gallery)--the Art Museum of the University of Houston), 25 June - 27 August 2005.

intervene

Doris Salcedo''s Shibboleth is the first work to intervene directly in the fabric of the Turbine Hall. Rather than fill this iconic space with a conventional sculpture or installation, Salcedo has created a subterranean chasm that stretches the length of the Turbine Hall. The concrete walls of the crevice are ruptured by a steel mesh fence, creating a tension between these elements that resist yet depend on one another. By making the floor the principal focus of her project, Salcedo dramatically shifts our perception of the Turbine Hall''s architecture, subtly subverting its claims to monumentality and grandeur. Shibboleth asks questions [see question] about the interaction of sculpture and space, about architecture and the values it enshrines, and about the shaky ideological foundations on which Western notions of modernity are built. About [Doris Salcedo's Shibboleth], Tate Modern Exhibitions. Accessed August 11, 2008.

invent (see also Reinvent)

"Spearheading the fourth annual event is Nancy Smith, who learned the art of low-flying trapeze as wedded to dance from Robert Davidson, who learned it from a student of Terry Sendgraff, who invented the genre in 1974." Glenn Giffen, "Aerial Dance Festival Shows Off Emerging Art Form in Boulder," Denver Post, August 7, 2002.

investigate

"By layering many different types of found images with his own drawing, Scott Mayo investigates how U.S. newspaper and television coverage of wars and other events happening in the world seem to engender a sense of passive detachment." 2009 Master of Fine Art Thesis Exhibition, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
"The art of Taro Shinoda engages themes of science, philosophy, and desire, and investigates our place in the universe." Taro Shinoda: Lunar Reflections, November 5, 2009 - January 31, 2010. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Upcoming Exhibition.
"[In Richard Diebenkorn's paintings] there is a significant lack of a signature effect or device comparable, say, to Jackson Pollock's drips or Mark Rothko's wobbly lozenges. What characterizes Diebenkorn's work [more] is, instead, a complex of traits that seem to be the by-product of investigations rather than their intended end result." David Cohen, "Peer Pressure" (review of "Diebenkorn in New Mexico"), New York Sun, January 31, 2008.
"Like other Conceptual artists who gained international recognition in the late 1960s and early 1970s, [Lawrence] Weiner [see Collection Selections] [more] has investigated forms of display and distribution that challenge traditional assumptions about the nature of the art object. . . . In the succeeding decades, [he] explored the interaction of punctuation, shapes, and color to serve as inflections of meaning for his texts." Biography of Lawrence Weiner, Guggenheim Museum website, accessed September 2007.
"From early architectural pieces that suggest a human presence to more recent installations that weave complex, enigmatic stories through the precise arrangement of figural groupings, Munoz's work investigates ambiguity and paradox and their psychological implications." "Art Institute Co-Publishes Book Documenting Works by Contemporary Spanish Artist Juan Munoz," News Release, The Art Institute of Chicago, 14 August 2002.

make (see also force)

"Gregory Scott blurs the lines between painting, photography, and video to create humorous and often challenging works of art. In these hybrid artworks, Scott seamlessly blends imbedded computer screens with still photographic and/or painted images. The result is a series of complex, narrative compositions that, although entertaining, explore a range of issues from perception and illusion, to identity and loneliness. Scott combines art with entertainment, making the viewer reconsider the traditional role of art within the context of modern technology." Outside the Frame: Gregory Scott [Interactive exhibition images on Scott's website], Shaw Center for the Arts, Louisiana State University Museum of Art, March 3, 2012 - October 7, 2012.

make a statement about

"Like [Andy] Warhol's own artworks, Mr. Hamilton's 'Polaroid Portraits' make a statement about the automation and demise of craftsmanship in art making in the age of mechanical reproduction. The portraits by John Lennon, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham [none by Hamilton himself] make the point that not only is one not obliged to produce one's own art works, but even being a visual artist is not a strict requirement. Hung together, these Polaroids appear exactly as Mr. Hamilton conceived of them--an amusing game in which the camera is a toy." Talya Halkin, Gallery-Going, New York Sun, 25 July 2002.

new (see also cutting edge, innovative, unconventional)

