Emerging Artists, Center Stage
Young artists have always had more to prove than more established ones. Judging by the tenor of this years Armory week, this platitude is ringing truer than ever. Based on the current themes represented by this year’s ethos, with a blazing focus on younger artists with a social/political bent and a global perspective, and “Black Mirror” as the theme for the Spring Break Art Show, emerging artists are collectively challenging the current status quo.
The arts have often served as a mirror to current events, as well as a mirror for us, the viewing public, to understand and explore our society’s fears, dreams, and hopes. Politics and the arts have never been separate as artists respond to the world around them through their work. This cause and effect can be especially felt during this turbulent year. Younger artists have the most to lose but also the most to gain by addressing controversial topics, seizing on those at the forefront of our public consciousness and making sure we are really paying attention.
Some well known examples of earlier political works of art that sparked some serious conversation as well as controversy:
Andy Warhol, Big Electric Chair, 1967, Silk Screen Ink on Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas, 54 inches x 73 inches (Image courtesy of Wiki Commons)
It doesn’t seem like too much of a coincidence that sales for George Orwell’s 1984 have recently jumped to the top of Amazon’s best seller list. The novel describes a totalitarian government which controls all mass media. In a response to the current administration’s attempts at control of free media, the film version of this novel will be screened across the nation next month on April 4th at numerous local theatres in protest. Although Orwell and other such lit contemporaries as Atwood and Rand present compelling worlds through which we can analyze the current status quo, and explore the global repercussions and projections of the current political climate, in several respects the most pressing present day issues remain unaddressed. Today’s reality has moved far beyond what these authors could have predicted in terms of the role and scope of social media, technology and frameworks that simply did not previously exist.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the first day of their Amsterdam Bed-In, 1969 (Image courtesy of Wiki Commons)
As Marshall Macluhan so famously said, “The Medium is the Message.” In short, we are defined by the media of our generation, the format of the content is inherently influenced by the characteristics of the medium by which it is presented. For this reason, it is so important to look at the art that is being made today, in the present.
JoAnne Artman Gallery: Laguna Beach & New York | 326 North Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach CA 92651 | 511 A West 22nd St., New York NY 10011 | www.joanneartmangallery.com