"Publicly launched in 2005, Art in General's New Commissions Program centers on developing and exhibiting new and challenging projects by artists who are interested in creating new work." Art in General, New Commissions, 2008.
"Cai Guo-Qiang is internationally recognized as an artist, curator, and creator of large-scale explosion events, who has been active in exhibitions, biennales, and public celebrations around the world for the last twenty years. Born in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, in 1957, and a resident of New York since 1995, Cai is acclaimed as a bold originator of new forms of art that use gunpowder to create large-scale 'gunpowder drawings' and site-specific 'explosion events.'" Cai [Guo-Qiang] has produced in over twenty cities around the world, challenging and expanding the possibilities forephemeral, site-specific art." "Guggenheim Museum Presents Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe, Exhibition Overview, Press Release, September 6, 2007.
"Art in General is a nonprofit organization that assists artists with the production and presentation of new ["unconventional"] work. It changes in response to the needs of artists and informs and engages the public about their work." Art in General website [accessed November 2007].

object (n.-also artifact)

Though this term is not, strictly speaking, a buzz word, we include it here to call attention to the practice of referring to utilitarian items such as baskets or clothing as "art." No work of art--a painting by Rembrandt, or a sculpture by Rodin, for example, is ever properly referred to as an "object," which usually connotes utility, or practical use.

"A show of 200 Native American objects [baby carriers, pottery, etc.] . . . opens tomorrow at the National Museum of the American Indian." Grace Glueck, "Artifacts for Art's Sake: An Eclectic Array," New York Times, 23 April 2004.

outrage

"The playwright David Edgar has called for provocation and outrage to become central to the arts." "Outrage is Central to Art, Says Dramatist," The Guardian (London), 22 June 2004.

probe (See also explore)

"Read [an interview] or scan the creator's 'statement' [or that on the "artist" by the museum or gallery publicist] . . . . His views most often consist of jargon patterned o n scientific or metaphysical discourse. It has to sound distinctive and profound, it must suggest heroic grappling with problems hitherto unimagined and now at last solved. / This scenario . . . is taken from the romance of the scientist. And so, of course, is the now accepted notion that there is such a thing as experimental art [all italics added]. The pretense is of course absurd. . . ." [pp. 105-106]. Jacques Barzun, "Art and Its Tempter, Science," in The Use and Abuse of Art.

"The Museum of Arts & Design . . . , known for creating exhibitions that showcase emerging artists and new art forms, has joined with two German museums . . . to present Corporal Identity - Body Language. The exhibition, to be presented in the United States and Germany, intriguingly probes [see also Explore] contemporary attitudes toward the human body and the relationship between body and self." Website of the former American Craft Museum (or, it now insists on calling itself, the Museum of Arts & Design), 26 April 2004.

progressive

"One of a few progressive artists to reinvent the figure and to assert the viability of narrative in contemporary art, Juan Munoz (1953-2001) gained international recognition for his extraordinary sculptural installations." "Art Institute Co-Publishes Book Documenting Works by Contemporary Spanish Artist Juan Muñoz," News Release, Art Institute of Chicago, 14 August 2002.

provoke (provocative)*

"Still, those who stayed must have been provoked and engaged by the challenging music." Anthony Tommasini, "Helping Music Audiences Get Beyond the Shock of the Contemporary," New York Times, 25 December 2004. For a critique of this article, see Louis Torres, "He Felt Like Shooting Himself," Aristos, August 2005.
"The playwright David Edgar has called for provocation and outrage to become central to the arts." Charlotte Higgins, "Outrage Is Central to Art, Says Dramatist," The Guardian (London), 22 June 2004.
"He [Edgar] argued that the arts in this country had been at their most successful when the spirit of provocation was most alive--as in the late 1960s and early 70s, when the playwright Howard Brenton articulated his desire to piss in his audience's eyeballs and George Devine, artistic director of the Royal Court, talked of the 'fashionable assholes' who constituted his audience." Charlotte Higgins, "Outrage Is Central to Art, Says Dramatist," The Guardian (London), 22 June 2004.
"'Similarly, the myriad outreach departments, community companies and performance groups need to be released from their targets and tick-boxes and encouraged to provoke.'" David Edgar, quoted in Charlotte Higgins, "Outrage Is Central to Art, Says Dramatist," The Guardian (London), 22 June 2004.
"Renny Pritikin, the chief curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, who has shaped its provocative visual arts program since the center opened in 1993, has been laid off. . . . Pritikin . . . was widely respected by artists and curators, who admired his keen eye for contemporary art and willingness to blur the boundaries between so-called high and low art." Jesse Hamlin, "Yerba Buena Chief Curator, 8 Others Laid Off in Arts Center Shakeup," San Francisco Chronicle, 19 February 2004.

push

"[Frank Stella] has said of this working period [1958-1965], 'I was pushing abstract painting as hard as I could,' and he possessed a compulsion not to separate himself from his predecessors, but to bluntly interrogate their subjective impulses and ultimately move painting forward." Alix Finkelstein, "Stella's Year of Magical Painting" (review of exhibition Frank Stella: Paintings 1958-1965), New York Sun, October 18, 2007.

push (press) buttons

"The new piece [of 'performance art,' by Marina Abramovic], with its innocent title, 'The House with the Ocean View,' on one hand and its nudity, knives, and punishing hunger fast on the other, presses buttons near and far." Steven Henry Maldoff, "A Viewable Feast, Enforced by Knives," New York Times, 10 November 2002.

push the boundaries

American Art 1910-1960: Pushing the Boundaries by Susan Rudy [Gallery Talks]. "A Docent-led Gallery Talk is an opportunity to explore more deeply the lives of artists and the artwork they produce. Months of research culminate in a 45-minute lecture." Portland Museum of Art, August 20, 2010.

push the envelope (see also blur the boundaries)

"In many parts [of the United States], what we do is not considered essential, and there is little support for artists who experiment with new ideas and materials or for art educators who embrace difficult content in their curricula. What people fail to recognize is that in art, just as in space or science, we cannot progress without pushing the envelope. . . . New knowledge, the future itself, exists at the boundaries and beyond. We must constantly move forward. We, too, must push the envelope if art education and our students are to soar in the 21st century." Pat Villeneuve, Editorial, "Pushing the Envelope," Art Education [published by the National Art Education Association], May 2003.
"Many times, art is meant to push envelopes and force people to think, feel or emote certain things." Kendra Mayfield, "Once It Was Atari, Now It's Art," Wired News, 19 July 2001.

push the limits

". . . Ikeda, who lives in Paris, is well known in his native country and in Europe for his electronic music, which pushes the limits of perception with extreme frequencies and rapid-fire rhythms." Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, "An Artist for Whom the 'Glitch' Is the Message," Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2010.

question (raise questions, etc.)

Doris Salcedo''s Shibboleth is the first work to intervene directly in the fabric of the Turbine Hall. Rather than fill this iconic space with a conventional sculpture or installation, Salcedo has created a subterranean chasm that stretches the length of the Turbine Hall. The concrete walls of the crevice are ruptured by a steel mesh fence, creating a tension between these elements that resist yet depend on one another. By making the floor the principal focus of her project, Salcedo dramatically shifts our perception of the Turbine Hall''s architecture, subtly subverting its claims to monumentality and grandeur. Shibboleth asks questions about the interaction of sculpture and space, about architecture and the values it enshrines, and about the shaky ideological foundations on which Western notions of modernity are built. About [Doris Salcedo's Shibboleth], Tate Modern Exhibitions. Accessed August 11, 2008.
"Many performance artists have questioned notions of gender identity through their work, . . . [such as] the 'interior scroll' [click on title at left] of Carollee [sic] Schneeman [seen extracting a paper scroll from her vagina], extending to performances central to the social life of many drag queens as documented in Paris is Burning. . . . Performance art allows for difference to be addressed, magnified, and thrown into greater relief, critiquing gender stereotypes while, perhaps, reinforcing such binary distinctions." Robert W. Sweeny, Art and Art Education Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, "'This Performance Art is for the Birds:' Jackass, 'Extreme' Sports, and the De(con)struction of Gender," Studies in Art Education, Winter 2008.
"[Dorothea] Rockburne, whose work is inspired by mathematics, astronomy, and the art of the quattrocento, questions the definition of drawing though a practice that closely relates the structure of a work to the physical materiality of its support." "Drawing Connections: Baselitz, Kelly, Penone, Rockburne, and the Old Masters," Exhibitions / Past, Morgan Library, October 12, 2007 - January 6, 2008.
"[Frank Stella] has said of this working period [1958-1965], 'I was pushing abstract painting as hard as I could,' and he possessed a compulsion not to separate himself from his predecessors, but to bluntly interrogate [question] their subjective impulses and ultimately move painting forward." Alix Finkelstein, "Stella's Year of Magical Painting" (review of exhibition Frank Stella: Paintings 1958-1965), New York Sun, October 18, 2007.
"[Richard Prince's] photographs of existing photographs . . . emerged at a time when artists like Mr. Prince, Sherrie Levine, Jack Goldstein and Cindy Sherman were first starting to use the camera to dig deep into the late 20th century's collective image bank, questioning what they found there and asking what it meant about how we saw ourselves." "The Duchamp of the Muscle Car: Richard Prince Blurs the Distinctions Between Life and Art" [subtitle from print edition]," Randy Kennedy, New York Times, September 23, 2007.
"Employing such materials as rubber, carpet, painted aluminum, Styrofoam, and paint, Rudolf Stingel's work [e. g., Untitled, 2000, styrofoam, each: 48 x 96 x 4 inches; overall: 96 x 96 x 4 inches] questions and disrupts the viewer's understanding and experience of an art object. Although Stingel's work does not always involve paint on canvas, it continually reflects upon some of the fundamental questions concerning painting today, including authenticity, hierarchy, meaning, and context. While Stingel, who was shown in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, has created major installations for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and numerous other institutions, this is his first solo museum exhibition in the United States, surveying his career to date and including a new site-specific work." Press Release, Rudolf Stingel, Whitney Museum of American Art, Special [Past] Exhibitions [scroll down], June 28-October 14, 2007.
"[Bruce Nauman's] was an art of exploration: he used himself, his person and his witty brand of inquiry to examine the parameters of art and the role of the artist. This questioning elicited strong emotional, physical and intellectual responses, and it often resulted in objects of formal beauty." Artist Summary, Bruce Nauman, Artfact, accessed January 2006.
"H [the title of the piece in question] is from a group of works that mimic the appearance of machine-made units such as heating vents or ventilation grilles. However, it has no utilitarian function other than as a work of art. Opie's work suggests a fascination with the relationship between art objects and those made for everyday use. His approach is a contemporary take on the idea of the ready-made art object. Opie's sculpture [!] [an exact replica of a real heating grid] is a skillful imitation of an existing object which raises new questions about truth and illusion in art." Tate Collection, display caption for Julian Opie, H (1958), August 2004.
"[The playwright David] Edgar said art 'has been properly concerned not to preserve national identity, but to question it . . . disrupting rather than confirming how we see the world.'" Charlotte Higgins, "Outrage Is Central to Art, Says Dramatist," The Guardian (London), 22 June 2004.
"Presented in a gallery at the Museum of Modern Art, [Gerhard] Richter's famous canvases based on photos of the Baader-Meinhof gang are meant to raise questions about the kinds of access photos give us to reality, and about how the act of painting can affect our readings of them." Blake Gopnik, "Journalism, Painting Itself into a Corner," Washington Post, 6 October 2002.
"The show contains approximately 60 food-related prints, drawings and sculptures by late artists Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth and the young contemporary artist Sonja Alhauser--all German. While it may seem to border on silliness, the show raises serious questions about consumption, gratification, permanence, and preservation." "Eat Art," "Edible sculpture draws chocoholics and art lovers alike to a Harvard University museum," 12 December 2001.

quirky

"The end of [eyeSpace] . . . contained a very good duet between Daniel Squire and Julie Cunningham, with him supporting her rear end like a sling, which showed us Mr. Cunningham at the top of his game--precise, intricate, and quirky. Joel Lobenthal, "Malfunctioning eyeSpace" [choreography by Merce Cunningham], New York Times, 12 October 2006.
". . . Andrea Zittel, a 36-year-old New York installation artist . . . [and] a visiting artist at Yale University . . . has become internationally known for her quirky reinventions of domestic environments. One, a warren of 10 tiny stacking 'rooms,' was a playful comment on how people compartmentalize their lives. A floating concrete 'island' that she occupied for a month in the chilly waters off Denmark offered all the comforts of home in 450 square feet." Patricia Leigh Brown, "Fine Terrain for Scorpions and Artists," House & Home section, New York Times, 29 August 2002.
". . . Sarah Michelson has established herself as one of the contemporary dance world's most innovative spirits. As a performer during the later half of the 90's, she interpreted material that was rarely as interesting as her quirky style. . . . In the opening image [of 'Group Experience'], the dancers poised in a tight cluster faced the audience almost aggressively and assumed a relevé, standing on the tips of their toes for five minutes. . . . Though masked in casualness, Ms. Michelson's work is confrontational, with intentional awkwardness as a key ingredient." Gia Kourlas [dance editor of Time Out New York], "A Nonconformist with a Free-Flowing Fantasy," New York Times, 25 August 2002.
"[Mark Dion] is well known for his ecologically sensitive but conceptually quirky art, which is as much about culture as nature. . . . [His] compact, open-front cabin ['Urban Wildlife Observation Unit,' an 'open-air' 'public sculpture'] . . . is fitted out to track and record New York City flora and fauna, but it's really a reminder of how oblivious we are to the natural world in our midst. Pick up a copy of the free field guide that Mr. Dion has prepared for the occasion, and read its concise descriptions of the sparrows, pigeons and rats." Holland Cotter, "Rain or Shine, Residing Outdoors," New York Times, 9 August 2002.

raise questions (See question)

redefine(reinvent, etc.)

"One of the most important developments in contemporary art has been the slow disappearance of media in its [sic] pure form. . . . Responding to the age of technology and popular culture, artists are approaching film, video and photography as if they are holding a paintbrush; and as they incorporate every possible form of art in their work, they redefine the very idea of art." [Source and date unknown.]
"Struggling to unseat traditional notions of art and explore new visual language, these [Latin American abstract] artists produced a wide variety of avant-garde works: geometric and constructed paintings . . . sculptures composed of modules, planes, arcs and angles; free-form hangings; and assemblages of painted wood." Grace Glueck, "A Universe of Art, Centered in Boston," New York Times, 17 August 2001.

refuse (reject, etc.)

"[Cy] Twombly (born 1928) often scribbles obsessively on his drawings, and also often leaves half his pictures blank. There is a kind of power in the emptiness, in the refusal to make the drawings balance and cohere. The combination of their physical resemblance to children's art, or to the art of the insane, and their serious rejection of completeness, their commitment to the fragmentary, leaves a lingering anxiety in the work." Lance Esplund, "Scribbling Notes to Himself" (a review of Cy Twombly:Fifty Years of Works on Paper--at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, 27 January - 8 May 2005), New York Sun, 27 January 2005.

require (see also force)

"Minimalism established that art could require our conscious assimilation of it as such: place bricks in a gallery and turn them into something else, sculptural objects, with weight, color and shape, defining the room, if we choose to see them that way." Michael Kimmelman, "How Not Much Is a Whole World," New York Times, 2 April 2004.

risky

"Barbara Luderowski, head of the Mattress Factory, a cutting-edge installation-art venue, agrees [with Tom Sokolowski, director of the Andy Warhol Museum, that Pittsburgh is culturally too conservative]. 'We've been whacking our way through the forest of Pittsburgh conservatism. The Cultural Trust was basically dealing with vanilla boxes,' she says. 'Our success encouraged the foundations to support more risky endeavors.'" Carol Strickland, "From Rust Belt to Arts Mecca," Christian Science Monitor, 22 October 2004.

seductive*

[See "Subvert," 15 May 2006]

subvert

"Sherman's still making costumed self-portraits, taking cues from performance art, that subvert identity while indulging narrative and fantasy, a seductive and fresh mix. "The Influentials: Art," New York Magazine, 15 May 2006.
"[Conceptual artist Carey] Young explained to me the nature of her artistic interests, which are based on subverting some of the widespread practices of the business and legal worlds." Peter Aspden, "Caught in a Twilight of Ambiguity," Financial Times (London), 24-25 July 2004.

unconventional (see also new, cutting edge)

"Art in General was founded in 1981 . . . to create a space where artists could exhibit unconventional work and exchange ideas with their peers." Art in General website [accessed November 2007].

untitled

[Note: The most popular title in the history of modernist and postmodernist "art" is Untitled. Examples include Jackson Pollock's Untitled (c.1950), Untitled (c.1950), and Untitled (c.1950); Eva Hesse's Untitled (1964); and Donald Judd's Untitled (1970). Occasionally, a more conventional title is inserted parenthetically after Untitled, as in these works of "installation art": Untitled (One Hundred Spaces) (1995), by Rachel Whiteread, and Untitled (Kiddo) (1997-98), by Petah Coyne. A more modest recent example is Untitled [more] (2004), consisting of wire, wall, shadow, and pigment. At Artcyclopedia, search for the title Untitled for a list of representative works so titled--mostly from the twentieth century, and mostly not art by any objective measure. Our favorite is Senza titolo (Untitled) (1968), a piece consisting of granite, copper, wire, and lettuce, by Giovanni Anselmo. There is no need to view any of the rest unless you are so inclined--just scroll down through the list to see how ubiquitous the title Untitled really is.]
"[Tom Friedman's] most famous piece--"Untitled" (2000)--is [a] life-sized self-portrait as the victim of a motorcycle accident, made entirely out of colored construction paper, a virtuosic splatter of paper cut-outs on the floor." Alex Mar, Gallery-Going, New York Sun, 1 May 2003.

visual culture (or material culture)

"Visual Culture involves developing a critical framework for the understanding and discussion of those aspects of culture and society which involve any type of visual media--ranging from TV, advertising, and fashion, to architecture, photography, and painting." Judy Decker, "Visual Culture Defined," ArtsEdNet discussion list archive, 20 June 2001. [See also "Where's the Art in Today's Art Education?", What Art Is Online, November 2002, and "Rescuing Art from 'Visual Culture Studies,'" Aristos, January 2004]
(See also definitions of visual culture and material culture at ArtLex.)

*Phrases and terms that also appear in [Appendix B [Part I] in What Art Is.


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